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ActiveSync 3.x – Using Categories to Sync
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2003
 Version 1.00  Revised 6/16/2003

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Microsoft has built into ActiveSync 3.x (3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 and 3.8) the ability to select categories of calendar, contacts and tasks so you can control what is synchronized with your Pocket PC. This article explains how the category synchronization works.

Overview of Synchronization

When you enter or edit a calendar, contact or task, you can select a category to assign it to – just like you can in Outlook on your PC. These categories can be used to select what data is being viewed on the Pocket PC in Contacts so it makes it easier to find a specific set of contacts. These categories can be selected to identify what is synchronized with your desktop.

How ActiveSync Views Categories for Synchronization

In ActiveSync on the desktop you can select the categories you wish to synchronize with your Pocket PC. By default, all categories are synchronized. Before selecting categories to sync, you may need to create some new categories. You can do this on the Pocket PC or the PC. To select a category, open ActiveSync and select Tools – Options and select Calendar, Contacts or Tasks. Then click on the Advanced button. Once a category is selected, on the next sync, any data in another category will be synchronized to the PC and deleted from the Pocket PC. Further if you have a partnership with two PCs, then the category synchronization must be the same. So any data you synchronize using categories is left on the Pocket PC. All other data not in the categories selected to sync is sent to the desktop.

Workaround to Keep All Info on Pocket PC and Selectively Sync With the Desktop

If you wish to have all your data on your Pocket PC and select what categories or information to sync with, then you will need a 3rd party application to complete this. Intellisync from offers this functionality. You can select criteria for synchronizing your calendar, contacts and tasks. This criteria can be based on field contents as well as categories. Whatever data you have selected to sync, is sent to the desktop and you can review the changes based on their log.


Now you have the tools to keep selected data in sync with your PC. Just keep in mind that you can always start over if you run into a problem with the wrong data on the Pocket PC if you do not delete it on your PC.

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