Introduction to the Outlook Social Connector

 Note    If you are using Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Office Outlook 2007, see Introduction to the Outlook Social Connector in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007.

The Outlook Social Connector connects Microsoft Outlook 2010 to your business and personal social networks. Within Outlook, you can stay up to date on the status and activities of your contacts, whether they are from your organization’s network, or from social networking sites on the Internet.

For example, your colleague Luis Alverca belongs to two social network sites that you also use. Using the Outlook Social Connector, you can see his status updates, comments, messages and alerts from the social network sites, all in one location in Outlook. You can also see a list of all Outlook items (item: An item is the basic element that holds information in Outlook (similar to a file in other programs). Items include e-mail messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, posted items, and documents.) that you share with Luis, such as e-mail messages you have exchanged, attachments and meetings. The Outlook Social Connector also updates Luis' information in your Outlook contacts folders with any changes he makes to his social network profiles. This will help you be up-to-date and well-informed the next time you contact Luis, either professionally or socially.

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Start using the Outlook Social Connector

By default, the Outlook Social Connector is minimized and appears in Outlook 2010 as a single line at the bottom of the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.). To use the Outlook Social Connector, click the expand arrow, or drag the top of the minimized pane up until it is the size that you want. This opens the People Pane, a new area in Outlook where you view and access information that the Outlook Social Connector displays from social networks.

People Pane in the Reading Pane

If you are in an organization that uses Outlook 2010 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010, the Outlook Social Connector can automatically connect with your organization's SharePoint sites, to display your colleagues' available activity items.

 Important    You must download and install an Outlook Social Connector provider add-in for each Internet social network that you want to use. These provider add-ins are not provided by Microsoft — visit the social network sites that you use to find out if they support the Outlook Social Connector or see the Outlook Social Connector Partner Listing page.

The Outlook Social Connector automatically updates information about your professional and social network contacts while Outlook is running.

To connect the Outlook Social Connector to additional social networks, on the View tab, in the People Pane group, click People Pane, and then click Account Settings.

For more information on adding your social networks to Outlook, see the article See colleagues’ social network updates in Outlook.

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Stay up-to-date in the People Pane

When you click an Outlook item, the People Pane displays contact information about the person associated with that item, and the latest activity by that person. This includes the latest status updates, comment posts or messages from social networks, in addition to Outlook items such as e-mail messages, Calendar items and attachments.

ShowI don’t see the People Pane

There are a few reasons why the People Pane of the Outlook Social Connector might not appear.

  • The Reading Pane is turned off     On the View tab, in the Layout group, click Reading Pane, and then click Right or Bottom.
  • The People Pane is turned off     On the View tab, in the People Pane group, click People Pane, and then click Bottom.
  • Your organization might not support connection with external Web sites     Some organizations do not support access to social networking sites that are outside of their network. Contact your network administrator for more information.

Along with the Reading Pane (Reading Pane: A window in Outlook where you can preview an item without opening it. To display the item in the Reading Pane, click the item.), the People Pane also appears at the bottom of open Outlook items, such as e-mail messages, appointments or meetings, and contacts.

When you select an Outlook item, information about the sender of the item appears in the People Pane. When you select an Outlook item that includes multiple people, a small image of each person also appears in the title bar at the top of the People Pane. Click an image to display that person's information in the People Pane.

To see larger pictures of all the people included in the item, click All People on the title bar. Click any of the images to display that person's information in the People Pane.

To see different information for the person in the People Pane, click any of the tabs at the left side of the list window. There are six default tabs:

  • All items     This includes all activity and messages from the selected person.
  • Activities     This displays activity posted on the selected person's social network sites, such as alerts, comments or messages.
  • Mail     A list appears of recent e-mail messages that you have exchanged with the selected person.
  • Attachments     Attachments that you have sent to or received from the selected person appear.
  • Calendar     Past and future meetings or appointments including both you and the selected person appear.
  • Status updates This displays the most recent status updates that the selected person has posted.

To open any item in a tab list, click the item.

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Hide the Outlook Social Connector

To hide the Outlook Social Connector from all Outlook views, do the following:

  • On the View tab, in the People Pane group, click People Pane, and then click Off.

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