As promised yesterday, here are the slides that Bill Smith and I presented at Exchange Connections. Both of the presentations were quite heavy on demo, so the decks only capture a small portion of what we talked about.
Today, I presented two sessions with Bill Smith at Exchange Connections: Administering Macs in Exchange and Outlook:Mac 101. Once I get back to a better network connection, I’ll post my slides here. For those of you who attended the conference, the slides will get posted to the conference site as well.
I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the sessions, since this is my first time here. We ended up with about 50 people in both sessions, with about half of those attending both. So I was really pleased with it. I’ll be waiting to see the conference evaluations to see if I’m the only one who was pleased.
Amongst everything else that’s going on in the past few weeks, I realise that I’ve completely forgotten to mention that I’m speaking at the Exchange Connections conference! I roped Bill Smith, one of the Outlook:Mac MVPs, into giving two talks with me: Administering Macs in an Exchange Environment, and Outlook:Mac 101. Both talks are on Thursday morning.
Sadly, this is a super-busy week for me, so I’m not going to be able to spend as much time at the conference as I had originally planned. If you’re there, say hi! Feel free to email me, or just catch me on twitter for my current whereabouts.
Via mail, I got this question:
Are multiple exchange accounts possible in Outlook 2011?
Yes! If you’re using Exchange 2007 or 2010, you can have multiple Exchange accounts. I’ve currently got five Exchange accounts set up in my Outlook (my own account, and four that I use for usability testing purposes).
Via mail, I got this question:
I have Entourage EWS running now off Exchange Server 2010 and will be upgrading to Outlook. Do you recommend:
a) doing a fresh download of all mail and other data from the server when setting up Outlook, or
b) importing the data from Entourage into Outlook locally?
With a fresh download, you’re starting off with a clean slate. This is important for someone like me who’s been using Entourage since 2004, since gunk can build up in your database. But, with an import, you get the goodness of keeping all of your local data. Since I have been using Entourage for years, and at one point I had a teensy Exchange account size limit, I’ve got lots upon lots of local data.
With every release, I’ve gotten into the habit of starting off with a clean slate. For this release, that means that I first saved out all of my local mail (that’s the only local data that I have: all of my contacts, calendar, and so on live in Exchange). I let Outlook start off with a clean slate, download my mail from Exchange and from my IMAP accounts, and then imported the local data.
To do this, in Entourage for Web Services, I saved all my local mail folders by dragging them out of Entourage and onto my desktop. That creates .mbox files, which can then be imported into Outlook (as well as any other mail client which supports .mbox files, which is most of them). I don’t have any other local data other than mail, but I’d do the same if I did have local contacts, calendar, notes, or tasks.
Then, after Outlook had downloaded all of my Exchange and IMAP data, I made sure that it would show my local data. Go into the Preferences, then select General, and make sure that the box next to “Hide On My Computer folders” is not checked. Then, I dragged those .mbox files into Outlook.
In my opinion, that’s the best of both worlds: I start fresh and still get to keep my reams and reams of local data.
On Friday, Macworld published John Welch‘s review of Outlook:Mac 2011. It’s a big review, but then there’s quite a lot to say about an all-new application, and John’s never been anything short of verbose anyway. John’s a hard guy to please, so I feel like our four mice in his review would’ve been at least 4.5 mice in anyone else’s review! His final advice is that “[i]f you need an Exchange client on the Mac, Outlook 2011 is the king … or just want something more than Mail, iCal, and Address Book give you, Outlook is a no-brainer”
Since it’s such a big review, there’s discussion of some of the subtle work that we’ve done to improve your experience when you’re using Outlook. For example, he noticed one of my favourite features in the calendar. If you select a specific category in the list on the left side, the events that are in the other categories fade out a little bit. It’s subtle, but it’s a great visual indicator to help you focus on the category that you’ve selected.
John also talks about our Ribbon. Here’s part of what he has to say:
The Ribbon is a bit of a controversy. It’s a user interface element in all of the Office programs that sits at the top of the document window and provides quick access to the most commonly used tools. At first, because of my experience with Entourage, I hated it. I like to have a minimal UI. After using it for a while, I’ve changed my opinion. The Ribbon is a bit garish, but it does keep the options I use frequently right where I need them. It doesn’t get in the way and it takes up a minimal amount of space.
If I had any complaints about the review, I have to admit that I find it perplexing that Outlook’s use of Exchange Web Services (and thus the requirement that it requires Exchange 2007 or later) gets three separate lines in the “cons” section at the top of the review.
Can Outlook 2011 manage server side rules on an Exchange server?
We didn’t get that into the initial release. We’re well aware that it’s something our users would like, so hopefully I’ll be able to share more news about it in the future.
In the interim, Mac users who are in an Exchange 2010 environment are able to create and edit server-side rules via Outlook Web Access (OWA). OWA 2010 has full support for Safari and Firefox. This is how I manage my extensive set of server-side rules today.