Sync the GAL

Keeping all GAL contacts properly synced throughout the enterprise is an important way that IT contributes to company-wide productivity.


The need to sync the Global Address List, and the contact information it contains, is almost universal. Organizations of every size require consistent and accurate contact information. Ensuring that everyone has the contacts they need – on Outlook, on their smartphone, and between companies – is not a one-time exercise. Contacts change frequently – and all the changes need to be synced accurately and without undue delay.

The Global Address List affects almost every aspect of Microsoft Exchange Server. If you are involved with the management or upkeep of a Microsoft Exchange Server, you know that Exchange’s operations revolve almost entirely around the GAL. This website aims to provide comprehensive information on the GAL and all useful forms of “GAL Sync” with practical, hands-on advice.


The Missing Sync. Today, the GAL is a view-only solution on smartphones, because Microsoft elected to omit the ability to sync contact data from the GAL to Outlook. Below, you will find information about three general categories of syncing.

Manual push to sync contacts. It is possible, although arduous, for a central administrator to manually push contacts through Outlook to each individual’s mailbox utilizing Active Sync. This is too labor-intensive — and inconvenient — for organizations with more than 20 or 30 mailboxes.
Handling changes. Under a manual-push setup, what happens to existing contacts and contact photos when they change? The answer is they will not update unless a central administrator pushes that information to a user’s phone.

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