Android for the Windows Guy: Use Your Microsoft Accounts

UPDATE: Since this article first appeared, Outlook for Android was updated to support contact syncing, so you no longer have to go through the second step here. Just enable “sync contacts” for your account in the Outlook app. –Paul

Android for the Windows Guy: Use Your Microsoft Accounts

You’ve adopted an Android smart phone, but your contacts, email, and calendaring information are tied up in your or Office 365 account. No worries, you can access it all from Android, and even make sure that your phone calls and text messages correctly identify who’s reaching out to you.

The best news? You can make this work no matter which apps you choose to use to manage your contacts, email and calendar.

The first step is to choose which apps you wish to use to manage your Microsoft-hosted (e.g. or Office 365) contacts, email and calendar. Unfortunately, this is where things get complex on Android.

To simplify matters, I’m going to simply recommend that you use the excellent Microsoft Outlook app for contacts, email, and calendar management. It will be familiar to you as a Windows user, and it works well.

There’s just one problem. Signing in to Microsoft Outlook does not provide contact information to the Phone and Hangouts/Messenger apps. So when people call or text you—or you try to do the same—no one from your contacts list shows up. Instead, incoming phone calls and text messages are identified only by their phone number.

So there are two steps here. Install and configure Microsoft Outlook. And then configure your or Office 365 account with the system so that you can access your contacts with the Android phone and messaging apps.

Step 1: Install Microsoft Outlook

This one is simple enough: Download and install Microsoft Outlook from the Play Store. Then, sign-in with your or Office 365 account. You will now be able to access your contacts, email, and calendar from within this one app. It’s pretty sweet.

Step 2: Get your contacts into Android too

Now, you need to get your contacts into Android so that you they work with your phone and messaging apps. To do so, navigate to Settings, Personal, Accounts and tap “Add account.”


Here, choose Exchange, even if you have an account. As prompted, enter your email address and verify that you mean to use an Exchange account type and not IMAP


In the Incoming Server Settings screen, you will need to make at least one change if you’re using an account: the SERVER field needs to be configured as And if you’re using two-factor authentication with your Microsoft account, your normal password won’t work. Instead, you will need to generate an app password. You do this from the Security Settings page on the Microsoft Account web site.


Now, the Account Options screen appears. Here, you will disable email and calendar sync, leaving only contact sync enabled.


Now, Phone and Hangouts/Messenger can access your contact list, so your contacts are accurately identified. And you can still use Microsoft Outlook to manage your contacts, email and calendaring items as you wish.

Note: If you want your or Office 365 contacts to appear in Android’s standalone Contacts app for some reason, you will need to enable this. In Contacts, choose More (“…”) and then Contacts to display and then customize accordingly.


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Conversation 2 comments

  • jamescollett

    14 April, 2018 - 1:45 pm

    <p>I have a new Android 8.1.0 device (Nokia 8). All my contacts are in my Microsoft Account. I actually do not use my Microsoft Account for emails, but on my Windows 10 Mobile Phone the contacts were exposed to all the relevant apps – mail, WhatsApp, SMS messaging.</p><p><br></p><p>I have downloaded the app. But I cannot log in using my Microsoft Account username (email address) and password. It looks like the app has changed; it requires all manner of mail server credentials to be entered.</p><p><br></p><p><em>What can be done?</em></p>

  • Rob_Wade

    30 May, 2018 - 8:33 pm

    <p>I tried to follow the above instructions today, but they didn't work. After entering everything and trying to connect, it just came in with an error logging into the service. I can only setup Outlook for Android using the regular Outlook option.</p>


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