Q&A: moving from Outlook to Entourage

I got the following question via email:

How do I copy my Outlook 2003 contacts, calendar, email and tasks from my old PC to my new Macbook?

At this time, we don't provide a direct import from Windows Outlook PST to Entourage 2008.

There are some workarounds for it. I've never tried them myself because I've never used Outlook, so I can't provide any specific feedback here. These are listed in no particular order.

If you use an Exchange server, you probably don't need to do anything at all. Put everything on Exchange, and voila: Entourage will download your mail and contacts. If you're using the Entourage for Exchange Web Services beta against Exchange 2007 or later, then you also get your notes and tasks,

Outlook2Mac is a third-party application that claims to transfer PST files. I've heard that this process is extremely lengthy if you have a very large PST.

If you have access to an older PowerPC-based Mac, you can try the instructions from the Entourage MVPs for importing from Windows Outlook. It requires you to go through Outlook for Mac, which is a very old Classic application.

I also understand that it's possible to use Mozilla Thunderbird on your
Windows computer. I found some instructions for this on an Australian website. However, this only works for your mail; I'm not sure how you would use Thunderbird to get your contacts and tasks.
Comments (9)

  1. toonnyc says:

    Can’t believe you’ve never used Outlook, but it’s nice to see you give 2001 a mention.  It still rocks after all these years.  All of my users who can run it, love it.

  2. Well, I’ve got Outlook installed on my rarely-used XP box in my office, so it’s not like I’ve never opened it.  But I’ve never used it for any length of time, and definitely not as my primary mail application.  

    Before coming to Microsoft, I worked for IBM, so I used Lotus Notes there, and I hated every last second of it.  For my personal mail, I used Eudora, or pine on my various *nix boxen.

  3. toonnyc says:

    It’s a really great program.  You should check it out some more, especially 2001 (hint, hint).

  4. Kelmon says:

    This is one of those things that has bugged me since I switched to the Mac.  Entourage offers the ability to import email from other email applications except the 800lb gorrila that is probably the most obvious application that people would be switching from, with the exception of Apple’s own Mail.  After much research I ended up using Outlook2Mac to do the job.  Is there a suitable "conspiracy theory" answer to this that Microsoft wants to make life difficult for a potential switcher to avoid them switching in the first place, or is there another explanation for why an "Import Outlook PST File" option is not provided?

    Further, given that you state "[a]t this time" at the top of the article, is there a plan to provide such an import option?

  5. It’s not about wanting to make life difficult for users who switch from Outlook to Entourage.  It’s simply a rather delicate balancing act.  We don’t have unlimited resources, so we can’t do everything.  Our balancing act comes in determining what we need to work on.  While we know that there is some need for importing PSTs, there have been other needs that have been prioritised higher, such as improving our Exchange story.

    I can’t publicly comment on our plans for future releases.  So far, the only feature that we’ve announced for the next version of Office:Mac is the return of VBA support.  When we start talking more about what’s coming in the future, you’ll probably see it on Mac Mojo first.


  6. toonnyc says:

    Why don’t you use Entourage for your personal e-mail?

  7. I said I used (past tense), not that I use (present tense).  

    So, to clarify: I use Entourage for my personal email on my Mac at home.  Prior to joining Microsoft, I used Eudora for my personal email.  If you go digging further back in my personal mail usage, it was pine and VMS Mail.  

  8. toonnyc says:

    My bad.  Good to see you using it.  One less MACBU member for Ruff to have to harass.

  9. I think it’s safe to say that Andy and the other members of the Entourage team are quite aware of how much I use our app.  I’ve been dogfooding Entourage for EWS for at least nine months against my Exchange 12 (and now Ex14) data, and my usage is pretty deep across the board, so I’ve come across some fun bugs while dogfooding.  It’s why I dogfood — I’d rather that I hit the bugs rather than our users. 🙂

    Since it seems you’re following @ruff on Twitter, if you’re also following me (@nadyne), one of my tweets about wondering when the makers of the dogfood were going to form a lynch squad was about the number of bug reports that I’d made against Entourage one day when I downloaded the latest build. 🙂  

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