Mac users running OS X in organizations that use Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail had to use various workarounds in order to use certain features on Exchange. They can now tap into what Exchange has to offer without compromising collaboration with other Windows users.
Before the Exchange Update for Entourage X came out, Mac users were stuck using Outlook 2001 for Mac. This proved very inconvenient for Mac OS X users when they had to load classic mode in order to use Outlook 2001. When the Exchange Update was made available to Entourage X in August 2003, it certainly filled a void in interoperability.
Mac users now have different options
There are several ways for Mac users to access the features of Exchange like their Windows counterpart. If you are running OS X with Office X, the easiest way is probably to “Exchange-enable” your Entourage X. Entourage X (with Exchange support) offers very similar experience as running Outlook on a Windows computer (although some may not like mimicking Windows). Other common ways include staying with the original Outlook 2001 from Office 2001, Entourage 2001, using the Outlook Web Access (OWA) via a web browser and accessing a Windows terminal server via the Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (RDC).
Since this article is focused mainly on Entourage X, I will just mention briefly the other options.
Microsoft Outlook 2001 for Mac – this option is better suited for users of Mac OS older than OS X, OS 8.5-9.x to be exact. For users of OS X, this is no competition to Entourage X, and is certainly a hassle to use because it needs to run in Classic mode within OS X. For those that are not using OS X, you have the option of Outlook 2001 and Entourage 2001, depending on whether which look and feel you prefer, the earlier being much more Windows-like than the later. There are some features that Outlook 2001 has that Entourage 2001 doesn’t.
Microsoft Entourage 2001 – This version runs on pre OS X and offers a new feel to the tradition Outlook. For those who prefer an interface that has more “Mac feel”, they may like this better than Outlook 2001. There are also some features that Entourage 2001 has that Outlook 2001 doesn’t.
Outlook Web Access (OWA) – With the web access, your access is no longer limited to a certain operating system. It requires no setup on the user side so you can read your email virtually everywhere that has an update web browser. However, I feel that while the OWA is convenient tool for reading email on the go, it is not the best fit for everyday use. There is generally more mouse clicks required to accomplish the same goal as the desktop variety.
Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (RDC) – This option is only useful for those organizations with the Windows Terminal Services enabled. Users basically access a remote Windows server, and access their email as if they are Windows users. Performance may vary, depending on the load of the terminal server, and speed of the connection. It is useful as a temporary means of access, especially if OWA isn’t enabled or available, but may not be the best choice for everyday use.
Decisions, decisions, decisions…
If you would like to have more details to help you decide, there is a comparison chart on Mactopia where you can assess which option is best suited for your situation: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/support.aspx?pid=exchange
Your options are not mutually exclusive, so you can always opt for one in the office, one for home, and yet another when you’re on the go. The key is how to keep most of your data on the server so they can be accessed everywhere.
Shortcut to “Exchange-enable” your Entourage X:
To enable Exchange support on your current Entourage X, 2 updates and a bit of basic configurations are needed. None of them difficult-
Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.1 update is not necessary (v.X 10.1.2 Updater includes updates to v.X 10.1.1)
Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.2 Update. (this updater includes the previously released updates for Microsoft Office v.X for Mac: Office v.X 10.1.1 Update, Office v.X Service Release 1, Entourage X Hotmail Update and Network Security Update)
Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.3 update is not necessary (v.X 10.1.4 Updater includes updates to v.X 10.1.3)
Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.4 Update (this updater is the Microsoft Exchange Update for Entourage X) After the two updates, fire up Entourage X and continue your setup:
- Click on Tools, then Accounts.
- Click on the Exchange tab, then New.
- If the Account Setup Assistant pops up, click on Configure Account manually. Select the Account Settings tab (should be shown by default) at the following window.
- Type in an arbitrary name in the Account Name field, this is to identify the profile of this email account.
- In the Account ID field, type in your username (typically the part of your email address before the @ sign).
- Type in your password.
- Type in your domain name (you may have to ask your IT administrator if you are unsure. If you also use OWA, as a hint, this is the same name used when you log on. For example, if you log on using companydomainusername to OWA, companydomain is what you will put into this field)
- In the Exchange Server field, type in your Exchange server’s address. (e.g. exchange01.company.com) 9. Type in your name in the Name field.
- Type in your email address in the E-mail Address field.
- Click on the Mail tab.
- Select (if not already selected for you) Include this account in my “Send and Receive All” schedule.
- Finally, fill in your SMTP server name, e.g. smtp.company.com, and click OK.
You should see new messages pouring in if this account has already been in use.
At this point it is a good idea to send yourself a message to check both the sending and receiving part quickly. To check it more thoroughly, it is of course better to send to an outside address as well. If it is not working, you may have to go back and double check whether you mistyped a certain field.