Microsoft Entourage 2004 is the Macintosh version of Microsoft Outlook. Entourage
is a personal information manager, incorporating mail, an address book, a calendar,
and a task manager all into one application. Entourage 2004 comes as part of the
Office 2004 package. The latest version has improvements to viewing, adds a new Project
Manager, and now supports Microsoft Exchange accounts.
- G3 Mac or better
- OS 10.2.8 or later
- 256MB RAM
Entourage was reviewed
on a 533Mhz G4 with 384MB of RAM.
Installation and Setup
Entourage 2004 Mac, V 11.0, installed as a simple drag-and-drop from the CD. When
running, Entourage used a minimum of 35MB of RAM.
The initial setup of Entourage was easy and painless. Under the Entourage menu was
an Account Settings option. Selecting this opened up an Accounts window. I selected
the "new" icon, and the Account Setup Assistant stepped me through the
setup process. Setting up for access to my personal email at home, I entered my POP
mail server, username and password.
Entourage 2004 - Three pane display
Entourage opens in the
three-paned Mail window (see picture above). The upper left-hand portion of the window
allows the user to toggle between Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Notes, Tasks and
the new Project Center. With a click of the Send/Receive icon, Entourage connected
up, and began downloading my mail.
If you have an Exchange account, Entourage 2004 now has full support for Exchange
accounts. Rather than accessing your Exchange account as a POP server, you may now
specify your Exchange account settings just like you would on the PC under Outlook,
and your Exchange email is immediately available. This is a long overdue feature,
and it's great to see it implemented and working.
To put the folder/filing to the test, I decided to import my Apple Mail into Entourage.
Importing is found under the File Menu. The process was very easy. Select "Import
from a program", then "Apple Mail", then the type of messages (messages,
accounts, rules or signatures). Entourage copied the files over very cleanly, even
activating my rules.
The next step was to copy my Apple address book. I didn't have as much luck with
this task as I did with my mail messages. There was no straightforward way to import
the data. Entourage's Help shed no light on the subject. I finally found a couple
third-party scripts that would synchronize the data from both applications (located
at Sync Entourage Address Book and Sync Entourage iCal). At first glance, the iCal data
transferred over without any problems. With the address book data, I wasn't as lucky.
The script bombed out about mid-way through the sync. In the end, I resorted to syncing
my Palm Pilot to my Apple address book, then syncing the Palm again to Entourage.
Finally, my data was moved to Entourage.
The main window for Entourage is a general 3-zone window. The upper left-hand corner
has six icons (mail, address book, calendar, notes, tasks, and project center). Along
the left side is a folder list. The largest part of the window is the main display
for whichever function is active. The left-side portion of the window can be hidden.
The resulting view has smaller versions of the 6 function icons vertically located
along the left side of the window.
I liked the Address Book. Entourage defaults with the toolbar Icons active, displaying
the icons and their function names. Creating entries was extremely easy. Entourage's
address book has many more fields than Apple's address book. Personal information
(children names, anniversaries, astrology signs, and more) can be stored for contacts.
The address book card is tabbed, with choices of a summary, name and email, home
info, work info, personal info, and the ever-helpful "other" category.
One thing I found missing was that important dates such as my own anniversary and
birthday were not linked to the Calendar.
Another feature I found useful is while viewing an address card, an icon next to
the address (home or work) can be selected, giving the option of displaying maps
and/or driving directions.
In Mail, the main window pane can be made to display the mail message on the side
(displaying an entire page), or on the bottom (splitting the screen in half). The
side-pane view has a very comfortable appeal (folders on the left, messages in the
middle, and preview on the right). I liked the ability to view a multiple paged email
without having to open it up.
While I could find no way to customize Entourage by splitting the window into smaller
windows, there were view options available. I could place the preview pane on the
right-hand side, or on the bottom of the window. I could also turn the toolbar on
or off, as well as hide the folder list.
An alert box pops up on-screen to tell you (along with an audible alert) when new
mail arrives. New messages can be created in Word, allowing messages to be formatted
in a familiar word processor. Likewise, calendar reminders pop up when they're due
in a scrollable window list. This made it easy to select and view events as desired.
Creating new mail messages is easy. A new window opens with the "to" portion
opened up. If an address is in the address book, Entourage will pop up a menu of
address choices after typing a couple letters. I found this useful, as I'm a fairly
clumsy typist. A weakness in this feature is that while a hierarchical choice menu
is open, using the keyboard arrows will scroll up and down the list, but will not
go sideways to jump to the hierarchy. I had to switch to the mouse in order to make
I didn't find the new Project Manager very useful. Project Manager allows you to
keep track of an entire project from start to finish. While not as robust as Microsoft
Project, small projects can be managed. But I did not find added advantage to using
it. Creating milestone events in the calendar, assigning tasks and tracking status
could all be accomplished via calendar, tasking, and mail.
Microsoft Entourage 2004 is a useful personal information manager containing
email, calendar, address book and more. It is easy to install, and for users of Outlook,
it comes with an already familiar user interface. The Mac version is more polished
than the Windows counterpart, and finally supports Exchange servers. I especially
like the email preview panes of Entourage, as well as the vast amount of information
the Entourage address book supports. I did have some problems getting my Apple address
book imported into Entourage, and importing calendar events as well as integration
of calendar events with my address book could be improved. Overall, I enjoy using
Entourage. It is a reliable and powerful email client, and Entourage 2004 offers
an even better user experience than its predecessors.
- Easy drag-and-drop installation
- Entire email message
- Supports authoring emails
- Supports a lot of personal
information in Address Book entries
- Supports Exchange Server
- Does not support importing
- Unable to import my Apple
- Address Book dates (anniversaries,
birthdays, etc.) did not propagate to the calendar
out of 5 Mice