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Chapter 3. Managing Your BlackBerry from... > Synchronize PIM Data with Your PC

10. Synchronize PIM Data with Your PC

One of the most important reasons to connect your BlackBerry device to your desktop PC is to synchronize PIM data such as contacts, calendar events, tasks, and notes. You synchronize PIM data with your PC by enabling each type of data that you'd like to synchronize and then specifying a translator application for each. For example, in the case of Microsoft Outlook, it serves as the translator application for all PIM data types because it has support for the various data types (contacts, events, tasks, and notes).

For the purposes of synchronization, email is handled differently from the other PIM data types. Your ability to synchronize, or reconcile, email depends largely on what type of email account you have and whether your company uses the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. If you don't have access to the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you'll probably want to use the BlackBerry Web Client. See 23 About Email and the BlackBerry Web Client to get started.

10. Synchronize PIM Data with Your PC

Run the BlackBerry Desktop Manager on Your Desktop PC

With your BlackBerry device plugged in to your desktop PC and turned on, click the Start button on the Windows taskbar of your desktop PC to open the main Windows system menu. Then select All Programs, BlackBerry, Desktop Manager. The BlackBerry Desktop Manager application appears.

Open the Intellisync Screen

Double-click the Intellisync icon in the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. The Intellisync window appears, offering several synchronization options.

Configure the PIM Synchronization Settings

Before you synchronize for the first time, you should configure the PIM synchronization settings. Click the Configure PIM button to view the Handheld Configuration window, where you tweak PIM synchronization settings for each PIM application.

Configure the PIM Applications for Synchronization

In the Handheld Configuration window is a list of handheld applications that handle PIM data. To the left of each application is a check box you can click to turn synchronization on and off for that particular application/data type. For example, you might want to synchronize only contacts and no other PIM data, in which case you would check the Address Book application and uncheck the others.

To change the desktop translator application that synchronizes with a particular handheld application, click the handheld application in the list and then click the Choose button. The Choose Translator window appears for the handheld application you selected. As an example, if you click Address Book as the handheld application, the Choose Translator window appears with the available desktop translator applications that can handle contact data.


Translator application— An application that handles the translation of PIM data between your device and your desktop PC. This application is typically just the client application that you already use to view and manage PIM data on your desktop PC.

Choose the Translator for Each PIM Application

The Choose Translator window displays a list of desktop translator applications associated with a particular type of PIM data, such as contacts or tasks. Click the appropriate translator application in the list. The translator application you choose will likely be the same application you already use on your desktop PC to manage PIM data. For example, I use Microsoft Outlook for my contacts, calendar, memo notes, and tasks, not to mention email.

If you want to carry out a one-way exchange of PIM information, select Import or Export as the Operation instead of Synchronize just below the list of translator applications. The Import operation imports PIM data from your desktop PC to your BlackBerry with no information exchange in the other direction. Conversely, the Export operation exports data from your device to your PC only.

To exert maximum control over the synchronization of PIM data, you must dig deeper into the advanced settings for each type of data. Click OK to return to the Handheld Configuration window; then click the Configure button. Click Advanced Settings in the menu that appears, and the Advanced Settings for Address Book window appears.

Tweak Advanced Settings for Each PIM Application

The Advanced Settings for Address Book window displays a series of tabbed panes with advanced options associated with address book (contacts) data. The Confirmation tab allows you to specify whether contact record changes, additions, and deletions must be confirmed during synchronization. I'd recommend leaving the default setting for both of these options, which is to leave them both turned on.

Other tabbed panes allow you to specify Conflict Resolution options and Filter options for contact data. Other PIM data types can also include additional panes that provide options specific to that type of data. For example, the Advanced Settings for Calendar window includes a Date Range tab that allows you to get very specific about which appointments and events are synchronized. You can limit the synchronization to appointments and events that take place only within a certain date range.


Unless you have some specific synchronization needs in mind, I suggest you start with the default settings for all the advanced PIM synchronization options.

Click OK to accept your changes and close the Advanced Settings for Address Book window, or click Cancel to exit the window without making any changes. Then click OK in the Handheld Configuration window to return to the main Intellisync window. Here you can set the BlackBerry Desktop Manager so that it automatically synchronizes PIM data when you connect your device to your desktop PC. Click the Auto start button to open the Auto start settings window.

Configure the Auto Start Settings

The auto start settings consist of three options that allow you to automatically synchronize PIM data, execute add-in actions, and update the device's date and time from your desktop PC. The first option, Synchronize PIM, is the only option that directly relates to synchronization, although you might want to enable the last option—Update handheld's date and time—if you want to ensure that your desktop and device time are always in sync. Click OK to accept the auto start settings and return to the Intellisync window.


Add-in— A special helper application that is installed on your device to carry out a specific task, such as allowing you to view a file of an unsupported type. As an example, you might install an add-in that enables you to view Microsoft Excel spreadsheets on your device.

Initiate the Synchronization

Click the Synchronize now button to initiate the synchronization of your BlackBerry with your PC. A window appears that provides you with a status report on the synchronization process. You might be required to okay changes to information based on the advanced Confirmation settings you saw in step 6. When your device finishes synchronizing, click the Close button in the Intellisync window to return to the main BlackBerry Desktop Manager window.

You can either leave your device connected to your PC to charge the battery or disconnect it. You'll probably want to minimize the BlackBerry Desktop Manager application instead of closing it so it remains available for synchronization later; otherwise, you'll need to launch it again the next time you need to synchronize. BlackBerry Desktop Manager is a reasonably lean application, so it shouldn't tax your system too much to leave it running.


An option in the BlackBerry Desktop Manager application hides the application from the Windows taskbar when the application is minimized. This provides the visual effect of the application being closed, although it is still ready and available for synchronizing the next time you connect your device. To enable this option, click Options on the main BlackBerry Desktop Manager menu, and then click Hide When Minimized.

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