Outlook for Mac: A Quick Rant

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Anyone who has the choice to use Entourage and Outlook 2011 and chooses Entourage, chooses poorly.  That program’s monolithic database is a time bomb waiting to corrupt.  Just ‘Google’ “Entourage database” to see what I mean.  A mountain of missing functions and incompatibilites with standard enterprise-level services is the KEYSTONE to Entourage’s reputation as a piece of shit in and out of IT circles.

I understand people’s reasons for not wanting to change.  Entourage’s interface requires complete faith and immersion.  When you put that much into a product…when you get to that point where you’ve minimized the time in front of your email and you can put your energies into your REAL job, you don’t want to change. I get that.  As an IT person, I’m confronted with software changes 100 times more than the typical user.  I’m not complaining…this is why I make the big bucks. <grin>

Bottom line: I have no issue with a person’s choice of OS/Interface.  What I have issue with is someone intentionally using flawed software when there is a vastly superior alternative.

You may be happy with Entourage.  Good.  Good for you. <patronizing>.  However, don’t complain when things break or don’t work like the rest of your co-workers’ systems do, ok?  And don’t act as if it is IT’s fault that you can’t move forward in time without a Tardis.  If you’re in an enterprise environment, switch to Outlook 2011.




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Issue:  Some Outlook emails to Mac users result in an empty email with an attachment named winmail.dat that is a bunch of unreadable junk. Winmail.dat is a result of the email client being used (usually Outlook) sending the email as an RTF (Rich Text File).  Mac systems cannot interpret messages sent in an RTF format. Since the Mac won’t read the file, it converts it to a winmail.dat file.

There are two ways to fix this issue. One is a Windows fix and the other is a Mac fix. I suggest both the Windows & the Mac users fix their side of the issue or they will continue to run into this problem again and again with other users.

Windows Users:  Know your audience and adjust your email format.

Mac Users:  Bombard Apple with requests that they fix this issue!

Fix (Mac): There are dozens of free programs available for the Mac which allows them to read the file. Here’s an example:

Fix (Windows):  Please verify that you are sending in plain text or HTML. If you want to send “clickable” email links then HTML is the option you want.

If you’re using Outlook 2007 or 2010, go to File >Options >Compose Messages and then select the format to “HTML” or “Plain Text”

A colleague adds this bit of anti-Mac venom:  “Mac users are convinced the root problem is a Microsoft problem, not a Mac problem, so they don’t bother ….to fix the issue. The Mac user simply points the problem back to the Microsoft user … The only way you can remedy the problem on [the Windows] end is not to use rich text format and only use plain text format. This is the only rudimentary format that Macs can handle.”