Are you looking for a new email solution?

  • Posted by David Wicks
  • November 13, 2010 4:04 PM PST

Microsoft recently released Office 2011 for Mac. In the new version, Outlook 2011 replaces Entourage as the email client. For those of us at institutions with Microsoft Exchange email servers, this is a welcomed update. Both Entourage and the free OS X Mail lack robust calendaring integration, which can make it difficult to keep up with meeting requests at a university. While this may not be an issue for individual faculty, I’ve had professors in administrative roles tell me that they couldn’t consider switching to a Macintosh computer because of their concerns with email/calendar management.

Until recently, I used Parallels Desktop for Mac and a virtual copy of Windows to manage my email with Outlook 2007. While this worked well initially, the current version (Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac) seems to be designed for beefier machines than my two-plus year-old MacBook. I won’t go into details; let’s just say I was ready to try another solution.

After installing Office 2011 for Mac, Outlook only needed my email address and password to configure my Exchange settings, quickly loading all my folders, contacts, tasks, and calendaring information. I was even able to import .PST files, allowing me to have local access to older email messages directly within Outlook. The interface is clean. I much prefer the use of ribbons to the floating pallets found in the previous version of Office for Mac. As expected, there are some noticeable missing features.  Mobile iCal users are unable to sync calendars with Outlook. Given the popularity of iPhones, this seems like something Microsoft needs to resolve quickly. Personally, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a default folder for all unread messages as I frequently triage email messages and leave messages that can be saved until later as Unread. Fortunately, a colleague showed me how to use the Search function to create a Smart Folder for Unread messages. I demonstrate how this is done in the video below.

What are you using for an email client? Are you satisfied with your current email/calendaring client? Please share your thoughts in the comments area. Let’s help vendors understand our communication needs.
 Creative Commons email image from:


  • David Wicks
    David Wicks Sorry to hear about your bad experiences with Outlook 2011. I can honestly say that it hasn't crashed on me yet. I'm currently running Mac OS X 10.6.6 and Outlook 14.0.2 (101115). I am amazed with its stability given all the crashing I experienced with Of...  more
    January 14, 2011
  • Jane Moore
    Jane Moore I had such difficulty with Entourage that Outlook is a blessing for me. Like David, I've had no problems with unread messages (only with receiving too many messages :).
    July 22, 2011
  • Jane Moore
    Jane Moore Now that I've been using Outlook for several months, I'm pretty happy with it. The only issue I have is that when I try to delete the items in the trashcan (several hundred of them), Outlook frequently shuts down. The workaround is to delete trash more ...  more
    October 26, 2011
  • David Wicks
    David Wicks Jane, I typically delete the trash as soon as I put something in it so I haven't run into this issue.
    October 26, 2011