Copywriter, technical writer, translator (FR>EN, ES>EN, IT>EN), journalist

Entourage: a eulogy

This fall, Microsoft will release Office: Mac 2011, which coincides with Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows. To me, the most notable change will be the reintroduction of Outlook to the Mac and the dropping of Entourage.

From what I’ve read about this, I might be the only person chanting a dirge when Entourage starts to fade away.

True, I’ve switched away from Entourage. I don’t even have it on my current Mac for one simple reason: the database it creates gets corrupted too easily and needs too much maintenance. That makes Entourage essentially useless.

And that’s sad, since when it works properly, it’s so much better than the Outlook for Windows that I recall. You see, Outlook also handles email, contacts, calendars, notes and task lists. But Entourage does all this better than Outlook, in two specific ways:

1) Entourage doesn’t overcomplicate things by including stuff nobody uses (really, when was the last time you tried to recall an email?). It’s simple enough to understand and use, truly a Mac application.

2) Entourage includes a sixth element, the Project Center.

Let me explain the second point. My projects each make use of:

  • A project email folder
  • A project document folder
  • Calendar entries
  • Tasks
  • Contacts
  • Notes

When I created Entourage projects and assigned things to them, they all showed up in that project’s “dashboard,” where I could focus on planning that one project alone. Then I could switch out to a more general view to check for calendar conflicts, days that were overloaded with tasks, and so forth.

Brilliant. Simple. What software should be. And soon to die.

I don’t know what Outlook for the Mac will offer, but I sincerely hope that Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit keeps the things that made Entourage magically practical.

4 Comments
  1. The Project Center was the best kept Mac secrete. No one else seems to use it but I live by it. If you can find anything close to a replacement please let me know. Putting emails, files, and even notes in the same location so saved by skin.

    • When I gave up on Entourage, I ponied up a couple hundred dollars to buy Daylite, from http://www.MarketCircle.com. It has a lot of Entourage features but a few weaknesses as well, weaknesses that keep me tied to syncing with iCal and Address Book. Still, it’s a decent piece of software and its database has yet to go corrupt on me in a year and a half of usage. I suggest you download the 30-day trial.

      And if you do find something different that’s as comprehensive, let me know – I’ll try any software once.

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