Mapping the Office Item Type for External Content Types in BCS Meta Man

What are we going to do?

We are going to use our Customers information from our External System and use it to sync a Contacts list within Outlook 2010 via an External List.


  • SharePoint Server 2010
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional or higher
  • BCS Meta Man
  • AdventureWorks2000 SQL Database


  1. Create a new empty SharePoint 2010 project in Visual Studio 2010.
  2. Add a new item to this project. From the Lightning Tools project items group add a BCS Meta Man project item
  3. From the main menu click on BCS Meta Man –> BCS Meta Man Data Explorer and connect to your database you wish to use.
  4. Drag and Drop any table you want. For this walkthrough we have used the AdventureWorks2000 Customer table.

    Our customer table as an External Content Type

  5. To edit the Customer External Content Type, Right-Click on it and select ‘Manage Entity’

    Manage the Entity

  6. Change the ‘Office Item Type’ from ‘Generic List’ to ‘Contact’

    Select the Office Item Type

  7. Change to the ‘Methods’ Tab and click on the ‘Specific Finder Method’, you will see we have a warming telling us that we need to map some required fields

    Map the fields for the office item type 

    [Click the image to see a larger view]

  8. Click on the ‘Title’ Field, and then set it’s Office Item Type Mapping to ‘Title’

    mapping the office item types 

  9. Repeat this process for the ‘FirstName’ , ‘MiddleName’ ,‘LastName’, ‘CompanyName’ , ‘EmailAddress’ and ‘Phone’ fields, mapping them to the correct Type.
  10. When you have finished, save the settings in the Entity Management screen. Then deploy your Model by pressing F5 within Visual Studio.
  11. Create a new ‘External List’ on your Site, give it a name and use the just-deployed External Content Type. Click ‘Create’

    Create a new external list

  12. We should now have an External List showing our Customer data

    External List displaying data 

  13. Click on ‘List’ on the Ribbon and then click on the ‘Connect to Outlook’ button

    Click the Connect to Outlook button

  14. After a short while a dialog box will pop-up asking you to install, Click ‘Install’

    Install the Click Once package

  15. Once the installation has been completed you can click ‘Close’

    Click close once the installation is complete

  16. Open Outlook, you will have a section called ‘SharePoint External Lists’, within this section you will have our ‘Demo of Office Item Type’ Contacts

     In Outlook look for SharePoint External Lists

  17. When you click on this list you will see all of our Customer contacts are synced with Outlook

    Items from External List look like normal Outlook Contacts 

You can now use these as normal contacts within Outlook. You can disconnect your computer and take the data offline, as well as create or edit the contacts and sync the changes back to your external system if your external content type has the correct methods.


Leave a comment