Up until 2 days ago, I always felt like something was missing. As a Mac user I have been exposed to a plethora of amazing software that Windows developers cannot come close to replicating. I could modify any file on a website in a matter of seconds using Coda, flip through databases and execute queries with Sequel Pro, schedule upcoming tasks with Things, and the list goes on. But a trusted email software was always missing.
I used Apple’s Mail application to send emails throughout the day, but using it almost drove me to start handwriting letters; it would crash incessantly. Oh, and do you have Exchange 2010? Sorry, Mail can’t utilize its features – not even push.
I was excited about Snow Leopard because I knew the new Mail could handle Exchange, and it can, but only if you’re using 2007 or below. Also, if you are using Exchange 2010 with Mail and you enable the new Archive Mailbox feature, Mail will no longer connect to the Exchange server. At this point I wanted to rip my hair out. In my frustration, I had the thought of switching to a PC just to experience a real E-mail client. Of course, I would never actually do this as my productivity would plummet.
Outlook 2011 for Mac
While perusing the Apple store I noticed that Microsoft released Office 2011. I didn’t read anything about it but I knew Office 2008 was dated and buggy so I picked up a copy. Once the installation completed, I looked over the new icons on my Dock, and what is this I see? Is that a big capital “O”? No… it can’t be!? Microsoft Outlook has arrived for OS X.
Oh, the joy since that day! I can send E-mails at blinding speed. Below are some other reasons why I say that Outlook 2011 for Mac is AMAZING.
Everything under one roof
In Outlook my E-mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Notes are integrated into one application. Something I never understood about the standard Mac software was the separation of utilities. Why have your address book and your calendar detached from your e-mail client? These things belong together. In Outlook I can quickly switch between each of these utilities using keyboard shortcuts (E-mail: ⌘+1, Calendar: ⌘+2, Contacts: ⌘+3, Tasks: ⌘+4, Notes: ⌘+5)
Outlook eats up about 68.7 MB of memory. Mail, Address Book, iCal and Stickies eat up 61.0 MB, 35.7 MB, 40.2 MB and 12.3 MB respectively, totalling 149.2 MB of memory to perform the same tasks Outlook can do alone. I don’t factor Tasks into this equation because, as nice as Outlook Tasks are, I still prefer to use Things.
Locating a message In Mail can be a pain. You type in some criteria in the search box and it defaults to search who the message is ‘From’. You can modify this criteria to search within the content of a message, the ‘To’ field or the ‘Subject’ field, but that’s all. I don’t want my mail client limiting my search capabilities. Outlook leverages the NSPredicate object of Objective-C and lets you utilize its full power in their Advanced Search. The level of granularity is astounding, and you can even write your own raw query!
Sometimes in Mail, it is difficult to go back and read a long list of messages and all the replies that go with them. Outlook makes this simple with Conversations. A Conversation is a logical grouping of an original message with all replies associated with it. It also logs other relevant data, such as the last person to reply. This feature is a lifesaver when looking through old E-mails. It can get obnoxious when looking through newly arrived messages, but, thankfully, it can be disabled.
Outlook 2011 Overview
Outlook 2011 is overwhelming – in the good sense of the word. It is jam-packed with all sorts of great features and customizations. I can:
- Move the reading pane to any position
- Schedule a meeting based on an E-mail
- Quickly contact a coworker via Communicator
- View a preview of “My Day”
- And many, many more great features
Outlook 2011 feels more like a Mac app than Mail does. The Office Mac team at Microsoft went all out and I am overly impressed. Where Mail is a hurdle, Outlook is a pair of rocket-powered rollerblades. It’ll really fly once someone creates a Quicksilver Plugin.
If you don’t have Outlook 2011, get it. Now.