Q&A: Can I sync my Outlook:Mac calendar with Sync Services?

Chris asked:

Does Outlook 2011 support calendar sync to sync services like Entourage did?

You’re correct: Entourage supported contacts and calendar sync via OS X Sync Services.  Some heavy-duty users experienced recurring issues with self-duplicating items, which made for a pretty painful experience.

To avoid these issues, we rebuilt our Sync Services support from the ground up for Outlook.  We set a very high quality bar, with the goal of avoiding those issues that our Entourage users faced.  For our initial v14.0.0 release, we got there with contacts.  But we didn’t get there with calendar.  Close, but no cigar.  Close wasn’t good enough, so we held off.  We wanted Outlook to be the most awesome Outlook ever.  We decided that we’d rather not support it on the initial release rather than have a version that didn’t meet our standards.

We will add calendar sync in a future update.  I don’t have a date to share yet for that.  The team is working hard on it, and I’ll post when it’s ready.

This entry was posted in Office:Mac 2011, Outlook, Q&A. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Q&A: Can I sync my Outlook:Mac calendar with Sync Services?

  1. virtualmark says:

    Hi Nadyne,

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s going to say that this is a deal breaker for me. As much as I’d love Office 2011 for a speedier Excel, more reliable Word etc etc if Outlook can’t sync my calendar with iCal and other non-Exchange calendars then I will have no option but to stick with Entourage and Office 2008.

    So want would be really useful if Microsoft could be a bit more informative about when full calendar sync services will be in place, rather than the non-committal “future update”. Other companies – like mine – have to make commitments to our customers about when key jobs will be completed. In that regard Microsoft’s customer relations are pretty shabby.

    • nadyne says:

      There’s a difference between what I can say here publicly and what Microsoft will say to its customers under NDA. If you have a Microsoft account rep, you should contact them about your concerns with regards to our Sync Services support.

      • Richard Holbrook says:

        Nadyne,
        It is 3 years between the release of Office for mac 2008 and Office for Mac 2011. It is hard to believe in that time period Microsoft could come up with a solution for syncing Office with Mobileme!
        If Microsoft were truly interested is serving the Mac market they could have (should have) included sync with one of the most popular Apple/Mac applications…MobileMe!

        It is no wonder the rest of the World is leaving Microsoft behind…Google, Yahoo, Apple etc.

        Dick Holbrook
        Purchased Office for Mac 2011 on October 26, 2010

  2. Pingback: Q&A: Why doesn’t Outlook:Mac sync directly with mobile devices? | go ahead, mac my day

  3. One reason I never used Entourage related to the way it synced with iCal. The last time, I checked, it would only sync one of my iCal categories (I currently have six different ones, each with a different color) with my iPhone.

    I can appreciate your delaying calendar syncing until it is completely ready, and it certainly wouldn’t have made sense to hold up the entire Office 2011 release for this one issue. But I encourage the MacBU to give us a better calendar sync in Outlook than Entourage had. I’d be very interested in giving Outlook a shot, but I need to be able to do so without losing capabilities that I currently have in iCal.

    • Bruno Brigham says:

      i bought the microsoft office 2011 business , expecting to have a full feature sync service for ( mail ,contacts calendar , notes , tasks ) with (Mac , iphone , mobile me , itunes ) , looks like we are going backwards , very disappointing .
      when wall this will be available ?

  4. Peter Davey says:

    Nadyne,
    Thats great news, but can you encourage your marketing or pr people to make a statement as to the relative timeframe, ie Q1 2011, Q3 2011?

    It would help with planning. I don’t have a site license or MS rep, so I like many others just depend on whats available on the Mactopia site and feedback from yourselves and others.
    Thanks,
    Peter

    • nadyne says:

      We’re actively working on it, and we haven’t yet gotten an accurate enough crystal ball to tell us when it’ll be done. While I completely understand that it would help with planning, we’re not going to commit to a time to release it until it’s done. Since it will go into a service pack that’s released to the web, the notice wouldn’t be on the order of “it’s coming in this quarter”, but rather “it’s coming out on Update Tuesday”.

  5. Steve Waddell says:

    I am very disappointed to find this out today. We have our own business and do mostly US Government related work, and need Outlook, Word, and PPT to interface with our customers and team partners. It is very poor service on Microsoft to roll out this release without that functionality! I can’t believe that wasn’t given more of a priority in development, and that I didn’t find out about this until I bought a copy.

    Speaking of quality, I opened the installation brochure that came with Office 2011, and on the first page in, it says:

    Office 2011 Training:
    http://www.microsoft.com/mac/training

    Guess what? The link doesn’t work! Who quality checked that?

    I am by no means a Microsoft ‘basher’ – nothing could be further from the truth. I love Office 2007, but hated Office 2008 (what idiot decided to reinvent the wheel?) I love MS SharePoint, and I also really like Office 2010.

    Outlook 2011 has already crashed once during setup this morning. I’m not off to a good start.

    • nadyne says:

      Support for Sync Services was a high priority in development. Getting Sync Services right was one of our earliest decisions as we began the work on Outlook. However, we set a high quality bar, and we didn’t meet it in time for release. Given the issues that exist with Entourage’s support for Sync Services, we didn’t want to ship support that didn’t meet our quality standards for the new Outlook. We’re actively working on it with Apple right now, and we’ll ship Sync Services support as soon as it meets our standards.

      Thank you for pointing out an issue with that link. I’ve sent your report to our web guys to see if they can figure out what happened.

      Since you sent this comment to me via email as well, I’ll ask you again if you can send me that crash report so that I can attempt to diagnose the issue.

  6. Steve Waddell says:

    Thank you.

    Also, I sent you a meeting notice I received, created in Office 2007, and it is almost illegible. I thought we were supposed to see superior compatibility between Windows and Mac versions of Office with this release? The meeting notice I received (which came from my wife running Outlook 2007 on Windows Vista) looks correct in Apple Mail, but horrible in Outlook 2010.

    • nadyne says:

      I’ll reply publicly here, even though you’ve sent me multiple mails on this topic, to ensure that anyone else who has this issue has an opportunity to find the answer.

      The meeting notice that you sent me was created in the original release of Outlook 2007, and hasn’t ever been updated. The meeting notice was malformed, and so Outlook:Mac 2011 didn’t read it correctly. As of this writing, Outlook 2007 is up to Service Pack 2, and you should make sure that she gets updated (since there’s lots of other updates to be had in two Service Packs!).

  7. Steve Waddell says:

    FYI – If you have Outlook 2011 open on a second monitor, and you export your Apple contacts list to a .vcf card on your desktop of your first monitor, you cannot “drag the file to the contacts area in Outlook to populate your address book. You must first move Outlook back to the main monitor, and then it will work.

    Now if I can only find the “look for duplicates” feature. My address book has been screwed by Entourage/ Apple Mail, and now importing into Outlook it needs to be cleaned up considerably. There should be an easier way.

  8. Jim McClafferty says:

    I pre-ordered office for Mac 2011 and it arrived today. I installed it and went directly to Outlook since that is the most important product for me. I cannot tell you how utterly flabbergasted I was to discover that Outlook Calendar will not sync. I have been using Entourage 2008 for years – the calendar function is superior to anything that Apple offers, but the missing sync in Outlook is a deal breaker. I mean how is it possible that you could release an “upgrade” that takes away such a fundamental and critical piece of functionality and not even mention it??? I also find your explanation that you “set the bar very high and the sync functionality was not ready yet” to be lame. In the years between the release of MS Office for Mac 2008 and today there should have benn plenty of time to address an issue that everyone knows existed.

    Now I will have to go through the effort of uninstalling Office 2011, hope that my system is not screwed up afterward, and returning the product. I’m not even angry. I am deflated and disgusted. I’ve been putting up with the sync issues in Entourage in the hopes that the 2011 product would work better and now there is no sync at all? At this point I might as well try the Apple calendar products which have less functionality but provide the most important feature to me – syncing.

    • nadyne says:

      I understand your frustration and your disappointment. I’m really sorry — I use the syncing too on my Mac at home and my iPod Touch, so I feel this pain myself.

      This was not something that we undertook lightly. However, with the issues that you’re already aware of with Entourage, we didn’t want to mar the experience of the new application by shipping support that wasn’t there. As I’ve said in this thread repeatedly, we’re working closely with Apple to resolve the remaining issues, and we’ll release support as soon as we can get it to where it needs to be so that you don’t have to deal with sync issues like those that you experienced with Entourage.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “not mention it”. This blog post, for example, was originally posted on 06 October 2010, nearly three weeks before its retail launch. Reviews for Office started appearing a couple of weeks before that, and some of them (such as the Macworld review of Outlook:Mac) mentioned this.

  9. Nadyne, I am grateful that you take the effort to communicate with us Office for Mac users, and I appreciate what you are and are not permitted to advise.

    I am very excited about Office for Mac 2011, but like many others, the lack of syncing with iPhone is a deal breaker. On the go, I add appointments on my iPhone that I need to be able to get onto my desktop calendars.

    When this functionality is restored on Office for Mac 2011, please make a big deal about it — it will make millions of us Mac/iPhone/Office users very happy.

    Until then, we’re gutted that we can’t wholeheartedly embrace Office for Mac 2011.

  10. Gabriel Reedy says:

    Maybe I’m a bit confused here, but rather than syncing via Outlook (I never used Entourage syncing because it was flaky too), can’t you use your iphone as another Exchange client that just interfaces with/writes directly to your Exchange calendar? I’ve set it up to work this way with Entourage and it seems to work fine. I was hoping just to continue that until sync services gets sorted out.

    • nadyne says:

      I apologise for the confusion!

      If your iPhone is connected to your Exchange account, Outlook:Mac’s support for Sync Services isn’t relevant because your iPhone is always getting its data directly from Exchange. Frankly, syncing via Exchange is vastly preferable to syncing via any client (Outlook:Mac or otherwise), since you get live over-the-air updates to your calendar instead of having to wait until you sit back down at your Mac to get the latest and greatest. (For me, this is huge, since I have at least 20 meetings in any given week, which means that there’s always a change/cancellation/something for at least one of them.)

      • Peter Golbitz says:

        I am another extremely disappointed and frustrated person trying to sync my new Outlook 2011 calendar to my iPhone/iCal. If I had known this was not possible I simply would not have bought it. I have spent most of the day copying files, etc. over and now will likely revert back to Mail and iCal on the Mac. To make matter’s worse, the company I work for has Exchange 2003 as a server and this is not compatible either with Office 2011! So my dream of being able to connect and share calendars with my co-workers has again been thwarted by an incomplete release and half-baked software. I would really appreciate a refund as the program does not function as promised and PLEASE… do not release software before its time. We are all too busy working to waste our time hoping that MS finally has its act together with well thought out software.

  11. Lee Friedman says:

    Oh boy. I pre-ordered my Office 2011. It just arrived today. I’ve been looking for information about two major items:

    1. Can I import Entourage data into Outlook 2011
    2. Can I use Mobileme with Outlook 2011

    I found one answer on the Microsoft site but I needed Nadyne’s blog to get the true story on sync! BTW: Thank you so much for your honesty Nadyne, I too work for a very big company and we are totally forbidden to discuss product releases and updates.

    As many of you have stated, I will now hold off installing Office until I can sync contacts and calendar. We don’t use Exchange, we use another email server (nameless so I don’t look like I’m endorsing anything). Anyway, since the version of Office 2011 is the “Business” version, someone in product marketing should realize how much the syncing capabilities are in the critical path and will hold up sales until such time as it’s working properly. Mine will now sit on the shelf until that happens.

  12. scott overby says:

    Seeing the Office 2011 I jumped in with both feet today. MacBook Pro, iPhone and an iPad. Set up the iPhone first, then the iPad and then began on the MacBook. I created a mobileme account on my PC and used that to sync everything up. It could not have been easier.

    I use Outlook and Word for 95% of my day…. Spent a while trying to figure out how to get the calendar to sync on the MacBook…. and now this. I can’t begin to express how disappointed I am.

  13. Camden Spiller says:

    Thanks for the post and comments here Nadyne – keep up the great work!

  14. Walter says:

    Thanks for the information Nadyne, but disappointment is the best word to describe my experiences with Outlook. I think Excel, Work dan PPT are wonderful, relative comparison to older versions but Outlook…. still wanting….
    Sync Contact is pretty much the last thing I care for compared to Calendar and Notes because I use cross platform iPad, iPhone & MBPro. But I guess no Calendar sync is pretty much same as today’s Apple Mail with the separate iCal function, so nothing gained, nothing lost when going to Outlook.
    What I miss are, in addition to Sync Cal & Notes, are: Multi Inboxes for separate mail accounts. Having folders and rules just don’t cut it. Scroll upwards after deleting a message, currently it is going the wrong way and various other small issues. It just seemed that Outlook was “rushed out the door”…. I’m a bit sad about it and will stay with Apple Mail until further improvements, it is cleaner & easier than Outlook. But kudos for Excel. thank goodness the ToolBox got the boot!

    • nadyne says:

      I’m not sure what you mean about “multi inboxes for separate mail accounts”. Have you gone into the preferences, then general, then unchecked “group similar folders”? I think that might take care of what you’re talking about. If not, can you explain further?

  15. Tim Taylor says:

    Nadyne,
    Thanks for responding to users concerns and issues here. I would hope that someone at Microsoft is going to the Office site and reviewing the 100′s and 1000′s of comments and disgust with this issue.

    Very simply, this is a mobile world and Microsofts decision on this topics demonstrates that it is 100% out of touch with reality of customer expectations! It is clear from the comments here and across the web that the world is scratching it’s head saying what are you all thinking? What ever good will Microsoft thought it would build by using the terminology of “setting a high standard” is 1000% destroyed by demonstrating it is out of touch.

    Very simply, it is incomprehensible that it has delivered an incomplete product and left Entourage sync languish for years. … how can this be so hard?! to get right.

    I can’t even look at the rest of the product with this huge missing.

    Microsoft OWES the public a delivery date on this fix and update — this is an unacceptable situation leaving the “purchasing public” with an incomplete product and no information. And the fact that the information was buried in a blog on October 16th is even more unacceptable — it should be a large red sticker on the box and all sales sites!

  16. John kesington says:

    hello,
    I still don’t understand how you can think people will get a product that does not have a feature like calendar synchronization.
    Do you know how many people use mobile device and sync them with their computer? I think your release is like a car without a wheel. Useless and dangerous. I know a lot of people fooled by you behavior and purchase the 2011 edition and will not just use it.
    You’re supposed to be a company that test their software before any release. It seems you need to rethink why beta testing is for.

    I very disappointed with the way you handle this release.

    • nadyne says:

      As it turns out, I do happen to know how many people use mobile devices and sync them directly with their computer (instead of over-the-air with Exchange). While calendar sync is important to many users, including me, the numbers didn’t justify holding up the entire release.

      We did test the software, both internally and with a pretty extensive beta programme, which is exactly why calendar sync didn’t make it into the final release. If we had released a buggy sync, then your testing comment would make a whole lot more sense. But it didn’t, and we continue to work closely with Apple to resolve the remaining issues.

      • Tom Benson says:

        Nadyne,

        First, thanks for fielding all these comments from unhappy customers. Not a particularly fun job I’m sure.

        Regarding your comment about the number of non-exchange users not justifying holding up the release to wait for support for calendar sync… I get it. My company develops applications, and I have made the same decision in the past to not hold up a release despite the fact that a significant piece is not ready. However, when we do that we are very clear about what is missing – and we tell people flat out “it you have to have this feature, you cannot use the application yet”. For the minority (I’m paraphrasing your words) of us that do not use exchange, not having calendar sync is not a small issue, it basically renders the entire office suite un-usable. Given that, I feel strongly that Microsoft needed to do something other than rely on a few reviews and blog posts (that most people will never see) to get the point across.

        Personally, I was a PC user until last week. The promise of an office suite on parity with office for windows was enough to convince me to take the step that I had wanted to take for awhile – switch to a mac. I now have a new $2,500 mac and a new $200+ application that I wish I had not purchased.

        Tom

  17. Ed Galaid says:

    I think it’s just arrogance that MS would release MacOffice without a functional synch for Outlook and iphone. Previously, I hated spending the $ to run Parallels and W7 so I could use Outlook but I’m going to go back to that til MS can get its act together. It is huge PITA to boot up but at least it worked.

  18. Keith Marks says:

    Nadyne:

    I wish I had read all of this before I purchased Office 2011. I was so excited to have Outlook again, I just jumped right in with both feet. Entourage had problems with sync services, but at least it did sync with iCal and Mobile Me. I don’t have Exchange Server and really need to sync my iPhone and computer calendar with Mobile Me. There should have been a big warning on the Office box saying that it doesn’t sync with Mobile Me. I was so disappointed today after installing and importing everything to not be able to use a feature that seems to be a necessity, not an option. You need to come out with this fix now, not at some point in the future. Either that or offer to give people their money back. I am a Microsoft shareholder and always used Microsoft products, but this release when not ready was a real mistake.

  19. John says:

    Nadyne, I was so looking forward to Office For Mac 2011. Even spent the uplift for the business version for the Outlook component. If Microsoft was upfront with the markets saying that sync with MobileMe or iCal is not supported upon release, then I would not have bought it. This is another example of why I moved away from a Microsoft environment to a Mac environment in 2006. It’s no wonder Microsoft’s competitors are gaining share. I could go on, but what good would it do. Thank you for your dialogue here. Please do all that is possible to expedite an version release with calendar sync capability with MobileMe/iCal.
    Signed,
    Disgusted Microsoft Customer.

  20. Scott says:

    Nadyne,

    I think I can speak for most of the frustrated readers and posters on your blog when I say that “We will add calendar sync in a future update. I don’t have a date to share yet for that. The team is working hard on it, and I’ll post when it’s ready.” just doesn’t seem to be an acceptable response.

    To borrow a line from Seth and Amy on SNL, “Really Microsoft? You can’t get any more specific that that? Really…?”

    As a software developer, I understand that dates and commitments can cause problems when they’re missed but there are ways to manage users’ expectations. Clearly, somewhere in your project plan or SDLC, you have some estimates of what it is going to take to get this done. Look at schedule, the post something that says you hope to have it available in X weeks or X months even if X is twice as far out as your project plan suggests it should take. Then users would be pleasantly surprised when you beat your target date.

    Regardless, rather than a specific date, I think folks mostly want you to manage their expectations. If it’s going to take a few weeks to sort this out, people may be patient, if it’s going to take a few months, folks might rightfully choose to revert.

    Another option might be to offer a public beta for this functionality. I bet the vast majority of users would risk duplications in calendar and the manual effort to remove them rather than not be able to use Outlook Calendar at all.

    I imagine that communicating time frames isn’t your choice, but as the public face of Outlook for Mac via this blog, we’re counting on you to share the user outrage with the tool sheds at MS who won’t let you tell your customers when their nice new software will actually be usable.

    • nadyne says:

      You are correct that it’s not my decision when this gets communicated. I have been communicating this desire to those who do make this decision. You should also make sure that you submit product feedback about the same thing. As I’m sure you can imagine, numbers are extremely important to those who make the decisions, and submitting product feedback (because yes, we do read that — in fact, someone on my team just pulled all of the Outlook data from that product feedback on Friday to analyse what areas we were getting comments for (and, comments here to the contrary, calendar sync isn’t even in the top ten)) is one of the ways that we get our numbers. Blog comments do play into it, but that product feedback is one of the ways to really get someone to sit up and take notice.

      • Kent says:

        Nadyne:

        I understand you wanted to meet Christmas deadlines and requirements from many of your large clients when you released Office for Mac 2011. I would have done the same thing if I were in your shoes.

        That said, when you do issue an update so I can sync my iPhone, may I suggest to design it such that when I send a meeting notice from one calendar it appears in that calendar and is sent from the specific email address that corresponds to the calendar; business meetings appear on my business calendar and are sent through my business imap email address verses family meetings appear on my family calendar and are sent through my family imap email address and so on for each of my imap email addresses and calendars.

        Thank you.
        Kent

  21. Jude says:

    I can’t believe this calendar doesn’t Sync. No, I shouldn’t have to research every little detail (when there are 1,000′s) about a product before I buy it. Entourage sync’d, even if it was messy. I’ve had my MAC for month now after 20 years of Windows/DOS. Man, I am so glad I switched and this lack of a critical feature just supports why I did it. Give my regards to Bill.

    • TommyS says:

      Well put Jude.

      Edited the rest for obscenity. Constructive comments are welcome, and I certainly understand the frustration, but I will draw a line when a commenter crosses the line from constructive to rude.

  22. mary says:

    Poor Nadyne — you are in an impossible position.

    Another search recommends a workaround by going to Plaxo to sync calendars in the cloud. My only concern is privacy (plus $5/mo)…. but would be willing to take a chance if the Outlook sync is in the works.

    Will go to the feedback page now and let MS know…..

  23. Peter Golbitz says:

    Nadyne,

    I appreciate your responding to the barrage here, but your inference that the syncing issue, by virtue of the number of complaints relative to other issues with this release, is trivial, is not a good thing to hear for those of us who feel duped by purchasing this “not ready for primetime” release. Perhaps one of the issues is that those of us using Macs have learned to expect higher standards of hardware and software compatibility and integration – one of the reasons we don’t use Windows – and that this rather simple but essential feature being left out then becomes a big issue for us.

    For me, the biggest issue is that MS did not, in a responsible manner, alert buyers of this omission in a straightforward manner. I do feel as if I were sold an incomplete package without disclosure and also that MS engineers just don’t fully understand the Mac user and their expectations. It is higher than that of a Windows user and yes, we do expect much more from MS given their huge resources and ultimate control and influence on the day to day work environment.

    I hope to see a fix soon AND a refund/credit offer to those of us who purchased a “car without a wheel” as another writer has put it.

    Thanks for listening.

    • nadyne says:

      I appreciate your response as well, but your inference that my team in the Macintosh Business Unit does not “fully understand the Mac user” is not a good thing to hear either. Personally, I haven’t used Windows for anything beyond submitting expense reports in many years. I don’t have a Windows computer at home. I do have one in my office, which lives headless under my desk and exists almost solely for those aforementioned expense reports. I think it’s fair to say that I’m pretty representative of my team. We’re here because we’re committed Mac users who want to make great Mac software.

      • Peter Golbitz says:

        Nadyne,

        Okay, enough said on who has higher Mac credentials – and obviously MS wants to continue to create relevant software for the Mac.

        However, MS did not do a good job at explaining to customers at release what what still lacking in the sync function and this is where I think the real issue is. Unfulfilled expectation.

        On the other approach to syncing by using Exchange… why isn’t this product compatible with Exchange 2003 while Entourage was (as well as my iPhone)? In the company I work for, there are presently 3 Macs out of hundreds of PCs and we are trying hard to advocate for expansion. However, IT isn’t planning to upgrade to Exchange 2007 or 2010 anytime soon and they certainly won’t do it for the Mac users! Why isn’t this version compatible with Exchange 2003 and is there any work around that you are aware of?

        Thank you for listening and let’s hope the fixes are soon.

        • nadyne says:

          While you’re correct that Entourage 2008 did communicate with Exchange 2003, Entourage for Web Services (a free update to Entourage 2008) did not communicate with Exchange 2003. When we announced Outlook:Mac, we stated that it would not communicate with Exchange 2003 either, and we’ve been saying that for well over a year now.

          Outlook 2011 doesn’t support Exchange 2003 for several reasons. In this case, the decision was largely a technical one. Exchange 2007 introduced Exchange Web Services, a new API for communicating with Exchange. It’s much much faster than WebDAV, and allows us to support many more Exchange features to boot. It’s part of why we added the interim release of Entourage for Web Services, since it allowed us to support some long-missed Exchange features (such as category sync, tasks sync, and notes sync). Exchange Web Services is the future for Exchange.

          You can ask your Exchange admin if they would consider enabling IMAP support for Exchange 2003, which would allow you to access your mail in Outlook.

          • Peter Golbitz says:

            Nadyne,

            Thanks for explanation on the Exchange issue. I was actually able to get the email using IMAP as you suggest, however, I couldn’t access the shared calendars or global address list, as I can on my iPhone. The problems were really all focused on the shared calendars via Exchange and then the syncing of calendars with my iPhone, which is critical due to my rigorous travel schedule.

            A new problem I have now is that now that I have gone back to Apple Mail, when I get an Outlook calendar invite in Mail and I click on it, instead of it going to my iCal calendar, it actually launches Outlook and puts it in that calendar instead, even though I have quit the program and taken it offline. Any suggestion on how to get it to stop doing that? I can drag copy the invite over from Mail to iCal, and that works, but it is no longer just a click on feature as it was before.

            Thanks for your input.

          • nadyne says:

            If you’re an Exchange user, why would you want to sync your iPhone with Outlook (or Entourage, or any other client)? You should just connect your iPhone directly to Exchange, which then means that you’ve always got the latest-and-greatest available immediately.

            Save one of those invitations to your desktop. Then command-click on it, click on the disclosure triangle next to “open with”, select iCal from the list, and then click on “change all”.

      • yli says:

        nadye wrote, “…your inference that my team in the Macintosh Business Unit does not “fully understand the Mac user” is not a good thing to hear either. Personally… I think it’s fair to say that I’m pretty representative of my team.”

        Nadye,
        While I can appreciate the MBU wanting to be sure a “feature” works before release, but as others stated, not committing to a date is maddening to users who rely on it from the previous versions. It is the unknown that incites fear and distrust. Perhaps you could tell us how you keep up with meeting deadlines and meetings or appointments without the ability to sync calendar using Outlook 2011. That in itself leads to the possibility that the feature is not being worked on because the task/issure is not on anyone’s calendar.
        Thanks for your efforts.
        ~MS for Mac user since Word 3.0 for Mac

        • nadyne says:

          I certainly understand that it’s frustrating to not know when it’s coming. Suffice it to say that if I could commit on a date, I would. We’re still closely working with Apple to resolve the remaining issues.

          I do find the idea amusing that the Outlook development team should solely rely on Outlook appointments to determine what they’re working on. As with any other development team with millions of lines of code, we use much more robust in-house tools to manage our development calendar. Calendar sync has not been forgotten, nor has it simply failed to get a reminder synced to the right mobile device.

        • Peter Golbitz says:

          Nadyne,
          Thanks for the tip on getting the calendar invites to stop accessing Outlook on opening.

          On the idea of just us connecting my iPhone to the Exchange server for the calendar, that’s fine… however, my laptop calendar cannot connect. That’s the one into which I enter my appointments most of the time and into which email invites go into. My iPhone calendar is used to check and enter events when not at my desk. I wish it were just as easy as you suggest. But life is a bit more complicated. For now, Apple Mail and iCal are perfect and work beautifully together. For now, I will just use the internet-based Webmail interface to send calendar invites to other Outlook calendars. For now, I will be grateful that at least people are listening, for now I will accept the world is not perfect and for now, I thank you.

  24. Ray Wilson says:

    Thanks for somewhat of an answer Nadyne,
    It won’t be before the first of the year at minimum if you read between the lines here. This is a real PITA for me. I had Entourage more or less working, but lately started having all sorts of issues with duplicate contacts between my Entourage, the Address Book, Google Contacts, and my Blackberry. So I saw Outlook in the new Office and thought that would do it … I should have waited, read a few blogs, forums first. Please make syncing with other than exchange a reality. Google would be nice, but I can get there with my iCal so I would be happy with either. I really like what I see so far in the rest of Office and in Outlook for that matter, but a calendar that doesn’t sync … today?

  25. Jens says:

    Dear Nadyne,
    You seem to overlook that many Mac users sync our Macs and iPhones through MobileMe, and not through an Ecahnge server or through a ‘manual’ iPhone sync.

    For such users the advances in mobility and exchange like functionality of MobileMe syncing are all stumped by the shortcomings of Mac for Office 2011.

    Like many others I had already purchased the product before I found out that it doesn’t even do what my Entourage 2008 does, but luckily I have not opened the pack or installed the software, so I will be returning it for a refund, and may consider purchasing again when you have a complete product available.

  26. Luis says:

    We’ll I’ll hold off buying it until they update it with the sync services. I had to abandon Entourage because of the terrible syncing with mobileme.

  27. Peter says:

    It’s very astonishing for me that MS is designing and producing a product “Outlook” and delivers it without the main synchronizing functions for calendar, tasks an mails with the central Mac application ical, mail and mobileme, google etc. and is in a good hope to sell that product it. Maybe it works on the big continent, in Europe it won’t work, definitely not . So we stop all our activities to upgrade to 2011 in our consulting company and will look after alternatives.
    I believe there were done only one or two heavy mistake in the last 6.000 years of human history , the first was picking an apple from an forbidden tree an the second is delivering outlook without syncing routines. Congratulations!

  28. Paul_at_tahoe says:

    a few comments on Junk email. Thanks for posting the info on syncing.
    1) if you mark a massage as ‘not junk’ and you receive an email from that same sender it goes back into junk.
    2) If you add a domain into safe senders it has no bearing, emails still go into junk that come from that domain
    3) If you turn junk email off by selecting none many emails still go into junk
    Poor usability
    a) Please allow to mark emails as not junk from the list with multiple select, please do not force the email to be opened first
    b) Please allow safe domains to be added with a click
    c) Please allow a send/receive button to be added to the top toolbar

  29. Tom Benson says:

    Nadyne,

    My received meeting requests have a bunch of garbled code in the message body. I get this from users of Office for Windows 2003, 2007, and 2010. Per your comment above, I even asked the user of Office 2007, and he has installed SP2. I discussed this issue with MS Technical Support, but they had no answers. Should the message look like this?

    Thanks in advance,
    Tom

    BEGIN:VCALENDAR
    PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 12.0 MIMEDIR//EN
    VERSION:2.0
    METHOD:REQUEST
    X-MS-OLK-FORCEINSPECTOROPEN:TRUE
    BEGIN:VEVENT
    ATTENDEE;CN=\Tom Benson\;RSVP=TRUE:mailto:tbenson@amstatcorp.com
    CLASS:PUBLIC
    CREATED:20101104T214125Z
    DESCRIPTION:When: Friday, November 05, 2010 10:00 AM-10:30 AM (GMT-05:00)
    Eastern Time (US & Canada).
    Where: Conference Room

    Note: The GMT offs
    et above does not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.

    *~*~*~*~*~*
    ~*~*~*~*

    DTEND:20101105T143000Z
    DTSTAMP:20101104T214125Z
    DTSTART:20101105T140000Z
    LAST-MODIFIED:20101104T214125Z
    LOCATION:Conference Room
    ORGANIZER;CN=\Andrew Young\:mailto:andrew@amstatcorp.com
    PRIORITY:5
    SEQUENCE:0
    SUMMARY;LANGUAGE=en-us:Meeting Email Test
    TRANSP:OPAQUE
    UID:040000008200E00074C5B7101A82E0080000000090544C75477CCB01000000000000000
    0100000001DF64BC102C3364C9A4ED2B18A585E2A
    X-ALT-DESC;FMTTYPE=text/html:

    When: Friday, November 05, 2010 10:00 AM-10:30 AM (GMT-05:00) Easter
    n Time (US & Canada).

    Where: Conference Room

    Note: The GMT offset above d
    oes not reflect daylight saving time adjustments.

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    X-MICROSOFT-CDO-BUSYSTATUS:TENTATIVE
    X-MICROSOFT-CDO-IMPORTANCE:1
    X-MICROSOFT-CDO-INTENDEDSTATUS:BUSY
    X-MICROSOFT-DISALLOW-COUNTER:FALSE
    X-MS-OLK-ALLOWEXTERNCHECK:TRUE
    X-MS-OLK-AUTOSTARTCHECK:FALSE
    X-MS-OLK-CONFTYPE:0
    X-MS-OLK-SENDER;CN=\Andrew Young\:mailto:andrew@amstatcorp.com
    BEGIN:VALARM
    TRIGGER:-PT15M
    ACTION:DISPLAY
    DESCRIPTION:Reminder
    END:VALARM
    END:VEVENT
    END:VCALENDAR

  30. Was really looking forward Office 2011 for the Mac and now after reading all the issues with syncing with MobileMe, I will be holding off my purchase.

    I do use and Exchange 2007, but have always preferred to us my Mobile Me account to sync. It is awful shame that this was omitted and even worse that we have to wait till we purchase the product to find out.

    Nadyne is a superstar for taking all the shots from us and I do hope she prints these blog comments and send them to whomever reads “product feedback”

    Been an Apple user since 77/78 and Apple is as bad as MS in telling us to send our comments to “feedback” with no acknowledgement that there is an issue/omission or when it will be fixed/updated.

  31. Tim Wright says:

    I just want to echo what Fred D. says. I, a simple single user, will be holding off on my purchase until the update rolls out. So what? If MS had delayed delivery of the entire product by six months, I’d still survive—my Office for Mac: 2008 is still working as well as it ever did (although, even as “light” as my use was, the sync problems with Entourage pretty much drove me away from its calendar and address book—and I was waiting for 2011 to find out whether I should just give up and switch to all Apple apps for those functions).

    I also think Nadyne is an ace for taking flak for being the person caught delivering the bad news. And, as someone who has spent many a year in corporate communications, I’ll just say I wouldn’t want to work for many of you who have posted here. If this is the way you communicate in email, your probably have “communication problems.” Sheesh.

    But I’m also really amused to observe that there’s a lot of naive people out there: It’s just silly to think, even in today’s world, that you can get version 1.0 of anything and expect it to be perfect. No one in their right mind should make their purchasing plans based on an assumption like that.

    So patience. From the rave reviews on other parts of the suite, it looks like this is going to be a really good product. I don’t mind waiting a couple more months until its 100 percent. But, then, I was planning to anyway.

  32. Mark Patten says:

    Oulook 2011 appears to download appointments from my office server but those created in Outlook 2011 don’t appear to be “uploaded” to the server. i.e. the sync seems to be one way only. This works fine with iPhone, iPad etc. Any thoughts?

  33. simon says:

    Why is Office 2011 not available for a 30 day trial? I am interested in purchasing the program, but I would also like to try before I buy. I did that with Office 2008. So why not 2011?

  34. Keith Marks says:

    Nadyne:

    I am having a problem with meeting invites in the new Outlook. I have sent out several invites and the time for the meetings have been messing up for different time zones. On my calendar the time is correct, but people in other time zones are getting weird times for the meetings. The time should adjust for other time zones, but the adjustments are off considerably. Can you look into this problem?

  35. david pretty says:

    Well , i just cant believe i have been relieved of over £170 just to arrive home , extremely excited (yes excited) that as a relatively new mac user i could now use the very best (in my opinion) email and calendar program being Microsoft Outlook which I have missed tremendously since moving to an `Imac . `I have struggled on with Entourage for just over a year now and i was quite elated when i saw the advert for the new office 2011 for Mac with Outlook included and I as many others jumped off the cliff head first and dashed out to buy it . I am totally dumbstruck , distraught and just wide eyed with disbelief when i installed the product with great anticipation , went into syncing preferences and saw that it would only sync contacts !!!! what use is that to any mac user I ask Microsoft ? I and many other Mac uses DEPEND on the Mobile me product for syncing and Microsoft are well aware of that , all of our Mac products and outlook without fully functional syncing is as much use as a chocolate teapot . Microsoft should certainly have made this far more apparent as I have now just wasted a lot of money that I cant afford to loose . In my opinion this product should not have been released without fully functioning syncing as this is by far the main reason any Mac user will purchase the product . I personally feel duped and conned as not only is there no syncing , Microsoft wont commit to a date for this being resolved . I think it is an absolute disgrace that this was not made perfectly apparent in all advertising . It certainly would not be so bad if Microsoft would give at least a commitment to announcing a date for this not important but absolutely critical component . Every single person who purchases this will most probably be as fuming as I am over this and why no 60 day trial first ?? well that’s perfectly obvious isn’t it as Microsoft would be fully aware that this is the most critical part of the new office suite and the sales would be non existent if a lot of the people who have already bought this product had known . I apologise for the rant but i feel like I have been sold a car with no engine , yes I really feel that bad . Come on Microsoft , do the right thing and get this issue resolved very quickly or at least offer some hope with an update release date !!! hey , how about a full refund as this product is certainly not fit for purpose is it ?

  36. Jennifer Young says:

    Nadyne,

    I have to say, after reading your blog posts for the past month, I give you a tremendous amount of credit! You have handled the barrage of repetitive and obnoxious posts from people who are mis-directing their anger with considerable grace! Seeing what you have been putting up with reminds me of times that I’ve seen airline passengers yelling at gate agents over flight delays!

    Microsoft lost a very professional, skilled employee when they lost you!!

  37. leo says:

    No need to add anythjing else about the sync issues but I urgently need a recomendation to eliminate duplicates (in contacts and calendar). For some reason that I still need to understand I now have duplicated my 1500 contacts.
    I will appreciate your help with this urgent matter.
    Rgds
    lt

  38. Peter Osvath says:

    Hi Nadine
    I admire your fortitude and honesty. I don’t admire the fact that the omission of calendar synching isn’t up front in big letters. OK I accept you want to sell products, but the chorus of protest here is merely the tip of the iceberg. Look at the number of Mac users who have an iPhone/iPad, to get a hint about how many people this has let down. I have put 2011 back in the box and reinstalled 2008, so I can keep my life running – and let me tell you I prefer a few duplicate calendar entries to not having any syncing at all!
    To me this should be MS highest priority now. I probably won’t bother to get a refund (too much like hard work), but remember “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. And the first impression of 2011 is completely dominated by this. I just wish I hadn’t been the first of my friends to go it and by it – I know none of them will buy it till there is syncing, so I am the guinea pig here.
    CUSTOMER LOYALTY: Of course the longer term problem for MS is that (sadly) I feel no loyalty to MS, because of experiences like this (don’t get me started on the ‘bricked’ Medion Akoya laptop experience I had with W7…), and in contrast I have a strong loyalty to Mac and Google and am watching the evolution of the latter with great interest. Luckily, to date Word and Excel rule the roost, but I suspect I speak for a horde who will desert MS in the none too distant future.
    Thus endeth the rant, and let me say, MS doesn’t deserve you!

  39. Man. What a bummer. Just installed Outlook 2011 on my Mac Book Pro today and realized I could not sync with iCal. This worked with Entourage? Looks like we will all have to wait until 2011?

    Jeffrey Austin White

  40. I’m a Mac user and switched from Microsoft Office 2008 to Daylite a couple of years ago. After 2 years with Daylite, I decided to return to Entourage for the simplicity. Then, to my delight, I purchased Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac thinking this would be state of the art. Well, after migrating ALL of my calendar events to Office 2011, I discovered that the primary benefit I enjoyed with Daylite that I disparately needed (to be able to sync w/ iPhone and iCal) wasn’t available. Instead I ended up with one royal mess, even in restoring my files to the early Office 2008. Now I’ve the problem of not being able to control the font size on my outgoing mail. I’ve thrown my hands in the air and decided that I wasted $300+ on a product that falls so far short of my needs I have to conclude that Microsoft is basically flipping Mac users off. Goodbye Microsoft office!!!

  41. Michael says:

    Thanks Nadine for taking it upon yourself to put a blog on your own website to help with customer communication on behalf of Microsoft.

    Good luck with your future with VMWare – I hope it all goes well, and I am sure it will for someone with such initiative.

    p.s. please feel free to give all dirt on the Office:mac failings now you have left Microsoft :)

  42. Andy in AZ says:

    Thank you Nadyne for all your honesty. You’ve handled all the complaints like a champ. I am disappointed with the premature Outlook release as well, but was surprised to see how well you’ve handled all the criticism, often overly personal.

    In the interim, for anyone else reading, I’ve been creating meeting invitations in Outlook and including myself in the invitation. I then open and accept the invite from Mac Mail, which then puts it on iCal. I also take care to only accept invitation from outside sources through Mac Mail as well. Not perfect, but it keeps all my events in one place.

    I hope and expect this to be fixed in the (not so) near future.

    Good luck with your new position Nadyne!

  43. Tony says:

    Outlook was the only reason for buying Office 2011, the other programs get used less than 5% of the time. You cannot beat it when it works.

    I have just found out that we will have to wait, maybe until June of this year to get an update to allow calendar sync. even then, you may have to purchase 3rd party software to ensure it works with you mobile phone, if its not an iPhone.

    Lets face, probably the most important piece of software in the package, probably the main reason why people upgraded/bought 2011 in the first place – and yet again they could not get the basics right – I am so happy that the rest of my software is purely Mac based

  44. Dave Doucette says:

    When is the update going to be available? It’s been 4 months since the GA release?

    • nadyne says:

      As I’ve said multiple times in the comments to this post, I’m no longer at Microsoft, so I can’t answer such a question. You should direct your questions to the Outlook forums on the Office:Mac website, or @officeformac on Twitter.

  45. John Frehse says:

    Nadyne:

    I need the calendar sync. What can I do in the meantime? This is crippling for me and my business. HELP!!!

    Any thoughts on timeframe? weeks, months, years?

    • nadyne says:

      If it’s so important to your business, you might imagine that it’s important to someone else, and that someone else might have asked the same question elsewhere. In fact, you might imagine that they might have asked it in this very thread, and thus check out the other comments to see if your question has already been answered. While checking out the other comments, you might notice that I have said multiple times that I’m no longer at Microsoft and thus don’t know what the timeframe might be.

  46. Tom Farr says:

    Hi Nadyne,
    In the hope that you’re still helping users with Outlook questions, here’s mine:
    the ‘new’ My Day window is formatted in a much less useful way- it only shows a couple of hours with lots of space for appointments, of which I have few. The ‘old’ My Day in Entourage 2008 was more concise, showing only appointments, not empty space, but I can find no way to customize the new My Day window. In addition, I’ve always wanted to get rid of the Tasks part of that window as I don’t use that feature.
    Thanks for any suggestions,
    Tom Farr

  47. Julia says:

    Ditto: I wish I’d read all this before I purchased Office 2011 and invested a lot of time and effort. The calendar sync omission would have been a deal killer. To add insult to injury, I’m not able to export my Calendar from Outlook Mac to anything else. Nadyne, any and all help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I’ve just switched from PC to Mac, and so far there have been lots more downs than ups.

  48. Julia says:

    Here’s a temporary work-around, if you don’t have a lot of appointments: In Outlook Mac 2011, click on the Organize tab, then change the view to list; click then drag each appointment in the list to the desktop; then drag each from the desktop to iCal. Then you can sync iCal to your iPhone 4. Seems to work for me, just tried it with a couple days’ worth of appointments.

  49. Mike says:

    I just came across this thread. I found it incomprehensible that Microsoft released Outlook for Mac without the calendar syncing to Exchange. The single most important thing I need from Outlook is the calendar sync- I am sure many others feel this way.

    Despite all this, I have gotten by with syncing my exchange server with Google Calendar, and Google Calendar with iCal. My Droid 2 syncs fine with Exchange, so whether I am with cell, or with my MacBook Air, I now have access to my calendar. It’s not perfect, but will suffice until Microsoft fixes this problem.

    Kudos to Nadyne, the departed Microsoft employee, who took so many bullets from frustrated users!

    • nadyne says:

      Just for the sake of clarity, I’m not sure if this was a typo on your part or a misconception, but …

      Outlook:Mac does support Exchange calendar sync for Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010. When it shipped, Outlook:Mac did not support syncing via the native OS X Sync Services. I used Exchange 2010 when I was at Microsoft, and I’m currently using Exchange 2007 at VMware, and both of them work perfectly fine with all of my Macs.

  50. Mike says:

    Nadine, it was correct. My company is still on Exchange 2003. They are upgrading this year, but for now the Outlook Calendar on Mac is blank.

    • nadyne says:

      Apparently I didn’t succeed in my goal of clarity. :)

      Outlook:Mac supports calendar sync (and sync of everything else) for Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010. Outlook:Mac does not support Exchange 2003. If you’re on Exchange 2003, your Exchange admin might make IMAP available to you so that you can access your mail. IMAP is a protocol that only covers mail and is used by many different providers, so it’s not exactly Exchange support. When your Exchange server is updated to Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010, you’ll see everything in Outlook: mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. When your Exchange server is updated, you’ll probably need to add your account again to the settings, this time as an Exchange account. Other than that, you won’t need to do anything in Outlook.

      In other words, Outlook does support calendar syncing with supported versions of Exchange: Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010. Exchange 2003 is not a supported version.

      For those who sync their mobile device with their Mac through the built-in Sync Services, calendar sync is not available at this time. (At least, I just checked for updates in my personal copy of Outlook, and there’s nothing new there.) This requires an update from Microsoft. Since I’m no longer at the company, I don’t know what the current plans are. For those affected by this, their contacts are synced from Outlook to their mobile device, but their calendar events are not. For this issue to be resolved, Microsoft will have to release an update to Outlook that addresses it. Since I’m no longer at the company, I obviously don’t know when this might happen.