Office 2011: Outlook FAQ

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A while back, we asked you what you wanted to know about Microsoft's latest software suite, Office 2011. In return, we got a flood of queries about the new versions of Word, Excel, and Outlook. (We didn't get too many questions about PowerPoint; perhaps they'd all been answered in our review.) A few weeks ago, we posted our answers to your Excel questions. It's taken us a few more weeks, but we finally have some answers to your questions about Outlook 2011, the e-mail, calendaring, to-do, and contacts app. Stay tuned for our answers for Word 2011; they'll be coming soon.


Will Outlook import everything from an existing Entourage installation (accounts, contacts, mail, calendar events, categories, and so on)?
Yes. You can import data files created in Entourage 2004, 2008, and Entourage EWS, as well as those created in Outlook 2003 for Windows or later. Everything you’ve listed, as well as projects, will import.

After years of using Windows (and Office), I’ve just switched to a Mac. Can I move my mailboxes and archived mail from my Windows installation to Office 2011? What about templates, rules, and other items contained in .nk2, .xml, .srs, .oft, and other file types?
Yes. You can import Windows PST and those other files to your Mac.

Can I sync Entourage notes with Outlook?

Will I still be able to use Entourage if I install Office 2011?

Will Outlook import directly from Apple's Mail, iCal, and Address Book?
Outlook 2011 will sync contacts from Address Book, and you can sync e-mail accounts with Mail. However, Outlook 2011 won’t sync events or tasks from iCal (in part because Microsoft’s primary design goal with Outlook was to make it work with Exchange).

Is there an Entourage converter utility?
Outlook handles the data conversion natively.


What are the Exchange server requirements for using Outlook?
Outlook for Mac 2011 requires Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 or later. It won’t work with earlier versions of Exchange.

Does Outlook still use Exchange Web Services (EWS) for e-mail? Or does it use WebDAV or MAPI?
Outlook uses EWS. The company says it has not plans to move to WebDAV or MAPI.

Does Outlook support delegates when using an Exchange server?
Yes, Outlook supports delegate settings across the Mac and PC.

Can I view shared, editable calendars of coworkers on the same Exchange Server?
Outlook 2011 automatically consolidates multiple calendars—such as a shared Exchange calendar—in an overlay view. Among other things, it lets you compare schedules without switching windows.

To access my company’s Exchange server today, I point Entourage at the address we use for Webmail (which uses Outlook Web App [OWA] and is accessible to the Internet.) One benefit is that I can access my corporate e-mail through Entourage without being logged into the corporate VPN. Is this possible in Outlook?
Yes. You can connect Outlook to Exchange without the VPN.

Does Outlook support Kerberos authentication?

Does Outlook for Mac 2011 allow you to manipulate Exchange server-side rules, as the Windows version does?

Will the new Outlook have push e-mail?
Outlook checks for new mail on the Exchange server every minute. Push notifications were added in Exchange 2010, and Microsoft says it’s looking at adding support for them in a future version of Outlook.

Does Outlook 2011 have an option to disable Cached Exchange Mode (as you can in Outlook for Windows), so it does not copy everything to your hard drive?

Will Outlook for Mac support Custom Distribution Groups at the server level?
No. Outlook for Mac doesn’t support personal distribution lists at this time.


Will Outlook sync with MobileMe?
Outlook 2011 supports MobileMe’s contacts; you can also sync your MobileMe e-mail account with Outlook 2011. Outlook 2011 does not support MobileMe calendar or tasks.

Can Outlook sync with iCal?
No. (See “Will Outlook import directly from Apple Mail, iCal, and Address Book?” above.)

Can Outlook sync with Gmail and Google Calendar?
Outlook 2011 will work with Gmail accounts and contacts, but not with Google Calendar.

Does Outlook support CalDAV?

Will Outlook's calendar and contacts sync easily with the iPhone?
Because the iPhone supports Exchange accounts, and because Outlook is designed primarily for use with Exchange servers, you should be able to access your e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks with your iPhone; you should also be able to work with your company’s global address list and calendars.

I keep a PC Outlook PST file on my USB drive at work. Will the new Outlook for Mac be able to read it and allow changes back home on my iMac and still cooperate with Outlook for Windows at work? In other words, can I shuttle the single PST file back and forth between OSs?
Yes, you can import the PST files to your Mac; they’ll be converted to OLM. You’ll then have to use an export tool to convert those files back to PST so they can be used on your PC.

My secretary uses Windows, but I use a Mac. Will I be able to allow her to view and make changes to my Calendar if I’m using Outlook 2011 and she’s using Outlook for Windows?

Does Outlook 2011 have an Outlook Connector to connect to Windows Live accounts, like its Windows counterpart?
The Outlook Social Connector in Windows will not work with Outlook for Mac 2011. However, it will sync with Windows Live e-mail accounts through POP.

With the new database architecture in Outlook, can I store the database in the cloud (on MobileMe, say, or SkyDrive), and then access it from multiple computers?
You can store files on SkyDrive (or, if you’re a corporate or enterprise user, on SharePoint). MobileMe is not supported.

Does Outlook support Hotmail syncing?
Outlook 2011 will sync e-mail with Windows Live Hotmail accounts. However, it won't sync calendars, contacts, or tasks from those accounts.

Other features

Does the Mac version have the drag-and-drop features (such as making an appointment from a contact) that the Windows version has?
Right now, the only way you can do this is via AppleScript. Microsoft says that it’s looking into making these kinds of features native in a future version, but it has no concrete plans to do so right now.

Can you open .msg files?

Can Outlook Notes be exported to a more standard format—such as .docx?
You can drag them to the desktop, where they’ll be saved as .html files.

Does Outlook for Mac have the Journal feature found in the Windows version?

Does the calendar allow you to default to a week view? (In Entourage, you had to switch to the week view manually every time; the program wouldn’t remember your last view or default to a selected view.)
Yes. You can set week view as the default.

Do Outlook Notes share the same categories as the rest of the app?

Does Outlook do data recognition, like Mail?
No. Because there are no APIs that would let third-party developers do the same data-detection thing as Mail, Outlook can’t do it.

Can you assign tasks or delegate task management?

Does Outlook 2011 support mail templates, so you don’t have to re-create e-mails with common content every time?
No. It does not support mail templates.

Can you make Outlook use the Mac OS Address Book as the default contact list?
You can sync the two, bringing your Address Book into Outlook automatically.

Entourage included links between items. Will Outlook also include links between items?
No. Microsoft says that this feature was left out of Outlook due to low usage and reliability.

Outlook for Windows allows you to configure the calendar pane so that two time zones appear. Does Outlook 2011 do this?

Can you view mail headers and raw message source in Outlook 2011?
Yes. Right-click a message in the item list and select View Source.

Does Outlook’s task manager support subtasks?
No, that isn’t supported on the Mac or on Windows.

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At a Glance
  • Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011

  • Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011

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