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

Project management on a Mac

Freelance writer Jane Langille asked me about Outlook for Mac, now that it’s back on the market and has replaced Microsoft Entourage.

“Is it worth buying the new Office for Mac Home & Business version 2011 just to get Outlook? The project management integration between Mail, iCal and a to-do list is woefully inadequate compared to what I remember about Outlook 2003, which I was using in my PC days.”

The Mac to-do list is, to put it mildly, well below the high standard Apple sets for its software. That’s a show-stopper for any entrepreneur who wants to use native Mac apps as a personal information manager (PIM).

If you liked Outlook on Windows, chances are you’ll also like Outlook on Mac. It’s so similar that “switchers” to Mac will pick it up pretty quickly. Microsoft also claims it’s Time-Machine friendly, so you won’t have to worry about backups (you do back up your Mac, don’t you?). If you’re comfortable using Outlook, you’ll find Outlook for Mac a worthwhile purchase, IMHO.

About two years ago, I spent an amount comparable to the cost of Microsoft Office on (plus time to learn) Daylite, which integrates with Mac Mail and syncs with iCal and Address Book. Daylite betters Outlook by offering an iPhone/iPad app and specifically managing projects and opportunities better than Outlook does. (These advantages keep me from using Outlook any more than the day or so I spent on it in the fall of 2010.)

Other products, like Google Apps, also work very well, and if you look you can find these other options. That said, if you don’t have Microsoft Office and need a solid PIM, you won’t go wrong buying Office specifically to acquire Outlook.

What software do you use to manage your calendars, contacts, tasks and so forth? Why? Let us know in the comments below.