Sage ACT!

 

How to Setup Network Synchronization in ACT!

 

Audience: This article is available to customers.

Answer ID: 21832

Does this article apply to my products?

 

Solution

Important Notes:

  • If you are synchronizing a database, ensure that you and your sync partners are using the same version of ACT!. You can verify your installed version number by clicking About ACT! from the Help menu.
  • This document describes the steps needed to:
  • Network Synchronization is only available in the ACT! Premium products. If you are using the ACT! (Standard) product, the only synchronization method available is Application Synchronization. Please refer to the following Knowledge Base Answer for information on setting up Application Synchronization:

    Title: How To Set Up Application Synchronization in ACT!
    Answer ID: 15192

  • The Subscriber (or Remote) database will initiate all synchronization. Remote databases can only be created from the Parent database. Remote database can only synchronize with their Parent database.


You can determine whether you are in a Publisher (Parent) or a Subscriber (Remote) database by following the steps below:
  1. Click the Help menu, and then click About ACT! The About ACT! dialog box appears:
  2. Click the Database Info button, the Database Information dialog box appears:

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  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Database Settings Information window (as Illustrated above). If the Sync Enabled value is True, Sync Role will display either Publisher or Subscriber.

Enabling Synchronization for the Publishing Database:

The first step in preparing for synchronization in ACT! is to enable synchronization in the Publishing (or Parent) database. Follow the steps below:
  1. Launch ACT!.
  2. Open the Publishing database.
  3. Click the Tools menu, and then click Synchronization Panel. The Synchronization - Select a Synchronization Task dialog box appears:

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  4. Click Enable Synchronization. The following ACT! message appears:

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  5. Click Yes to enable synchronization. Synchronization is now enabled for the Publisher database.

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Creating a Sync Set:

Note: Before proceeding with the next step, please ensure that you have added all Users who will be synchronizing to the Publisher database. Also, all remote Users will have needed to logged into the Publisher database at least once so that they have a status of "Active". Users with a status of "Inactive" or "Active-Pending log on" will not be able to login to a remote database. For information on adding additional users, please see the following Knowledgebase article:

How To Manage Users in ACT!
Answer ID:
19474

An important part of preparing for synchronization is to create a Sync Set. A Sync Set defines the ACT! synchronization Users and the list of contact records that you wish to include in the synchronization. The Sync Set can be limited to one remote user and one contact or can include all users and all contact records in your ACT! database. The contact records included in the Sync Set are identified through an advanced query that defines the Sync Set Criteria.
Follow the steps below:
  1. Launch ACT! and open the Publisher database.
  2. Click Synchronization Panel from the Tools menu. The Synchronization - Select a Synchronization Task dialog box appears.
  3. Click Manage Sync Set. The Synchronization - Create, Copy, Edit, or Delete Sync Sets dialog box appears:

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  4. Click Create New Sync Set from the Sync Set Task box. The Synchronization - Enter Sync Set Name and Description dialog box appears:

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  5. Type in a unique name for your Sync Set Name. In this example we will be using "Oregon and California".
  6. Description (Optional): This optional field allows you to provide more detailed information on your Sync Set.
  7. Click Next. The Synchronization - Select Users dialog box appears:

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  8. Enable all users or enable selected users and add the specific users you would like to synchronize this Sync Set with, to the right pane.
    • Enabling the All current and future users of this database will allow you to sync with all the users of this database.
    • Enabling the Selected users option allows you to identify specific users you would like to synchronize with. To select a user, click the user's name in the left pane, and then click the add Imagebutton. Repeat until all users you wish to synchronize with appear in the right pane. When finished, click Next The Select Contacts dialog box appears:


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  9. This dialog box allows you to identify the contact records you wish to synchronize.
    • Enable the Synchronize all available contacts to synchronize all of your Contacts.
    • Enable the Define Sync Set criteria to create an advance query and define the criteria for identifying the contact records you wish to synchronize.
    • Total number of available contacts: displays how many contact records are available to synchronize from this database.
Synchronize all available contacts:
  1. When you enable the Synchronize all available contacts option, and then click Next. The Sync Set Confirmation dialog box appears:

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  2. You may click Back to edit your Sync Set or Finish to complete it. The Synchronization - Create, Copy, Edit, or Delete Sync Sets dialog box reappears with your Sync Set displayed:

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  3. At this point you have the option to Create, Edit, Delete, or Copy your Sync Set(s). For more information on these topics, please refer to the following Knowledge Base document:


  4. Title: How To Manage Sync Sets in ACT!
    Answer ID: 14072

  5. Click Home. The Synchronization - Select a Synchronization Task dialog reappears.


Define Sync Set Criteria:
  1. When you enable the Define Sync Set criteria option, and then click Next. The Synchronize - Create or Edit Sync Set Criteria dialog box appears:

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  2. From the Sync Set Criteria Tasks section, click Create Criteria. The Sync Set Criteria dialog box appears:

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  3. The Advanced Query allows you to define the contact records that will be included in this Sync Set. In our example we will create a lookup of contacts that are located in the states of California and Oregon. For detailed information on how to create an Advance Query, please refer to the following Knowledge Base document:

      Title: How To Create a Query in ACT! by Sage 2007
      Answer ID: 19918
    Title: How to Create a Query in ACT! by Sage 2008
    Answer ID:
    21725

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  4. To include California contacts:
    • From the Type drop-down, click Contact.
    • From the Field Name drop-down, click State.
    • From the Operator drop-down, click Equal To (=).
    • From the Value drop-down, click CA.
    • Click the Add to list button, the query will be added as part of the Sync Set criteria.


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  5. To include Oregon contacts:
    • From the Type drop-down, click Contact.
    • From the Field Name drop-down, click State.
    • From the Operator drop-down, click Equal To (=).
    • From the Value drop-down, click OR.
    • Click Add to list, the query will be added as part of the Sync Set criteria.

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  6. From the And/Or drop-down, click Or. This ensures that all records with either CA or OR in the State field are included in the Sync Set.

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  7. Click the Preview button at any time to run the query. The contact records that match your criteria will appear in the bottom window. In our example, 15 contact records were identified that match the Sync Set criteria.

  8. Click OK to add this query to the Sync Set. The Synchronize - Create or Edit Sync Set Criteria dialog box reappears with your Sync Set displayed.
  9. Click Next. The Sync Set Confirmation dialog box appears:

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  10. You may click Back to edit your Sync Set or Finish to complete it. The Synchronization - Create, Copy, Edit, or Delete Sync Sets dialog box reappears with your Sync Set displayed.

  11. At this point, you again have the options to Create, Edit, Delete, or Copy Sync Sets. For more information on these topics, please refer to the following Knowledge Base document:


  12. Title: How To Manage Sync Sets in ACT!
    Answer ID:
    14072

  13. Click Home. The Synchronization - Select a Synchronization Task dialog reappears.
  14. Click Close to exit the synchronization panel.

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Creating a Remote Database:

A remote database must be created for each remote user you are synchronizing with. This database file will contain all the Contacts, Notes, Histories, Activities, and Opportunities included in the Sync Set. It can also contain supplemental files and attachments. A remote database has a file extension of .RDB and is generally very large. It is strongly recommended that you create this .RDB file on the local computer, and then transfer the file (through a Local Area Network or removable media) to the remote computer that it will be used on. You will not, in most cases, be able to e-mail this .RDB file as an attachment. For example; when supplemental files and attachments are included, a remote database created for the ACT8Demo database will produce a file that is over 7MB (megabytes) in size. Common methods of delivering the .RDB file are to burn it to a CD that the remote user can then restore on their computer, or using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Site.

Use the following steps to create a remote database:
  1. Launch ACT! and open the Publisher database.
  2. Click Synchronization Panel from the Tools menu. The Synchronization - Select a Synchronization Task dialog box appears.
  3. Click Create Remote Database. The Synchronization - Enter Remote Database Name and Location dialog box appears:

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  4. Define the name and location of the remote database in this dialog box.
    • Remote Database Name: Type in the name for the remote database. Must begin with a letter, contain only letters, numbers, and underscore characters. Must be less than 32 characters long.
    • Location: Indicates where the remote database file (.RDB) will be saved. To select a different location, click Browse and (if necessary) browse to, and then click the folder in which you would like to save the new database.


  5. Click Next. The Synchronization - Select a Sync Set dialog box appears with your Sync Set displayed.
  6. You must select a Sync Set for the remote database to synchronize with. If you have not created a Sync Set you will need to Cancel this process. For more information on creating a Sync Set please see the section labeled Creating a Sync Set above. After you have selected the Sync Set, click Next. The Synchronization - Database Synchronization Options dialog box appears:

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  7. You may allow database supplemental files and attachments to synchronize through this dialog box.
    • Enable the Allow database supplemental files to synchronize option to include default and customized Layouts, Reports, Document Templates and Queries.
    • Enable the Allow attachments to synchronize to include Documents and E-mails that are attached to your contact records.
    • Set the number of days that synchronize expires...: This setting will stop synchronization with this remote database if there is no sync performed within the time specified. The default is 30 days. If you set this field for more than 90 days, and then click Next. The following ACT! message appears:

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  8. Click Yes to continue. The Synchronization - Sync Server Connection dialog box appears: You have two options for Connection Type: Network (inside a firewall) is used in Network Synchronization. Internet (outside a firewall) is used in Internet Synchronization. Network (inside a firewall) is used also used in Application Synchronization. For information on Internet or Application Synchronization, please refer to the following Knowledge Base Answers:

    Title: How To Set Up Internet Synchronization in ACT!
    Answer ID: 21838

    Title: How To Set Up Application Synchronization in ACT!
    Answer ID:
    15192


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  9. The Network (inside a firewall) Sync Server Connection dialog box include three fields:
    • Connection Type: Click the drop-down arrow, and then click Network (inside a firewall) to enable this option.
    • Enter the Machine Name of the computer hosting the Main database: This field is automatically populated with your Computer name. You may change the Machine Name, however this is not recommended.
    • Enter the Port number being monitored by the sync server: This will be populated automatically. The Port may also be changed but again, this is not recommended.
  10. Click Next. The Synchronization - Building the Remote Database dialog box appears:

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  11. You can set a password to protect the remote database from restoration by unauthorized users. This is helpful if you place the remote databases on a or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) Site for remote users to download.
  12. If desired, enable the File is password protected option, type the Password and then enter the same password into the Confirm Password field.
  13. Click Back to make any changes, or Finish to create your remote database (.RDB) file. A Progress indicator appears as the remote database is created:

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  14. When complete, an ACT! information dialog box appears stating that the process is finished with the name and location of the remote database.


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  15. This message displays the name and location of the remote database.
    • Click Yes to create another remote database. The Synchronization - Enter Remote Database Name and Location dialog box reappears:
    • Click No. The Synchronization -Select a Synchronization Task dialog box reappears: Click Close to return to ACT!.

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Installing ACT! Network Synchronization Service:

You must install the ACT! Synchronization Service in order to synchronize with another database. Use the following steps to install the ACT! Network Synchronization Service:
  1. Insert your ACT! CD your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. If you are using ACT! Premium for Workgroups 2006 (8.0), you will use Disc 2.
  2. Launch Window® Internet Explorer® or open My Computer.
  3. Locate and Open the ACT Network Sync folder, and then double-click the Setup.exe Imagefile.
  4. The InstallShield Wizard - Preparing to Install window appears followed by the InstallShield Wizard - Welcome dialog box appears:

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  5. Click Next. The Customer Information dialog box appears:

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  6. Type in your User Name and Company Name. Enable the appropriate Install this application for: option, and then click Next. The Choose Destination Location dialog box appears:

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  7. The default location is C:\...ACT\ACT for Windows (version number)\Network Sync (recommended). You may install to a different folder by clicking the Browse button to change the destination. Click Next. The Select Program Folder dialog box appears:

    Note: It is recommended that you do not change the location of your Destination Folder. Although the destination location reflects an ACT! for Windows (version number) folder, you do not need to have installed ACT!. If this folder does not exist, it is created in the process of installing ACT!.

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  8. Click Next to accept the default Program Folder that will contain ACT! Network Sync Service. The Start Copying Files dialog box appears:

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  9. Review your installation setting, and then either click Back to make any needed changes, or Next to start copying files to you computer. The Setup Status dialog box appears:

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  10. When all files are finished copying, the Completing the ACT! Network Sync Setup dialog box appears:

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  11. Enable the Launch Act.Framework.Synchronization.Service.UI.exe option, and then click Finish to start the Sync Service (or click Finish to complete the install and not start the Sync Service). You will need to start the Sync Service before being able to synchronize your database. For detailed information on how to start the Sync Service, please refer to the Configuring and Starting the ACT! Network Sync Service section below.
  12. Exit the ACT! Installation CD menu.

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Configuring and Starting the ACT! Network Sync Service:

Once you have installed the ACT! Sync Service you will need to configure and start the service. For detailed information on installing ACT! Sync Service see the Installing ACT! Network Synchronization Service section above. Follow the steps below to start the ACT! Network Sync Service:
  1. Click the Windows Start button, point to Programs, point to ACT! Network Sync Service, and then click ACT! Network Sync. The ACT! Network Sync Service dialog box appears:

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  2. Click Add. The Sync Database dialog box appears:

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  3. This dialog box is used to add databases that you would like ACT! Sync Service to monitor.
    • Database Machine: Click the  Browse button and navigate to machine hosting the Publisher database. Select this database and then click OK.
    • Database Name: Enter the name of the database you would like to monitor for incoming syncs, and then click OK. The ACT! Network Sync Service dialog box reappears with your Computer name\database name displayed.

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    • Click Add and repeat step 3 if you wish to monitor more databases.
    • Click Start Sync Service, this button will change to read Stop Sync Service and you will have a new icon in your system tray Image, (located near the system clock in the lower-right corner of your screen). The Sync Service is now running and will continue to run until you stop it. If you restart you computer while the Sync Service is running, it will restart automatically.
    • To close the ACT! Sync Service dialog box, right-click the Sync Service icon Imagein your system tray, and then click Show/Hide from the shortcut menu.


    • For more information on managing the ACT! Network Sync Service, please refer to the following Knowledge Base document:

      Title: How To Manage ACT! Network Sync Service
      Answer ID: 19374
How To Unpack and Restore a Remote Database:
Remote users will need to unpack and restore their remote database before they will be able to synchronize. Use the following steps to unpack and restore a remote database:
  1. Click the File menu, point to Restore, and then click Database. The current database closes as the Restore Database dialog box appears:

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  2. In the Select type section, enable Unpack and Restore Remote Database option and then click OK. The Restore an ACT! remote Database dialog box appears:

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  3. Click the Browse button at the Select the remote database file to restore field, navigate to (if necessary) and open the remote database (.RDB file). At the Database Location field, click the Browse button and (if necessary) browse to the directory that you wish to restore the database to. You may enable the Share this database with other users option here, if desired.
  4. Click OK. A Restore Database progress indicator appears as your remote database is restored.
  5. The following ACT! dialog box appears once the restoration is complete.

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  6. Click OK to complete the process.
  7. To open this database, click the File menu, and then click Open Database, or click the Open Database Imagebutton. An Open dialog box appears:
  8. Navigate to (if necessary) and Open the database (.PAD) file.
Note: Unpacking and Restoring the .RDB file will create the .PAD, .ALF and .ADF files that make up an ACT! database.
After the synchronization setup tasks have been completed, you will need to ensure that the ACT! Network Sync Service is running for the Publishing database before your remote users can start synchronizing.
Note: With the ACT! Network Sync Service running on the machine hosting the Parent database, there is no need for ACT! to be open.

Initiating Synchronization From a Remote Database
Remote users must initiate all synchronization. Follow the steps below to initiate synchronization from a Remote database:
  1. Launch ACT! and open the Remote database you would like to synchronize.
  2. Click the Tools menu, point to Synchronize, and then click Synchronize Now. The Sync in Progress indicator appears:


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  4. You may enable the Auto minimize in taskbar option to hide this window. ACT! synchronization is designed to run in the background. You will receive a message when the synchronization is complete. For information on your synchronization, refer to View Sync Log option in the Synchronization Panel. For information on the Synchronization Panel, please refer to the following Knowledge Base Answer:
Title: Synchronization Panel Explained
Answer ID: 14203

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Business Reason

You would like to synchronize your ACT! database with other ACT! users over a Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), or Virtual Private Network (VPN). Network synchronization is designed to update both the Publisher (Parent) database and the Subscriber (Remote) database(s) with current data. This method allows remote users to synchronize whether ACT! is open or closed on the machine hosting the Publisher database. The Publisher database is normally hosted on the computer considered to be the 'Server' in the LAN, WAN or VPN.

Does this article apply to my products?

Products: Sage ACT!
Applications: Synchronization, System
Version Applicable: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011