Category Archives: Entourage

Macworld: Make a smooth switch to Outlook

Joe Kissell wrote an article about how to make a smooth switch to Outlook from Entourage for Macworld.  He also published a guide to Outlook keyboard shortcuts.  They’re both pretty useful articles, although I have to admit that I’ve been using Outlook for so long that my muscle memory has been reprogrammed for changed keyboard shortcuts for ages.

I am surprised that he calls Outlook’s Scheduling Assistant a new feature.  While the Entourage one wasn’t as easy on the eyes, nor as easy to use, as the Outlook one, it did exist.  My colleague Amir wrote a blog post titled How does Entourage work? that includes a screenshot of the free/busy information that’s provided by the scheduling assistant in Entourage.

Joe’s list of Entourage features that you might miss includes NNTP support.  Even though I’m an old-skool Usenet user myself, I can’t say that I preferred having it in Entourage to using a separate client.  That said, my preferred Usenet newsreader is still tin, so I think it’s fair to say that my usage isn’t representative.  Not that I’m sure that there’s really any representative Usenet usage left out there.

identities in Outlook:Mac and Entourage

In the comments thread for Q&A: where can I buy Office:Mac 2011?, a commenter named Mark discussed the differences between identities in Entourage and Outlook, and said that the changes would mean that he won’t upgrade to Outlook.  Here’s part of his comment:

I, as well as others I know, share a computer with a partner. The main reason we use Entourage instead of Mail, was the ability to easily switch identities, so that each of us can separately check and view the various personal and business accounts we have.

In Entourage, the identity is where all of your data is stored: accounts, preferences, your data, everything.  The identity is an implementation detail that most applications wouldn’t expose, since most people have little reason to care about how this kind of thing is stored.  However, back when Entourage was first introduced, there was another purpose for exposing the concept of the identity: multiple people who share the same computer.

Longtime Apple users will know that the ability to quickly switch between accounts wasn’t originally part of OS X.  So in the case of email, if multiple people wanted to share a computer but keep their mail separate, it was pretty difficult.  Entourage’s identities allowed for this to happen.

But the introduction of fast user switching in Panther changed things.  Instead of having a single user account, it’s very easy now to have multiple user accounts for different purposes.  Each of those different user accounts can then run Entourage or Outlook to get their mail.  Switching between users is quick and easy.

As we worked on Outlook, we made the decision to continue to support multiple identities, but not to make it quite so obvious.  We don’t need to expose this implementation detail to the world.

Personally, I also have a shared Mac at home, for me and my husband.  For our shared Mac, we have a shared account (named Tipsy) which has all of our shared stuff on it: Netflix, Quicken for our joint finances, iTunes (and then we have playlists for syncing with our individual iPhones and iPods), iPhoto, etc.  Then we each have our own personal accounts for storing our own information.  For us, this is more about ease of access than privacy; he has his own organisational scheme and I have mine, and so we don’t force each other to figure out the other’s scheme.  If I need to access my stuff on our shared computer, I just quickly switch into my user account to get it, and then I usually return it to our shared account when I’m done.  We use different desktop backgrounds for the individual accounts so its easy to see which account is currently the one that has focus.

For my work computer, I also maintain different user accounts.  I have my primary user account, which is where I spend most of my time.  I’ve also got a demo user account, which I have populated with a bunch of demo documents and a couple of test Exchange accounts.  I often use my demo account when I’m giving presentations too, so that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ve logged out of Communicator.  If I’ve got Outlook running in both of my user accounts, it feels faster to switch between my user accounts rather than the old Entourage model of switching identities.

Q&A: should I import my Entourage identity to Outlook:Mac?

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.

Office:Mac 2008 (12.2.7) and Office:Mac 2004 (11.6.1) updates available now

Update Tuesday is here, and brings Office:Mac updates.

The latest version of Office 2008 is 12.2.7.  This update has security and stability improvements across the suite.  For Entourage users, there are improvements to Exchange support.  If you’re using Entourage for Web Services, the 12.2.7 update will update it to 13.0.7.  Full details about this update are available in the update’s Knowledge Base article.

The latest version of Office 2004 is 11.6.1.  This update has security improvements across the suite.  Full details about the update are available in its Knowledge Base article.

We also updated the Open XML File Format Converter.  It’s now at 1.1.7, and the update has security improvements too.  Its Knowledge Base article has the details.

To update, you can go to the Help menu of any Office application and then select “Check for Updates”.  Alternately, you can download directly from Mactopia.