a love letter to Entourage


Aside from working on Entourage, I use it. No, that’s not right: I don’t use Entourage, I live in it. (I feel like those old infomercials — I’m not only the president, I’m also a client!) I’ve had a couple of people ask me lately how I keep on top of everything that I’m doing. I’m not the sort of person whose monitor is covered with sticky notes, and I don’t keep everything in my head. (Some might argue that I don’t keep anything in there … ) Entourage contains my entire life.

First and foremost, I am a big user of categories. My categories are all colour-coded. This is essential to me. Everyone in my address book is associated with a category. When I get email from people in my address book, their email is colour-coded in my inbox. (On any given day, I’d guess that less than 5% of the email that hits my main inbox is boring non-categorised black.) Here are some of my categories: MacBU, one for each of the application teams that I support, travel, services, personal. This means that I can tell, at a glance, what kind of traffic I’m getting in my inbox. Likewise, all of my calendar events have a category associated with them, so I can quickly tell what I’m spending the most time on this week. Tasks, notes, it’s all colour-coded.

One of my goals in Entourage is to have an empty inbox. One way that I accomplish this is by extensive use of the Mailing List Manager and rules. I have more than 20 sub-folders that get the bulk of my email. I want my main inbox to only contain email that is addressed directly to me, which is the email that I’m most likely to need to do something with now. Of the stuff that ends up in my main inbox, I try to deal with it immediately upon reading it. This means responding to the email, creating a task/note from the email, or filing it away. I’m not perfect about this, but I’m getting better.

I use the Project Center to help me keep on top of projects. Some of these projects are pretty short-lived. For example, I usually set up a project for each usability test that I run, which means that those projects last for roughly 6 weeks from beginning to end. Others last a couple of years or more. The main benefit of the Project Center is that it gives me a directed view of what I’m working on: I can go in there and see only the emails, calendar events, tasks, and notes associated with that project, as well as the files on my hard drive associated with it. Depending on what I’m doing, I’d guess that roughly a third of my email/tasks/calendar/notes are associated with a project at any given time. And when I’m done with that project, archiving it is easy.

The best part about all of this? It gets even better in Entourage 2008. We’ve already shown an early version of my single most favourite feature, My Day, at Macworld Expo earlier this year. There’s more, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Stay tuned.

Comments (82)

  1. Lucky Lou says:

    I live in Entourage as well. I back up my database and keep it lean by archiving and deleting frequently. But most everyone else is not so good with that part. We’re on Exchange Server 2003, which works great with Entourage except for one crucial area: database rebuilds. If you live in Entourage and categorize and use projects religiously, you had better pray you never have to rebuild your database. The main reason is Entourage does not store category or project info on Exchange Server but just locally. When Entourage’s Database Utility does a rebuild, part of the process is emptying the cache from the Exchange Server, and when that happens Entourage has to re-download all its items from the server. The bad part is each and every item will lose its category and project assignments. You have to manually re-assign or create some kind of automation to do this but neither is pleasant. To people that recently saw the light and are beginning to use categories and projects this is a major slap in the face and they simply don’t use them anymore. To those of us who already live in Entourage it’s a nightmare we don’t even want to think about.

  2. Heartily agree with everything you say about Entourage. Its mailing rules and categories keep me sane! When Entourage is selected as my default mail client, I can easily send Word documents as HTML e-mails. One of my business projects is to request our web hosting company to display PDF e-mails. Was able to create a form template in Word, and use Word’s AutoText, format painting, and text fields to create an upload order form.

    All I have to do is open a blank copy, select the advertisers, file names and FTP addresses, and send as HTML and we cut an hour-long task (using conventional e-mails) into about 5 minutes. And using Word to write an e-mail doesn’t make Entourage crash the way Word (2003)for Windows makes Outlook for Windows (2003) crash.

    If Entourage 2008 is as cool as it looks, it will make a great thing greater!

    John Livingston

  3. Eric Welch says:

    Please, please, please tell me there’s much better Exchange support!

    At least please add "Out of Office." And please make it easier to configure it for Exchange! The auto configure wizard does not work on our network at all.

  4. Ben Skelton says:

    Yikes β€” a love letter? And I thought I had low standards πŸ™‚ Please, please, please, please make Entourage a great Exchange client! My Day and Project Center are all fine and dandy, but anyone who has to use Entourage with Exchange would probably be a lot happier to hear that Entourage 2008 finally:

    :: lets me schedule meetings with others efficiently by displaying full calendar details for coworkers in a snazzy, easy-to-use way

    :: allows me to vote so I can respond to our Friday lunch requests

    :: syncs my tasks with exchange

    :: provides a much better delegation experience

    :: syncs my notes with exchange

    :: has some basic SharePoint integration

    :: allows me to turn off/on out of office. (I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you set it to on with OWA and then use Entourage when you get back you can forget that it is on)

    Happy dreams!

  5. Only 20? Psssh, N00b!

    My rules and MLM entries are almost ridiculous at this point.

    Not as bad as my sig file. But then, the AppleScripts I have to help generate those don’t help.

  6. This was a great post. I’ve been reading several Web resources about using Entourage to stay organized, and this post really offers a practical example of how to accomplish this. I like the idea of breaking down contacts into specific categories. I’ve just been using the "canned" categories, and they are a little too generic to be of much use. I like your suggestion.

  7. Someone who wants to love Entourage says:

    How about fully supporting the Exchange server and playing nice with Outlook users in a mixed environment?  Does that get better in 2008 too?  Should I hold my breath that people can expect a real Exchange client for the Mac in the near future?

  8. Alex Kac says:

    The one question everyone has – does it work better with Exchange?

    And BTW – if you love the category colors, try Pocket Informant on a Windows Mobile PDA connected via Exchange ActiveSync.

    πŸ™‚

  9. Mark McCormick says:

    Well, you may live in Entourage; but I’ve been trying for years to get it to work with my work’s Exchange server. Every tech person in my organisation has tried and failed to get it to work; whereas Apple’s Mail program just does!! Entourage is a problem child in many organisations – just have a look at all the complaints on sites such as MacWindows (http://www.macwindows.com). So, please spare me all the self-congratulations, and get the current version of this program of Microsoft’s to work easily and seamlessly with Microsoft Exchange Server, before you go touting the advantages of Entourage 2008.

  10. Adam Bezark says:

    I looked at Entourage when Office 2004 came out, and I liked it. I thought the Project Center looked like a cool idea.

    The only thing that kept me from using Entourage instead of Mail.app? Entourage doesn’t use the OS X Address Book. This meant I’d lose the "universal" aspect of a centralized contact list.

    Another concern: Entourage couldn’t sync across multiple Macs as I currently do with .mac’s Sync Services. I find it incredibly handy to keep the same address book, calendar and bookmarks on all my Macs. When my assistant schedules an appointment on her Mac, it automatically shows up on my screen.

    If Entourage 2008 plays nicer with Apple’s Sync Services and Address Book, I’ll give it another serious look.

  11. Hi,

    Please make Entourage good product like Outlook. I think you can make Entourage to work with full funcionality with Exchange (you work in Microsoft). And please include some tools to move pst files from outlook to entourage (it is shame that we must use third party utilites because your company makes both products).

    Shortly what my company needs is full compatibility with Exchange and ability to import pst files). Than I can appriciate addition like My Day but not without that.

    Sorry for bad english.

    Thanks,

    Tomislav Puzak,

    Croatian Railway

  12. SebDuggan says:

    Much as I love some of the features in Entourage, the biggest barrier to using it is the single, monolithic data file. Even with regular backups, it’s still a single point of failure; on some machines I’ve had to rebuild almost daily.

    And on the subject of backing up, it’s not great for our network to have to back up a mail database that’s several GB in size, just because a single new email has been received…

    If Entourage 2008 changed this data storage method, I’d switch in a heartbeat!

  13. Steve says:

    As a new mac user I think Entourage is a superb application apart from one huge issue I have. That issue is how to export my calendar out to a windows user.  When I used Outlook I was able to export my calendar out as an Excel file, this functionality appears to be lacking in Entourage.  Any suggestions?

  14. Lisa says:

    I can see it mentioned earlier in the comments but – all your work with categories and replied / forwarded info goes away after a Entourage DB-rebuild. Even when synced to an exchange server.

    I used to live in Entourage, and miss it, but once I lost my life in an Entourage database crash. Never, never and never again :o)

  15. Well, like so many others who have posted here, I desperately want Entourage to work better with Exchange.

    The biggest problems for me are that Entourage doesn’t support Exchange server-side rules for processing email, and doesn’t sync with Exchange tasks and notes.  This is a pretty ridiculous situation for those of us who want our Entourage data to sync across multiple computers and Exchange-compatible devices using the Exchange server!

    Furthermore, the Entourage-Palm conduit hasn’t been updated for years and so doesn’t allow for the fact that the latest breed of Palm handhelds (those which have been out for a couple of years, now) CAN handle more than one street address for any given contact.  At the moment the conduit limits the number of addresses passed to the Palm to one only, and you can only choose on a global (not contact-by-contact) setting which address is passed (be it Home, Work, or ‘Other’).

    I’m really eager to see Entourage 2008 bring more-complete (if not full) Exchange functionality, in line with Outlook 2007 (or even Outlook 2003).  Should I hold my breath?

  16. Rob Morton says:

    The single database file is the single worst design of the program. It is absolutely horrible. Out side of that it is fine, but as most have said, it needs to work with Exchange. I have no idea why I would consider using this at home over Apple Mail, but at work I can see value. Easily setting a vacation message would be a nice start. Setting up an auto archiving would also be great. Make that auto archiving break the archive into small files would be ideal. Ditch the cryptic/cludgey mail searching that you currently use, and steal from Apple’s design and you might have me as well.

    The improvements have been noticed. The live searching of directory services was a god send.

  17. Dude says:

    Better support for Exchange is the only feature that matters for almost everyone that uses Entourage. What do I mean by better support?

    FULL FEATURE PARITY WITH OUTLOOK!

  18. Corporate says:

    I wish I could use Entourage for work on our exchange server.  If it had more feature parity with Outlook 2003, I’d be able to.   Please, please, please give us truer functional parity.

  19. nadyne says:

    Adam – If you update Entourage to 11.2 or later, you’ll find that we have added support for Sync Services.  Go to Preferences -> Sync Services, then select the items that you want to sync.  We also added Spotlight support in that update, and you do that in the Preferences as well.  

  20. Vincent says:

    One BIG thing : colors from Exchange are different than in Entourage ! it’s awful ! I can’t use colors only for that reason ? Office 2008 will be the answer ?

  21. Gary says:

    As another frequent user of projects, it has become somewhat of a burden as I now have roughly 150 projects that I must scroll through to find the one I need.

    I can’t delete old projects, because I need the info, but if there was a way to hide the old projects in the project lists (similar to the way Quicken can hide inactive accounts) that would be awesome.

    It would be great if it could hide the project from the project lists, but have the option of leaving all the project elements visible in their respective places. All the calendar data would remain on the calendar, contacts would remain visible, emailing in their respective folders, it would just be the project name hidden from the project list.

    Also, how about an easy way to print out a 12 month calendar on one page.

    Thanks.

    Enjoy…………….G

  22. Brian says:

    A number of users in my office are switching to Macs, and the universal sentiment is that Entourage is a toy, maybe fine for a home user’s email, but completely inadequate for an office user. Some of the problems:

    – Poor Exchange integration (as mentioned many times above)

    – Inability to handle large amounts of email. I’ve got over 2Gig of saved email, and I easily have the smallest amount.

    – Inability to read Outlook archive files. We all archived our email in Outlook. Now the archives are unusable without using some third-party hack. Entourage should read Outlook archives directly.

    – Lots of other missing features when compared with Outlook (also mentioned above).

    – Poor Spotlight integration. Many of the converters used X-1 on their PCs, which Spotlight could replace, if Entourage made attachments available for search.

  23. Allan Crowson says:

    I have to use both Outlook/Exchange and Entourage. Since Entourage doesn’t support Outlook’s Tasks, I cannot really achieve seamless use. I live at work by Outlook’s Tasks. Entourage gives me even less functionality there than Outlook Web Access does. A major disappointment.

    I really wish Outlook were more like Entourage, but since Outlook is imposed at work, then Entourage falls short, primarily because of the lack of support for Outlook’s Tasks.

  24. nadyne says:

    Steve – Check out Paul Berkowitz’s Import-Export Entourage scripts.  Paul is a scripting genius.  One of the output formats is a tab-delimited file, which Excel will import.  There are other options, too, which you might find better suit your needs.  You can get them (and many other immensely useful AppleScripts) from this website:

    http://scriptbuilders.net/

    Richard – If you’re on Tiger and Entourage 11.2 or later, we’re now supporting Sync Services, which means that you can sync your Entourage data with any device that Apple supports in iSync.  Check it out and see if it better meets your needs.

  25. Hi Nadyne, glad to hear that Entourage 2008 will be an improvement. Killing the monolithic database would be good (as a previous writer said, having to back up 2 GB every time a new email comes in is a pain). It would also be nice if you could eliminate the Database Daemon Takeover Of Entourage For Minutes At a Time effect, too.

  26. mark says:

    i work in a cross platform environment- mac and pc. i prefer my mac for most stuff, but entourage is lagging as far as i’m concerned. notes & tasks sync w/ exchange would be tremendous. my biggest issue, however, is a more basic sync– i file things in entourage, but they still show up in the inbox in outlook, so then i don’t want to do with them. do i file them again in outlook? or just delete them from the inbox?

  27. SLDreamer says:

    May I assume that the MacBU is running email on an Exchange environment? If so, you must be aware of the issues stated by other commenters. The message is loud and clear from your corporate user base…feature parity with Outlook 2003 or 2007 is not only desired, it is demanded. The dog-slow performance of Entourage is simply unacceptable.

    You guys are better than this. You’ve created some really great versions of Word and Excel for Mac in Office 2004, but Entourage and PowerPoint continue to get short shrift in the updates. PLEASE, I am hoping these issues are fixed in the ’08 version.

  28. Mike says:

    And by the way, the ability to specify delivery and message read receipts in an email message.  Just like Outlook

  29. anothr user says:

    One new subscriber from Anothr Alerts

  30. Mindflayer says:

    Still want these changes:

    Offer a choice between the database and maildir. The current database and the additional files all over the file system aren’t optimal.

    Better threading. The flat model of threading Entourage uses is not highly intuitive.

    Release an Intel version sooner than later. The other Microsoft Office apps are launched as needed. Mail and PIM apps tend to be open all day long.

    Ensure your data fields for contacts and appointments match that on your Windows Mobile devices. Not all of us use Microsoft Messenger, and even if we do, we probably use other IM apps. Most of us also have at least 3 email addresses as well. Ensure all of that data is properly sorted, filed, and handles across all SyncService-capabale apps.

  31. Odysseus says:

    A love letter to Entourage? If you don’t need Exchange, I don’t see the point, and why risk losing your mail to database corruption which still plagues the app?

  32. Carlo says:

    Hummmm; no answer about the problem witm Exchange Sever (and the database)… smell very bad!

  33. Marc says:

    Well, the response is overwhelming: make Exchange support better and the database needs some redundancy…

    I suspect this isn’t news to your team, but it does hit the pain points pretty neatly.  

    I love Entourage, but we just switched internally to Exchange Server 2007, and now I’m out of luck.  πŸ™

  34. Perhaps the next Entourage piece could be something that the Exchange folks preach: customer love.

    Anyone using a Mac in an Exchange world is a third-class citizen, IMO. Just as an example: I think it’s a bad joke that Yahoo, Google and any number of webmail servers don’t mac Mac/Firefox users second class citizens with crippled clients…but Exchange 2007 does.

    http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2006/09/13/428901.aspx

    Shorter Exchange OWA team post: Outlook Web Access for Mac or Firefox is sort of crippleware compared to the Windows version, though we did spend some time on it. Sorry, guys.

    Getting something from the Entourage team that reassures users that "Yes, we know our Mac customers are the neglected stepchild when it comes to Exchange, here’s what we’re doing for you" would be nice.

  35. Will says:

    Although I appreciate the MacBU’s Entourage efforts (and I do use it from home to connect to my work’s Exchange server), I find myself looking back to Outlook 2001 for Mac OS 9. It was a nice client and pretty equal to the Windows version of Outlook. I am kind of at a loss why you guys decided to go in a different direction with OS X?

  36. Aaron says:

    Don’t want to beat a dead horse… But yes.. better Exchange integration would be the MAIN feature I want.

    The list I would have (most important at the top)

    -TASKS syncing (so so important! FAR and AWAY the most needed)

    -Color coding that syncs up with Outlook 2007

    -Out of Office

  37. jack says:

    What the current opinion on which is the best handheld to sync Entourage with?

  38. Randy says:

    As others have made clear, integration with a Windows/Outlook office is MUCH more important than new features in Entourage.  I haven’t seen some of these issues, so I’ll elaborate:

    * My email database is over 4GB, so backup is tough.  I should be able to backup old messages by date without using a third party app like EEAX.

    * When I switched in December 2006 from Outlook, moving my Personal Folder over was a NIGHTMARE.  I ended up uploading messages to the Exchange server, and then downloading them to Entourage.

    * Calendar events are pretty poor.  No HTML text in the invite.  No attachments.  No way to mark a meeting with Importance levels.  No way to invite optional attendees.  No way to add or remove attendees without resending the invite to everyone.

    * Tasks need both a start date and a due date.  They should only show up in the calendar view within that time window.  Where’s Delegation?

    * When I drag a file from the Inbox to a folder on My Computer, why does it Copy?!?  I don’t want to copy, I want to move it to the folder.

    * I have to use Web Outlook access to set Out Of Office messages.

    There’s more, but I’ll stop there.

    I love the categories, but haven’t gotten the hang of Projects yet.  What happens when I delete a project after its complete?

  39. Not So Happy With Entourage says:

    Either improve Entourage as an Outlook client, or come up with a new Outlook client for Mac.

    Looking for the ability to:

    1) Reserve/book resources through meeting invites.

    2) Set Out of Office Messages

    3) Not cache messages locally (would like to avoid IMAP)

    Also, move the Trash/Delete Icon. (Or allow one to customize the menu.) Having the Trash icon next to the Print icon has been problematic for some of my users.

  40. Jean Shankle says:

    I had had great success with Entourage until a week or so ago. All my outgoing mail arrives as [SPAM] which is completely unacceptable for my business correspondence.

    When I use the webmail for our company, no [SPAM] label shows up in my subject line.

    Does anyone know why this occurs?

  41. Entourage needs a LOT of improvements for Exchange support says:

    Might as well add my $0.02 worth:

    1. Need feature parity with Outlook on Windows

    2. Stop the madness! Ditch the single database file and move to separate email files like Mail does in Tiger. Database corruption is exponentially increased by this antiquated methodology.

    3. Give us MAPI support!!!  This whole OWA syncing this is for the birds.. Should have just ported Outlook 2001 and added the new features…

    4. Intel native (goes without saying)

    5. Automatic font detection. Nothing drives the creative types more crazy than Office programs losing it over font cache corruption because they activate and deactivate fonts on a regular basis. Caching the fonts when launched is slow and painful. Adapt to Apple’s ATS support NOW!

  42. You do realize that 1 and 3 are incompatible with 2, right?

    MAPI depends on a store provider. Says so right in the docs. Please note that Windows Outlook (and Mac Outlook) used a monolithic store.

    Oh, and if you think it’s taking forever for Entourage, let me clue yyou in on something. Entourage took a few weeks to port to OS X from OS 9. Mac Outlook would have taken a lot longer, because it was using the crusty old code Excel, Powerpoint and Word were using… and THEN you would have had to port it to Mactel, just like the other apps…and THEN you would have had to add HTML rendering…and Palm/device sync…and THEN POP/IMAP/Hotmail support… and you still wouldn’t have parity with Windows Outlook, as they added support for RSS, Sharepoint, search folders, 3 column view and Cached Exchange (and those are just the major features).

    Oh, and since you killed off Entourage, you now have to import their data. More work. Plus, remember: all the Mac teams have smaller engineering teams than their Windows counterparts, so you’re asking maybe 10-20 engineers and testers to replicate the work of a couple hundred people, who DON’T have to do two complicated ports (OS 9->OS X and Metrowerks->Xcode for Mactel).

    While you’re at it, you want some lead turned into gold or have the MacBU invent a perpetual motion machine? How about being somewhat reasonable- and realizing that Entourage meant the MacBU didn’t have to reinvent the wheel on things like OS X native, HTML rendering, Palm sync and so on?

    Entourage using DAV as the transport IS a reasonable compromise: it does 90% of what users need, and it’s an open protocol- check out Snerdware’s stuff for an example. What people need to do is get on the Exchange folks and make DAV finish off the last 10% so it’s a complete peer with MAPI…

  43. Ralf says:

    Clearly, Microsoft’s ploy of not creating a Mac Outlook was intended to block people switching to Mac.

    Hence, I doubt if the most needed feature — being able to port to/from Outlook, will ever be provided.

    I use PC and Mac in my office, and therefore need a platform that provides easy synching across PC and Mac platform. Hence, I’m going over to Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Without Outlook integration, Entourage will be a crippled product that is useless for us to use both PC and Mac.

    I don’t blame you guys in the MBU for not producing Mac Outlook. The decision was probably enforced on you by higher powers, and you are forced to try and give reasons to the public why it wasn’t done. Spare us. We understand the dark side of Microsoft.

  44. pvk says:

    Another vote for Exchange syncing of tasks and notes. Without this, I can’t use Entourage as my primary client on my laptop, since I can’t rely on Exchange as a centralized repository of all my PIM information (which I have done for years). As a workaround, I am currently using Outlook in Parallels, and synchronizing my Treo that way, but being able to move to a native mac app would be much better. I hope this is finally implemented in  the 2008 version.

  45. Bob says:

    Like everyone said here, please please please please please, just give me a Microsoft emai client that runs on a Mac that is a true MAPI client. I couldn’t care less about Projects, I couldn’t care less about color coding. All I want is an email client that works with the Exchange server with the same features on the Windows-side. One can only posit that the reason Microsoft doesn’t do this is to keep the lockdown on Windows. There is no technical reason.

    All the rest is a distraction.

  46. I’m amazed at the number of people who know more than the MacBU does when it comes to "technical reasons" for anything related to why Microsoft doesn’t do ____ (fill in the blank: Mac version of Outlook, Access, and so on).

    Since you apparently can use telepathy and magic to know the job people are supposed to be doing better than the people who are doing it, you mind fixing the mess we have in Iraq, too?

  47. Mal says:

    Dear eponymous coward,

    I thought the job people are supposed to be doing here is giving the customers a product that does what they want.  It seems that better Exchange integration is a pretty popular request.  Perhaps you can use “telepathy and magic” to tell us why Microsoft remains silent on the issue?

  48. Joeb says:

    Eponymous, wtf. Since the introduction of Entorage people have asked for it to be a full featured Exchange client. While you speak that it is 90% there, people seem to feel that those missing 10% are very important for what they do. I also don’t see your point that the mail has to be a monolithic file. Why? It has to be a store it could be based on berkelydb, couldn’t? Could be based on mysql with file globs or even sqlite? Apple I believe uses the CoreData frameworks (oops theres that Cocoa framework again) for things like iPhoto and iTunes. The file would not be transportable but not to say the Mac version of the client couldn’t import the data, much like every other mail client I have tried.

    Rendering HTML web pages, link to webkit. (Yes I know webkit arrived just before panther but from wirc there was a minimal html rendering kit as part of the original NS frameworks.)

    There are some other things MS needs to fix with Outlook itself that have taken too long to fix. Like dumping JET files for at least a MS SQL Lite type environment.

    Please stop with the nonsensical analogies. The issues in iraq or for another equally absurd analogy the cure for cancer, autisim, mental illness etc are exponentially more difficult to overcome then what amounts to porting programming code or an implementation of an API  (with presumed access to the source and the programmers) to a different OS. Its a problem that has been solved before in many different ways.

  49. baneOFexistence says:

    I just installed Office update 11.3.5 today with the bismal hope that perhaps Entourage may actually get an update.  Yes there were some updated components (Database Daemon v11.3.5) but Entourage still remains v11.3.3.  Our network comprises over 1500 users spread over 15 sites running Exchange 2000 & 2003 with about 40% Macs.  The major issue we’ve had over the past 4 years is a typical erroneous error message "Mail could not be received at this time. The server for account "name" returned the error "Logon failure: unknown user name or bad password." Your username/password or security settings may be incorrect. Would you like to try re-entering your password?"  – and of course the creds are correct and re-entering does not work.  Quitting Entourage and relaunching works 5% of the time – the rest we need to clear cache/rebuild.  Performance of server hardware seems to help – this led me to follow KB329067 even though we’re not experiencing the specific error messages described – still no luck.  Anyone else got this?  Fixes?  

  50. nadyne says:

    Mal — We have to evaluate any feature request.  There many many different areas that we have to evaluate for any given feature request, including (but not limited to) the number of customers it impacts, the size of that impact, the amount of work necessary to do it, required work from non-MacBU groups (such as Apple or the Exchange team), and place in our goals for the release.  It’s a delicate balancing act.  

  51. ECat says:

    Yes, entourage is great. But, is a new Office for Mac coming soon? I think it is about time…

  52. JK says:

    Hi

    I converted to Macs for personal and my business use about 3 years ago on the basis that I could do everything and more on a Mac than a PC.  I love my macs but being an early adopter generally my first and now longstanding personal email address was hotmail –  which like a telephone number I don’t want to change……..

    So MICROSOFT Hotmail was, unlike Mac Mail, supported by MICROSOFT Entourage.  Excellent.  I bought the MICROSOFT software and pay for a premium MICROSOFT Hotmail account.   Then a few weeks ago I can’t send mail anymore from the Entourage.

    I look up the forums and MICROSOFT have made a ‘upgrade’ which means on Mac Office X you can only receive Hotmail not send it anymore.  What sort of email client is that?  Now I have two paid for MICROSOFT email services that between them can’t even send an email.  Apparently I can pay for an upgrade but why should I – I bought something that was fit for purpose but now isn’t and I haven’t changed anything my end?  I wrote to the support team on the web who said nothing to do with them.

    So suggest it may be worth living in a slightly (but not significantly) older version and make sure that the basics work rather than the whistles and bells?  It should be up to customers to decide when to upgrade – not rendering their existing program useless at the drop of a hat….

  53. Claudio says:

    Love Entourage since the beginning, but I had to switch recently to Market Circle’s Daylite in order to have a stronger relational database (cross links) among my contacts (without having to use projects), security controls and a built-in sharing capabilities with other users within the studio (without having use an exchange server either).

    Nevertheless, I’d love to come back to Entourage if the PIM side got stronger along with great Palm syncing too and without a way to share among others perhaps without needing a server too?

  54. CarloS says:

    So Nadyne, no better Exchange integration ??? And for the database problems …nothing ??? Wow! Ah yes, and no VBA ?? Office 2008 a dead product!

  55. Michael says:

    First, let me say how much we the Mac users appreciate having a beacon of light for the Mac at Microsoft (that’s you guys!)

    Lots of great comments above… When I first got my MacBookPro, my top priority was to move all my significant data (calendar, contacts, etc.) from my PC to the new Mac…

    And as some of the comments above mentioned, there was no Microsoft to help me move my data onto (Microsoft) Entourage!  That’s like the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing!

    Most significantly, Entourage wouldn’t work natively with all the Mac gizmos, like the address book.  So if I were to use Entourage, I would have to keep two copies of my address book, one on the Mac Address Book (so I could sync with my iPod and cell phone), and one on Entourage… and then use a third-party tool like Plaxo to sync all my contacts!  What a nightmare…

    Would you please, please, please make sure the newest version of Entourage has these capabilities:

    –  Ability to use or fully sync with Apple’s Address Book

    –  Ability to IMPORT data from other mail programs (like Apple’s Mail and *Thunderbird*)

    –  Ability to fully and natively sync with Exchange (this should be a given).

    Thanks for all your had work!

  56. <I>I thought the job people are supposed to be doing here is giving the customers a product that does what they want.  It seems that better Exchange integration is a pretty popular request.  Perhaps you can use "telepathy and magic" to tell us why Microsoft remains silent on the issue?</I>

    They’ve improved it from version to version on a consistent basis. Isn’t that what you want?

    <I>I also don’t see your point that the mail has to be a monolithic file. Why?</I>

    That comment was made with respect to MAPI, and the reason why is that MAPI is an API that was developed in the ealry to mid-90’s, and has some bad architecture problems. The Outlook group has tried for some time to reduce their dependency on it, and so has Exchange… but like parallel ports on the back of a Wintel box, it still remains.

    Saying "You need to implement MAPI" really means "You need to introduce some complexity and waste time porting a VERY-Windows-centric API". No, they don’t need to do that to deliver what customers want. They need to implement a method for Macintoshes to access the data that lives on the servers- the API they use could be tin cans on string, AS LONG AS YOU GET YOUR DATA. You don’t have to implement MAPI to do what you ask- you can use what Entourage does (DAV/HTTP/LDAP), and ALSO tweak some stuff on the server end so that everything is exposed through those interfaces (which means, like I said, customers and the MacBU need to lobby the Exchange folks)… and as a bonus, you aren’t locked into a Microsoft API, and have a wire protocol that’s easy to understand and implement against, so if someday the MacBU DOES decide to go out of business, or you hate the version of Entourage that comes out some year, you can use Snerdware’s clients or whatever.

    <I>(Yes I know webkit arrived just before panther but from wirc there was a minimal html rendering kit as part of the original NS frameworks.)</I>

    HTML Help? No. Not good enough. So, you’d have made MS not deliver anything Exchange-related and OS-X native until version 10.3.x?

    And really, you don’t understand the problem that needs to be addressed from the MacBU’s side, which is my point- you certainly understand your needs, just not the best way to get what you want.

  57. Entourage Is A Pig says:

    I agree, stop talking about all the great features of Entourage because normal people cannot use them. As other people have mentioned as soon as you need to rebuild the databse you loose all of those nice features because they are not server based.

    How about making the program work as it should? Outlook on Mac used to work fine with NO PROBLEMS so i don’t see why they can’t get Entourage to work properly after all these years.

  58. Gary Eary says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I have read with interest all the comments on this blog about Entourage and Exchange and I have to agree and support many of them.

    I as the IT Manager of a London-Based design agency who, while mainly Mac are 100% Windows-Based in the Back Office and use several Windows XP Workstations to get the job done. We moved to Exchange about 8 years ago and currently run 2003. We love Exchange, it does everything we need and the seamless compatibility with Windows and Mac make it the perfect groupware solution and our prefered choice to Lotus Notes. We also run Windows Mobile PDAs which sync perfectly with Exchange – no faffing with Mac software or iSync, just great Blackberry-like always-on e-mail through the air- anywhere.

    All was well until Microsofts’ decision NOT to port Outlook to OS X. We have run Outlook 2001 on OS 9 and now we continue to run it under Classic because it is quite simply the ONLY solution for our particular implementation. We have server-side mailboxes of 1Gb+ and we have a hot-desking office where people move from machine to machine. Everyone wants their profile on every machine so they can sit down, log in and get to work. Outlook 2001 does this seamlessly, even under Classic (I have a hightly cut-down version of Classic JUST to run Outlook so its really fast to start – and practically never crashes, even with Outlook open all day). We also have people with laptops and they can use Outlook in ‘Offline’ mode to read their e-mail on the train or wherever there isn’t a Web connection. We even use VPN to connect to the office from home and Outlook 2001 works great over low-speed connections too.

    We are extremely hot on calendering and use shared and resource calendars all day. We have shared mailboxes and PA’s manage multiple mailboxes for their boses by using Exchange permissions to access them directly from their personal profile. We use Out of Office Assistant and Rules and Signatures and pretty much every one of the great features Outlook 2001 offers. However, it all goes wrong with Entourage, we have tested it agressively because we NEED to move away from Classic as it means we can’t buy new Intel Macs (which dont run Classic) and there is no gurantee Classic will be supported under Leopard. This why like everyone here I am hoping for big things from Entourage 2008 and here’s what I need:

    Outlook-like profiles for mail users. Office Identy is nearly there but why should people quit Word, Excel and PowerPoint just because they want to check another mail account?

    An option NOT to sync mail locally for Exchange server use. That way we won’t have to wait AGES while 1Gb mailboxes sync locally each time a user moves to a machine they haven’t accessed their mailbox from before. Remember that if Exchange mail IS NOT synced locally then the size of the database and any subsequent corruption won’t be an issue becauase the mail will be on the server. All you people who say MAPI is needed for this are right but not totally, Outlook Web Access works just like this and uses DAV. What we really want is Entourage to be the front-end to OWA Premium featutres on the Mac, its that simple.

    Proper accces to shared calendars so they don’t have to sync locally to use them.

    Proper access to shared or delagate mailboxes so they don’t have to sync locally to use them either.

    Set Out of Office assistant and ammend/create mail rules server-side.

    The ability to create .PST files locally or the ability to use similar Work Offline functionality as in Outlook.

    Pretty much ALL of these features are avaliable from Outlook Web Access Premium which means that they are supported on the server using DAV/HTTP and other web-protocols so surely Entourage COULD use this functionality to give Mac users what they want.

    I just hope the Mac-BU are listening to people like us and will give us the product we deserve. We have 40 Exchange Lics and we want to be able to use them with OS X. We have already paid for a Mac-Based Exchange client with these lics, but I for one would pay another £300 for an exchange client for Mac which just does these simple things, and I’d buy it outside of the Office suite. Come on Mac BU, you’re missing out on revenue streams here by not making products people want!

    Cheers for reading, I’m waiting with baited breath for 2008.

    Gary,

  59. Shane Palmer says:

    Something nobody here has mentioned yet but made it such a nightmare for us to move to Entourage was Personal Distribution Lists.  We only had about 100 Mac users to convert from Outlook (we have more than 100 now, but they went straight to Entourage without ever using Outlook) but they had a ton of Distribution Lists.  One user alone had about 40 Distribution Lists with hundreds of people in each of them.  Since we couldn’t even convert the using the PST Import Tool we had to create a convoluted way of converting them.  Basically we had to use Outlook on a PC to save each distribution list to a text file and then use a combination of Shell scripting and AppleScripting on the Mac side to clean up these text files and import them as Groups to the local address book in Entourage.  And as a bonus many distribution lists that were created using Outlook 8 for the Mac had the old style contact entries that referenced the GAL entries (/o=DOMAIN/ou=DEPARTMENT/cn=Recipients/cn=USERID) that could not be converted.

    And the user training was a nightmare as well.  We had to tell them that their Distribution Lists were in the local Address Book and their Contacts were in the were in the Exchange contacts folder.  And we had to tell them that there contacts were no longer backed up since they were no longer on the Exchange server and that they can only be used on the computer that they were imported on.

    I can understand that we don’t really want MAPI because it is such an old protocol, but OWA/Webdav (even the Premium version for Windows IE) does not handle distribution lists that well until you move to Exchange 2007.  However, MAPI support has been added to Entourage to get specific things accomplished that were high priority for many users, such as Delegation and Sharing both of which OWA/Webdav does not handle very well.  In hindsight since this has been such a slow process (not totally MacBU’s fault since the Exchange group has had such a slow hard time moving away from MAPI) to get all of the features that Outlook 2001 for Mac had six years ago I would have preferred that the put a huge effort into Carbonizing Outlook 2001 just to buy the MacBU more time to build a proper Exchange client without the need to slowly add a feature here or there based on customer priorities.

    I wish I would have had the luxury of keeping our clients on Outlook 2001 via Classic, but as we moved users to Mac OS X 10.4 Outlook became very unstable.  We had a hard time getting it to even launch properly in 10.4 and once we worked around that issue we had so many problems with Outlook crashing (it would just quit with absolutley no error) that our clients just accepted it as a part of life and stopped calling in about it crashing.  Then Apple’s Intel move made switching to Entourage even more urgent.

    Unfortunately due to the lack of feature parity of Entourage with the PC Outlook (and even Mac Outlook) client, and due to the performance issues we have had quite a few long time Mac users switch to PC’s.  From my experience the lack of a proper Exchange client and due to the years of putting up with an unstable Outlook client and attempting to move to a feature incomplete Entourage client pushed them over the edge.

  60. Steve says:

    I seems pretty clear to me that no effort is being made to correct the deficiencies of Entourage working with Exchange, otherwise we would hear some assurances from MacBU concerning this matter. Their silence speaks volumes to me. I for one have given up hope and will look elsewhere for solutions.

  61. Mal says:

    nadyne,

    Thanks for the response, and I understand and appreciate the complexity involved in product development.  I’m not entirely clear on the MacBU’s status at Microsoft, but I see at least a couple troubling signs:  a lack of full Exchange support in Entourage since its introduction as the replacement for Outlook many years ago, and *still* no format converters for Office 2007 files.  Are you denied access to resources that would otherwise allow you to correct these problems, or prevent them from happening in the first place?  

    Both are seriously undermining the flow of information at my university, where Exchange has become, like in so many other places, the de facto tool for scheduling and collaboration.  I had to convert dozens of student documents from docx format during the last month of spring classes, so their professors could read them.

    It’s great to love your own product.  However, we end users need to see serious progress towards truly vital features before we can think about giving our hearts over.

  62. Skorry1 says:

    I was not a big Outlook fan but Entourage has made me miss it.  Aside from the lack of full Exchange compatibility and other deficiencies already mentioned, I have discovered other annoyances that have me exploring for ways to just get rid of Entourage.

    The biggest of these is that Entourage’s Palm conduits do not sync with a Palm across multiple Macs. If I add a contact or event on one computer, that works fine. But if I make a change to an existing event (like moving it to a new time) or contact (like changing a phone number), it updates the Palm fine. But syncing the Palm with the other Mac does not update the other Mac.  

  63. Chris says:

    I’ll pitch in one more "please" for full Exchange support.

  64. nadyne says:

    Michael — If you update Entourage to 11.2 or later (11.3.5 was released this week), and if you’re running Tiger (10.4.x), Entourage will sync with the OS X Address Book.  In Entourage, to to Preferences -> Sync Services, and select what you want to synchronise.  

  65. MacManWA says:

    Seriously…  so in this huge thread of people asking about Exchange support, or for that matter, a tid bit of what is being addressed with Entourage 2008…

    …all we get are responses from MS about AppleScripting, "it’s a delicate balance" and where the OS X Address Book Sync preferences are…

    I think we can do better than that.

  66. doughlaundry says:

    To get an idea of where Microsoft’s MacBU is pursuing coin, think about where (and to whom) Apple is selling the most units (be they iMacs, Mac Pros or iPods). Clue: It’s not in the enterprise space…

    But at least we have My Day.

  67. none says:

    1.  Install Parallels and Outlook 2003 on the Mac

    2.  Delete Entourage from the Mac

    3.  Enjoy how much happier you are now

  68. Joeb says:

    eponymous makes an excellent point in the last post. The comments regarding moving Exchange from MAPI to documented open protocols is really what should be done. However, what incentive does MS  have to do that? Leaving MAPI as the supported connection method means Exchange and its features are tied to Windows platform, both for the server and the client. Moving them to the WebDAV, TLS, imap, https etc world means that more clients could natively connect to the server with the potential ability to utilize the servers features. It could also quite possibly the server itself COULD move from Windows server dependency to running on more than one platform. Therefore IF MS Exchange group is moving that way it will be YEARS possibly a decade before they remove it completely or even make it unnecessary (ie a version of Outlook completely devoid of MAPI with the server only supporting it as a Legacy protocol for older clients, much like Appletalk, IPX and Token Ring are legacy network protocols.

    doughlaundry’s point is interesting except why would MS bother with a mail package in a consumer oriented product? There are a multitude of other packages available for the home user some of which are free Apple Mail and Thunderbird to name but two. Could they have included something more useful like Visio or Access? Based on the large number of posts that have asked for a higher degree of Exchange compatibility I would say Entourage is being used in the enterprise/exchange world.

    Finally the post by "none" is where I think you will eventually see Office for the Mac go, (at least if you want true enterprise compatibility) it is not cheap. You need a license for Parallels, Windows OS, Office for Windows.

  69. Alaln Crowson says:

    An earlier comment seemed to suggest that MS has no need to support enterprise-level Exchange compatibility, since Apples are selling primarily to non-enterprise customers.

    In my opinion, this misses the mark entirely, for a number of reasons. Here are just a few:

    1. Macs are not absent from the enterprise arena, far from it.

    2. A number of Mac purchases are "personal" purchases, in that they are funded personally. However, quite a few of those purchasers intend to connect with their work-related Exchange-based data, even on their own personal machine. Looking at a strict enterprise-personal dichotomy is blind to this phenomenon.

    I submit that relatively few individuals buy Office:Mac because they truly prefer Word or Excel or PowerPoint. While there may be an important number who truly enjoy working in those applications, it is likely that most individuals purchase Office:Mac for compatibility with  other users’ files. They should be able to expect full compatibility with Exchange-based data as well. Even OWA supports Tasks. Entourage does tasks, but not Tasks. In other words, Entourage tasks are not compatible with Outlook Tasks, leading to redundancy, or more likely, non-use.

    I’m not saying Entourage is a bad or evil program. It has its advantages and disadvantages. But for my purposes, it is number one on the Expendable list without greater Outlook compatibility.

  70. Brian says:

    I agree with the comments above that just because Macs aren’t purchased by enterprises, doesn’t mean they aren’t purchased by enterprise users.

    Also, Macs are becoming more and more accepted in the enterprise. In my company of about 50 people, about 10 have switched to Macs in the last few months, including some hard-core Windows guys (including one guy we called "Ballmer" because of his love for all things Microsoft). They all love their Macs, and hate Entourage.

    Finally, I do have one thing I’d like Entourage to do that should be fairly simple. I have Entourage set to bounce its icon in the dock and to show the little preview when new mail arrives. If Entourage isn’t bouncing, mail arrives, and I delete the message from the preview, I’d like Entourage to stop bouncing. I’ve dealt with the new message, so there’s no need to keep telling me there’s a new message (which there actually isn’t any more). That’s it, can’t get much simpler than that. πŸ™‚

  71. doughlaundry says:

    I hope this thread remains flame-free and levelheaded. It’s good to read about what other people are experiencing…

    I’ll say again. Just because there are more Macintosh systems in the Enterprise space doesn’t mean that MS will magically start pushing their Office offering towards them. They have to KNOW they’re there. Have you nagged your Microsoft rep lately?

    Meanwhile, you can be clinically dead and still know that most Apple sales are happening away from the big office: Small office users, home office users, iPod owners proving the "halo" effect, switchers (okay, that’s probably home users too). Lots and lots of smaller purchases. That’s where Office 2008 is headed and the rest of us are along for better or for worse.

    Yes, I know it’s called "Office".

    None’s three-step solution is compelling, except for the added cost of Parallels and a Windows XP licence. Maybe Crossover is a better way forward? Though, on the whole, I’d rather fight for a good Exchange Mac client.

  72. dallen says:

    I agree with everyone as well. Exchange support needs to be improved in Entourage. It would be nice if MacBU released some information on whats to come in Entourage 2008. I would also like to see Kerberos support added.

  73. Russell says:

    Color coding senders seemed really cool, so I wondered if I could get Mail.app to do it. Easily done with Mail’s rules. I can even set up a color for all the members of a group in Address Book. Maybe that’s not quite the same as the project management in Entourage (which I’ve never used and don’t need for the work I do) but it’s certainly close enough to keep me from switching, given the problems with having one big datafile, as others have mentioned.

    In fairness, I should add that I generally avoid MS products unless I have a compelling reason to use them, such as with Excel (de facto professional standard) and Word (de facto standard and only way to get cite-as-you-write with Endnote). I’m sure you’re all nice hard-working people and I know your boss gives lots of money to great causes, but your market dominance scares me–a subject for another blog or forum for sure, but I just wanted to lay that bias on the table.

  74. Bill says:

    I am a long time Mac user and now own a 3GHz Quad Pro  tower. I am a home user and probably use my browser most of all apps. However, MS Office is the app that I use second most. Especially Entourage, which has long replaced the Palm Desktop, first with my Vx, then T3 and now Treo 650. I know the apps from Apple would work, but Entourage is the easiest for me. We use Exchange for email at work, but I could not configure it on my Mac or PC [even using the automated PC setup from my IT team], so I just use my browser to read work email. It really makes no difference to me as I always have my Treo. I wanted to thank you for creating Entourage and let you know that I await the next Office [2008 I guess].

  75. James Arscott says:

    come on guys, someone from MBU give us a wink that some of the above comments about Entourage/Exchange are being addressed!!

  76. Unhappy Corporate Mac User says:

    I’ve tried Entourage, and I have to say I don’t like it. Its the best for anti Windows bigots, but for someone that comes from a full Outlook expirence, it doesn’t fit my needs. It doesn’t share anything about the Windows outlook, never mind doesn’t have complete interoperability with Exchange, and doesn’t support native .PST filing format. The printouts look like a consumer PIM, and doesn’t look like a professional PC Outlook like format.

    I’m sorry to say, but when Notes 8 comes out, I might switch. Notes looks more promising than Entourage. Entourage is one of the reasons why Office is cheaper for the Mac, because its basically a sexed up version of Outlook Express.

    I also loathe Evolution, its a devolution from Entourage. I can’t wait till Microsoft gets assertive, beats out Notes, and Apple’s Mail and really gets competitive of Mac software and more like Windows format, I’ll switch. Entourage was an insult to the Mac development, and stab in the chest to users that really wanted Outlook on the Mac. I think the way you keep marketing Entourage, you will never put Outlook on the Mac.

  77. doughlaundry says:

    Outlook:mac is not coming back! It’s Entourage or nothing!

    I use Entourage, at home, to connect to Exchange (work) and my mac.com account. In many respects it works better at home than it does in the corporate environment (where it suffers comparisons with Outlook on a Windows system). But let’s keep things in perspective, it’s not a bad application.

    The problems I have with it are all about the duplication of features that are already in the host O/S (calendar and address book for example) and the way they do non-standard interface things. Oh, and the pointless duplication of commands in illogical places. Apart from that, I use it all the time and realise I’d be really stuck without it.

  78. Jesse Collier says:

    The one thing eponymous coward seems to be missing out on as he tries to defend all things Entourage is that Microsoft has had almost SEVEN YEARS to rectify all these complaints that have been there since they left Outlook for the Mac to rot. In all that time Entourage is STILL not half the Exchange client that Outlook was.

    I work in a corporate environment that for years was not able to use Entourage because of its restrictive Exchange server requirements. Then when we finally updated our Exchange server I had to wait for update after update from Microsoft in the hopes that Entourage would finally stop sucking (Look at their bug fix list… HOURS to sync with Exchange?!?). I use Entourage everyday and it is only usable for very basic email, and really looks like a dog whenever I’m forced to open Outlook on my PC.

    I’ve asked Microsoft reps before at Macworld when we are going to get a mail client from them on OS X that doesn’t suck. "Well… uhhh…" You can tell from all the comments that they’re still stumbling for an answer years and multiple versions later.

  79. Ed FitzGerald says:

    Before Exchange & Sharepoint 2007 went live, the MS developer blog was full of postings discussing what was being developed.

    Can’t you guys do the same? What’s the point of this blog if not to discuss your work? Why so quiet? Start telling us how it’s gonna work.