Using Entourage more and more while traveling and it is really working out pretty well. The Sync Services seem to work as advertised. I wanted to get all of my Entourage Calendar items on to my cell phone Date Book so I would be sure not to miss any meetings. Since I did not see a way for Entourage to communicate with my cell phone, I decided that iCal was the solution. I have been successfully syncing Contact and Calendar data with my Motorola e815 for a month now via bluetooth, so I figured the key was to get the Entourage calendar items over on to the iCal calendar.
Since I am communicating with my corporate Exchange account I have 2 Entourage Calendars listed; Calendar [On My Computer] and Calendar [Exchange]. I just have to make sure the Entourage Sync Services were set to synch up iCal with the [Exchange] calendar and within seconds all of my Entourage appointments, with reminders and location, were listed in the Entourage iCal calendar.
On the next iSync all of my appointments were available on my e815 and reminders for appointments that were past due today were popping up. Exactly what I wanted. Almost. Entourage had done its part perfectly, but iSync let me down here. The Location field, available in Entourage and iCal, does not sync with the phone. There are a ton of messages about this in the Apple Discussions, so I am not alone in this one, but I can’t get on Microsoft about this. This one looks to be all Apples to fix. I did file a bug report on the Apple web site. We’ll see if anything comes of it.
But I will fault Microsoft with something that drove me nuts about Entourage today. But first, you have to understand that I use Outlook at work every day, so there are things that happen with the Outlook client that I expect out of Entourage since they are both from Microsoft. In Entourage signatures are attached to the account you are using. The signature will add itself to every message you send. It doesn’t matter if you create the email, reply to it, or forward it, the signature is going to attach if you have selected a default. You can configure Outlook to only apply the signature to messages you create. I want the same control in Entourage. As a workaround I removed the default signature and just add it from the toolbar when I create a message. Not optimal, but it will work from now. Microsoft should fix this one.
So I am pretty happy with Entourage so far. I think Microsoft did a good job with it and I would give it a 7 out of 10. I still question why Microsoft didn’t just give us a real Outlook client. Without telling us the real reason they leave the door open for guys like me to speculate that they did it to further protect the Office for Windows product. If Microsoft gave us a full Outlook client like the one for Windows there would be more of a chance that OS X could be used in the enterprise. We wouldn’t want that to happen, now would we?
UPDATE – Looks like I can’t be too upset with Apple over the Location field not syncing with my phone. As I look at the fields my phone has in the Date Book, I only see Title, Start, Duration, Date, Repeat, and Alarm. Some people are working around this by adding the Location data to the Title field, but this doesn’t really work for me since the Title field is not very long on my phone and a lot of the meetings I have, or get invited to, have longer names. Looks like just carrying my phone to remind me of meetings is not going to work out too well. At least I get a reminder about the meeting, I’ll just need to be near a computer to dig out the Location data.
Maybe it’s Motorola I should be upset with.