In almost all of my Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations, clients have consistently asked following questions:

How to track Emails in Dynamics CRM?

Does Email Tracking work with Microsoft Office Outlook for Mac?

Is it possible to track emails via mobile?

What about appointments? Can we sync Appointments between Dynamics CRM and Outlook?

Should we create Appointments in Dynamics CRM or in Outlook?

activity tracking methods

Let’s explore above questions and try to find some answers.

Email Tracking

There are three methods of email tracking in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

  1. Server Side Synchronisation
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 for Microsoft Office Outlook (Outlook client)
  3. CRM App for Outlook (lightweight app)

Following table compares above options based on the features they provide:


Now that we understand available options and features, should we start sending emails using Dynamics CRM or continue using Outlook for email communication and track relevant email messages?

I usually recommend a hybrid approach where relevant ‘sent’ emails that are to be tracked in CRM should be sent from CRM. For receiving emails, continue to use Outlook but track relevant emails in CRM using one of the available options.

Appointments and Tasks Tracking

There are two methods to synchronise appointments and tasks between Outlook and CRM

  1. Server Side Synchronisation
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook

apointments and tasks tracking

*Interestingly, this Server Side Synchronisation TechNet article says that bidirectional sync is possible, but I couldn’t see it in action. Happy for you to provide some feedback.

Once again, shall we start creating appointments in CRM or shall we stay with Outlook and rely on users to track the appointment?

As a general rule of thumb, I usually suggest creating appointments and tasks via CRM, so they are always tracked with correct status and correct customer (or other entity). Updates can still occur using Outlook or mobile.

Things to Consider

  • When creating appointments via CRM, if the ‘Required’ field is populated, CRM will attempt to send a meeting request to the primary email address associated with the record in ‘Required’ field.
  • Meeting request will include notes from description field of the appointment, so be mindful of your sensitive notes. Any updates to the appointment will trigger another meeting request to the email address in required field.

Let me know what you recommend regarding activities tracking in Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the comments below.