IE Mode now works in Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser

Earlier this year at its Build 2019 developer conference, Microsoft announced IE Mode for its upcoming Chromium-based version of Edge. Now, you can finally use it.

The feature allows you to open a webpage in an Internet Explorer tab within the Edge browser itself. You’ll need to enable a flag called ‘Enable IE Integration’ first, and then when you have a page open, you can go to More tools -> Show this page using Internet Explorer to change the tab you’re in.

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It’s worth noting that the flag was actually discovered a few weeks ago, but enabling it at the time would only launch IE as a separate application. Now, there’s a new option in the dropdown list, so you can choose between Default, Disabled, IE Mode, and NeedIE.

IE Mode is already available in the Dev branch; however, you won’t find it in Edge for Mac. This is because Internet Explorer isn’t supported on Macs, so it was deemed unnecessary.

Another new feature added is a flag called ‘Limit media autoplay’, which will block certain sites from autoplaying video. If you want to check out the Edge Insider builds, you can find it here.

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Microsoft announces Fluid Framework to break down the barriers of documents as we know them

Microsoft today announced the Fluid Framework, a new platform that will let developers create faster and more flexible web-based distributed apps. Promising to “break down the barriers of the traditional document as we know it”, it promises co-authoring at speeds never before achieved by anyone.

The Fluid Framework allows you to take content from the web or from different apps, deconstruct them, and reconstruct them into different modular components, allowing members of the team to work together in a more efficient way. It also allows for “intelligent agents” to work with real people to “co-author, fetch content, provide photo suggestions, identify experts, translate data and more”.

The Framework could allow you to work on a document with authors from around the world that speak different languages, providing real-time translation. The example used was if you’re writing an HR manual. After various authors worked together on it, another team could use various calculations in that document, and it all sort of seamlessly works together.

Microsoft said that the Fluid Framework will be available to developers later on this year with an SDK, when the firm is also planning to provide Microsoft 365 experiences with the Fluid Framework.

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Microsoft Weekly: Revenue’s up, patches available, Xbox features soon attainable

Not only has the end of another week come by, but also the end of a fiscal quarter for the Redmond giant, which means we get to see how the company performed in Q3. Apart from that, there’s the set of cumulative updates for Windows 10, some upcoming Xbox software features, and more. Be sure to find all that, and the usual bit extra, in your Microsoft digest for the week of April 20-26.

Up goes the revenue

For the most part, we’ve seen a constant increase in revenue overall from Microsoft, and that trend has been carried over to Q3 2019 as well, with its 14% improvement.

The headline feature was the 14 % above revenue increase year-over-year, which for the third quarter of 2019 (ending March 31) was $30.6 billion. Operating income also climbed by 25% to $10.3 billion, and net profit registered a 19% increase to $8.8 billion.

Microsoft’s three main categories saw improvements too: Productivity and Business Processes had revenue of $10.2 billion (14% increase YoY), Intelligent Cloud brought in $9.7 billion (22% up YoY), and More Personal Computing brought in $10.7 billion (an 8% increase).

In the first category, the main driver of the increase was LinkedIn with a revenue jump of 27%, followed by sessions growing 24% with “record levels of engagement.” Furthermore, Office Commercial products and cloud services grew by 12% – owing to a 30% increase in revenue from Office 365 Commercial and Office commercial seats growing 27%. Because of the shift to the cloud, Office commercial product revenue dropped 19%.

Office Consumer products and services grew 8% in terms of revenue thanks to recurring subscription revenue, while the number of Office 365 subscribers rose to 34.2 million (0.9 million more than the previous quarter). Dynamics revenue was up 13%, and Dynamics 365 revenue grew by 43%.

In terms of the Intelligent Cloud category, Server Products and Cloud Services grew by 27% as far as revenue was concerned, Azure revenue was up an impressive 73%, while server products saw an increase of 7%, and enterprise services grew by 4%.

The More Personal Computing ‘bucket’, so to speak, is where we find the Windows OEM Pro revenue which increased 15%, with non-Pro revenue declining by 1%. Windows commercial products and cloud services saw an increase of 18%, Surface revenue was up 21% compared to last quarter, and gaming revenue grew by 5%. In this gaming category, Xbox software and services revenue was up 12%, and Xbox Live monthly active users increased by 7% to a total of 63 million. No details were shared in regards to hardware revenue.

Finally, Search grew a decent 12%, and that is excluding traffic acquisition costs.

Down go the patches
Patch Tuesday may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean cumulative updates won’t be showing up. That’s precisely what happened this week, as every single variant of Windows 10 – apart from 1511 and 1809 – got a patch, so there’s a lot to unpack. If you’re on Microsoft’s latest OS endeavor, here’s what you need to be on the lookout for:

April 2018 Update (1803): KB4493437, build 17134.753 – fixes the issue around IE and sub-resource download over HTTP/HTTPS, as well as the one related to Custom URL Schemes for Application Protocol handlers. Also, there are several Office-related patches, as well as fixes for time and date-related issues around the Japanese Era, and fixes for RDSH deployment failure, SMB shares, UWP apps, roaming user profiles, and more.
Known issues: Problems using the PXE to start a WDS server configured to use Variable Window Extension; Operations like rename that are performed on folders on a Cluster Shared Volume may fail with the ‘STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC0000A5)’ error.
Fall Creators Update (1709) Education, Enterprise: KB4493440, build 16299.1127 – broadly the same changelog as that of 1809.
Known issues: Only the second one described for 1809, relating to Cluster Shared Volumes.
Creators Update (1703): KB4493436, build 15063.1784 – similar changelog to 1709.
Known issues: the same known issue as 1709.
Anniversary Update (1607), Server 2016: KB4493473, build 14393.2941 – similar changelog to the ones above, with the only things, in addition, being fixes related to Storage Spaces Direct clusters, Cluster Aware Update, and more.
Known issues: In addition to the two known issues described for 1803, there are two other ones: one relates to the ‘2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)’ error after installing KB4467684, while the other links to SCVMM being unable to enumerate and manage local switches on the host post-update.
Windows 10 LTSC (1507): KB4498375, build 10240.18187 – the only changes are in regards to date and time-related issues for the new Japanese Era and various things affected by it.
Known issues: This has the same known problem present in 1703 and 1709.
Since we touched on the subject of updates, a bit of news concerning the upcoming May 2019 Update has come out, starting with the updated CPU requirements. While there hasn’t been any change in terms of supported chips, the absence of Ryzen 3000 series and the Snapdragon 8cx is noteworthy. The former may be an accidental omission, while the latter may be coming with the launch of 19H2 since it’s slated for release later in 2019.

Another exciting tidbit relates to the minimum storage requirement, which with the advent of 1903 (or the May 2019 Update) is set to rise to 32GB for both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. As folks may know, the minimum previously was 16GB for 32-bit and 20GB for 64-bit variants of Windows. What needs to be underlined here is that the updated figure isn’t reflective of how much space the OS will take, rather what Microsoft is recommending the minimum total storage space should be.

Speaking of storage, if you’re on 1803 or 1809 and you have either an external USB or SD card attached during the upgrade to 1903 – which folks on MSDN have been able to trigger -, the upgrade process will not continue. This only happens if you insert the USB or SD card during the installation process, which will trigger the process of drive letter reassignment. Merely removing the external storage media and restarting the upgrade should work just fine.

It needs to be said that since this particular feature update will be rolling out next month – if everything goes smoothly -, Nvidia has already added support for it via its 430.39 WHQL driver which is available now.

In related news, it was discovered a couple of weeks ago that in the merging of the Fast and Skip Ahead rings of the Insider Program, folks that were on build 18362.53 of 19H1 were unable to upgrade to the newly released 18875 builds from the 20H1 branch. That has now been fixed with the advent of KB4497093, a cumulative update which brings the build string to 18362.86.

Indeed, the fix came just in the nick of time as Microsoft pushed out build 18885 to the Fast ring yesterday, bringing forward improvements to Your Phone – which now has an expanded list of supported devices and notification syncing with your PC. More languages have now been added to the list of supported ones for dictation, and Insiders who have Windows set to a language other than English have the option to browse only feedback in English starting with Feedback Hub v 1.1.903 that are now rolling out. There’s also now a command in Narrator (specifically Narrator + S) which will give you a webpage summary covering links, landmarks, and headings.

There are of course some fixes, with perhaps the most interesting one being for the USB and SD card bug mentioned a few paragraphs earlier. That’s fixed, along with the layout of the App Volume and Device Preferences page, the post install setup message that unexpectedly appeared sometime after logging in, Windows Hello signing you right back in just as you walked away after locking your PC, and more. As this is pre-release software, there are known issues, among which the now classic one related to anti-cheat software in games, as well as the Realtek SD card reader one. Besides, there are bugs related to enhanced session VMs, the dragging of emoji and dictation panels, Tamper Protection in Windows Security potentially being turned off post-update, and individual Start Menu features not being localized in FR-FR, RU-RU, and ZH-CN.

Features that the Xbox snatches

In contrast with Windows 10, the Xbox software gets updated far more frequently than twice a year cadence of the desktop OS. While yes, the console does match the two big feature drops per year – as evidenced in the April 2019 Xbox Update -, there are smaller updates pushed in-between like the upcoming versions 1905 and 1910.

Those in the Skip Ahead section of the Preview Alpha ring are testing 1910 – due out in October -, while those in the regular Alpha ring are testing 1905, which should be made available next month. Both builds have some minor bug fixes, but a quality of life improvement present in both concerns game sorting under My Games & Apps. No longer will “a” or “the” be considered when alphabetically sorting games, which means that titles like The Witcher 3 will now reside under W instead of T.

You are bringing the subject back to features coming in the near feature with 1905. Beyond the better sorting mentioned above, your friends’ list will now show which platform your friends are gaming from, with icons for PC, console, and mobile. These will only show up for platforms you are not using, meaning that if you’re on console, you’ll only see an icon if your friends are playing on PC or mobile, and so on.

Besides, Microsoft will be bringing message requests, as well as the ability to create a ‘play later’ list for your games. The self-explanatory capability will be manageable via console or the Game Pass mobile app.

Folks who use Mixer as their preferred streaming platform will be happy to know that its AI-powered rewards program, dubbed Loot, is slated for launch on April 30. While the rewards are redeemable on any gaming platform and can be seen over on the “My Loot” page, this particular program won’t be available for all channels. Furthermore, the program is limited to a single reward code per account per unique Loot opportunity.

We cap this section off with something related to that same date of April 30, and that’s the arrival of the Sea of Thieves Anniversary Update. What ended up happening it seems is that Microsoft accidentally unveiled an Anniversary Edition bundle a few days early. While the package was listed for $49.99 yesterday, the company appears to have caught onto the mistake, as the store page features a disclaimer stating the current lack of availability.

The Fast ring
Surface Book 2 has gotten a permanent $200 price cut.
Conditional access and single sign-on support arrived for Edge on iOS and Android.
You can now view traffic camera images along a planned route on Bing Maps.
Old school Paint won’t be removed from Windows 10, for now.
Microsoft To-Do beta on Android now supports Planner integration.
Microsoft Launcher 5.4 beta has been made available with a Cricket widget and improvements to the status bar and system navigation theming.
Microsoft has given UND a $100,000 fund for an innovative drone tech project.
There’s now a Security Policy Advisor service for Office 365.
WPS Office 2019 is now available in the Microsoft Store.
The Windows Media Center SDK has unofficially made its way to GitHub.
Google Meet was broken on Edgium due to the change in the User Agent string.
A new Edge Dev build out, with support for 32-bit PCs.
Hot corner
Hot corner is a section of The Fast ring dedicated to highlighting five Microsoft-related stories that haven’t been covered over here but might be of interest.

Azure Backup now supports the moving of Recovery Services vaults.
The second preview of the Azure Services App Authentication library, version 1.2.0, is now available.
There’s now a governance setting for cache refreshes in Azure Analysis Services.
Reserved capacity and software plans in Azure SQL Data Warehouse are now generally available.
The backend of Azure Notification Hubs has been updated to support Firebase Cloud Messaging migration.
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The Windows 10 May 2019 Update is now available on MSDN

Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, along with some significant changes to the way feature updates are delivered. While the May 2019 Update is coming to the general public in May 2019, those with MSDN subscriptions found today that ISOs for the feature update are now available.

It’s a new world for Windows 10 updates, so there’s no real norm to compare this to. On one hand, this is around when previous spring updates would have shown up; however, those shipped in April. Microsoft promised to give Windows 10 version 1903 a whole month to bake in the Release Preview ring this time, which is why it’s coming in May.

Earlier today, Microsoft announced the availability of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update SDK. With that in mind, it probably makes sense to offer ISOs to developers, or at least those with a paid MSDN subscription.

Of course, if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a paid subscription, you can always use the RTM build that’s available via the Slow or Release Preview rings of the Windows Insider Program.

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New Office Insider Fast build introduces new icons for major apps

Microsoft announced new icons for its Office suite all the way back at the end of 2018, but the rollout of those new icons hasn’t been exactly quick. Today, however, Microsoft announced build 11514.20004 of the Office apps which is being rolled out to Office Insider Fast users on Windows, and it sees the four most prominent apps in the suite getting new icons.

Specifically, we’re talking about Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, all of which now have the product icons revealed last year. The new Outlook icon was made available for the iOS app earlier this week, too. You may see a couple of issues with this, though. Pinned tiles for the apps may not update with these icons, plus associated file types won’t display the new icons either. Only the product icons themselves have been updated, with a broader rollout coming soon.

As for new features, Word now supports basic co-authoring of documents that contain macros, whereas you would previously be locked out of a document if someone else is editing it. Basic co-authoring means AutoSave and real-time typing won’t be available, and you also can’t edit the VBA macros in co-authoring mode.

In addition to the new features and changes, the new builds come with a range of bug fixes for a lot of the Office apps. These include an issue where Word would constantly display a “Checking for changes” message, Access creating an extra shortcut, and more. You can see the full list of changes here.

The new build should show up for you automatically, but you can try checking manually for updates if you haven’t received it yet.

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Microsoft launches AI Business School – a free, non-technical, online course

Microsoft’s positive approach toward harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been accentuated multiple times in recent months. In January, Microsoft joined the SciKit-learn consortiumto help make AI accessible to all. Then, last month, the tech giant collaborated with Accenture, initiating the Microsoft Business Group to empower enterprises through Azure services.

Today, the Redmond-based firm has announced a free, online course, dubbed ‘AI Business School’. As is indicated by the name, the series will aim to empower business leaders, and educate them on how to solve business-specific problems involving AI.

Mitra Azizirad, CVP for AI Marketing at Microsoft, is responsible for the launch of this initiative, along with her team. Describing the reasons behind the need for knowledge regarding AI in business, Azizirad said:

“There is a gap between what people want to do and the reality of what is going on in their organizations today, and the reality of whether their organization is ready. Developing a strategy for AI extends beyond the business issues. It goes all the way to the leadership, behaviors and capabilities required to instill an AI-ready culture in your organization.”

The course materials include case studies, guides, and short videos of lectures that can conveniently be accessed by business executives whenever they are free. Importantly, most of the content is focused around the impact of AI in three key areas identified by Microsoft. Namely, company strategy, culture, and responsibility. However, videos providing some introductory context to AI technologies relevant to industries in current times are included as well. Unlike some of the company’s past educational AI-centric initiatives, this one is completely non-technical in nature.

Microsoft has conducted case studies on a number of companies, such as U.S.-based manufacturing services company, Jabil. These have helped provide it with further information on how various techniques described in detail in the course can be, and have been, implemented. The aforementioned case studies were created using AI Business School’s strategy module, with graduate business school INSEAD partnering with the Redmond giant to help accomplish this task.

Business culture and responsibility have also been hallmarked as two of the key areas upon which the course has been based. Azizirad especially noted the importance of openly sharing data across various departments and business functions, calling it the “foundation of AI”. Furthermore, Microsoft’s market research indicated that the deployment of AI systems in a responsible manner is considered quite a significant factor by business leaders.

You can find further information regarding Microsoft’s AI Business School – or check out the material offered by the course – here.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 18351 to the Fast ring with more fixes

Typically, Microsoft releases new Windows 10 Insider Preview builds on Wednesdays, or later in the week, as the first two days of the week are reserved for testing. But as we get closer to a feature update being finalized, the Fast ring builds start showing up more frequently. Today, the firm released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18351 to the Fast ring.

As you’d expect at this point, there are no new front-facing features. Microsoft is focusing on fixes, as Windows 10 version 1903 will be finalized this month, for a public release in April.

Here’s what got fixed and improved:

  • If you haven’t been able to get the game State of Decay for free (for a limited time), we’ve just made more slots available! Whether you’ve tried it in earlier builds or haven’t had the chance yet, these instructions have everything you need. We’ve also made fixes to improve the download and install experience thanks to your feedback, so please try again if you had problems before.
  • We fixed an issue from recent builds that could result in monitors being missing from the built-in Color Management application.
  • We fixed an issue causing Explorer.exe to crash for some Insiders when Jump list content was updated.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some devices unexpectedly experiencing a 30 second wait before pin re-entry was available after a pin was incorrectly entered on the lock screen.
  • We fixed an issue where the time shown on the clock in Windows Sandbox might not match the clock outside of Windows Sandbox.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Emoji 12 emoji showing up as boxes in certain XAML text fields.
  • We fixed an issue where text scaling values did not persist across upgrades for Win32 applications.
  • Due to a Narrator reading reliability issue for the “Change how capitalized text is read” feature, the feature has been disabled starting in build 18351.
  • We fixed an issue where the mouse pointer color might be incorrectly switched to white after signing out and signing back in.

Of course, there are still some known issues. Here’s what’s still broken:

  • Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
  • Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
  • While this flight contains some night light improvements, we’re continuing to investigate reported issues in this space.
  • Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
  • We’re investigating reports of the Chinese version of multiple games not working.
  • We’re investigating an issue where region settings are being reset on upgrade for some Insiders.
  • We’re investigating an issue preventing VMware from being able to install or update Windows Insider Preview builds. Hyper-V is a viable alternative if available to you.
  • If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring, optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.

Once Windows 10 version 1903 ships next month, Insiders on the Fast ring will start seeing builds from the 19H2 development branch. Currently, Skip Ahead is already testing 20H1, which is slated for release in the first half of 2020.

As always, you can install today’s build by heading over to Settings -> Update & security -> Windows Update -> Check for updates. If you’re not on the Fast ring and you want to enroll, head to the Windows Insider Program tab.

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Microsoft’s overhauled Office 365 symbols begin taking off on – The overhauled symbols for Microsoft’s Office 365 applications have now begun taking off on office com setup. This is by all accounts a slow rollout, with Microsoft organizing Office 365 business clients until further notice (by means of Neowin).

Microsoft disclosed the new symbols back in November, five years after the last upgraded occured for the dispatch of Office 2013. At the time, the organization clarified that “our plan arrangement was to decouple the letter and the image in the symbols, basically making two boards (one for the letter and one for the image) that we can match or separate. This enables us to keep up commonality while as yet stressing effortlessness inside the application.”

The first applications to get overhauled symbols on office com setup are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive. It stays to be checked whether other Office 365 applications like Delve, Forms and Sway will pursue, yet we likewise realize that the Skype symbol will likewise get some affection sooner rather than later.

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Tid Bits of Help: Microsoft Office Publisher for 2019

Well folks, normally I bring you hints/tips about changes Microsoft has made to Word and Excel (with a couple of PowerPoint thrown in), but not Publisher. Well, that’s because the changes have been small and seemingly Publisher was pretty much ignored – the step-child you might think. Not now.

According to my research, the templates and what you can do with them have been updated. There are new capabilities to work with the program for all those publications, sales and marketing materials you love to work with! (Any chance to play, and with bright/shiner toys works for me!) So, for one thing in the 2019 Publisher gets to use the Ribbon along with the new Backstage feature. The publisher wasn’t left out this time.

The updated picture tools we found in Word and Excel have finally made it to Publisher (where it should have been all along anyway) allowing for more control of photos. They’ve included a new object alignment technology, building blocks of content and fine typography options like true small caps and stylistic alternates. All the things we’ve been wanting to make desktop publishing better.

So having said all of the above, what is new/improved?
Well one thing, when you’re working with an inserted picture and you want to make changes, you can see them before you accept them. A big time saver. (in the “improved” category) Add captions for the photos and the ability to choose from a gallery of caption layouts. The object alignment technology provides grids to work with – not just the rules on the side and bottom and the hope you have it lined up correctly. (in the “improved” category) For a print preview, you can simultaneously view both sides of a page, multiple pages, page boundaries, and more print info to achieve the correct print result the first time. (in the “new” category) Now, to be honest folks I don’t see how this is new. As you’ve always been able to see multiple pages in Print Preview, then have the option to print from the preview mode. But the research states it’s a new feature. The building blocks of content for items like mastheads and graphics are easier due to the accessibility of the pre-existing themes in fonts and colors. (in the “improved” category) Fine typography is much improved. We now have the ability to use ligatures, true small caps, stylistic alternates, and alternate numeral forms. Such as fun things with the fonts like reflective and a better look to the shadow. (in the “improved” category) When connected to the internet, there are more Publisher templates available on Office Online than before. (in the “improved” category) And as you could in Publisher 2010 – you can save a file as a PDF or XPS for easier sharing and printing.

Now, remember, this is all research-based and I’m going on what Microsoft has stated. I haven’t purchased the 2019 product yet – I have too many clients still using 2010 and the special effects won’t convert to the older versions. That is something for you to keep in mind. When feasible, save as a PDF document then no worries with folks opening in older versions.

Robert Morris a Microsoft Office expert has been working in the technology industry from the last 5 year. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as

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Sync Outlook Contacts with iPhone or Ipad

Outlook is another fabulous emailing service from Microsoft Corporation. What makes it more useful is the ability to sync the contacts with iPhones. If you have an iPhone, then you can download Outlook on your device and later synchronize the connections with your phone. While performing the sync, it is general to face the problems in settings provoking to the failure of synchronization.

Sync Outlook Contacts with iPhone

If you are an Outlook user as well as an iPhone holder, you might have tried or wanted to sync your Outlook contacts with iPhone. If you have no idea about the process, don’t hesitate to follow the guide to synchronize your contacts with your phone.

Here’s how to sync Outlook contacts with your iPhone
Open the Settings menu in your iPhone.
Go to Accounts and Passwords.
Tap on Add Account.
Tap com from the list.
Now, enter the email address and phone number.
Tap Next to enter the password for your account.
Now, select Sign in.
The device will ask for permission to access your Outlook account.
Tap Yes to allow the access.
In your Outlook account, tap the Contacts toggle button to switch on sync.
Tap Save from the upper right corner of the display.
There is another method to sync the Contacts with PC. However, you must have iCloud and Outlook in your computer system.

How to sync your Outlook contacts with your PC
Open the Start menu and search
Click to open iCloud.
Sign in with your Apple ID.
Tick mark Mail, Contact, Calendars, and Tasks option.
The option will add your Outlook and sync the data with iPhone.
Click Apply from the bottom of the wizard.
Now, the process is complete, and your Outlook data like Calendar, Tasks, Mails, and Contacts will sync.
Well, there are other more options like Exchange and iTunes to synchronize the Outlook Contacts along with other data. The Exchange service might be provided in the Accounts and Passwords section of Settings menu in iPhones. The process is straightforward, and now as you know how to create sync, you can efficiently use the other methods as well.