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Top 5 Reasons Why I Dropped Entourage 2008

Entourage TrashedI gave Entourage 2008 a go for a few weeks, but have since switched back to Thunderbird. It was really a lot of little things that just kept adding up.

Here are the top 5 reasons why I dropped Entourage 2008.

  1. No Hyperlink Support – You can’t link a few words in emails. This was one that really gets me. I’m always linking phrases to tutorials or additional resources so that people know what I’m talking about.
    • Official Microsoft MVP Support Answer: This function is not available.
  2. No Table Support – Entourage 2008 can read tables, but as soon as you hit reply, the table disappears and you are left with a mess of text. I get a lot of messages with tables in them (copied from Excel and pasted into Outlook) and so I do need to keep the formatting.
    • Official Microsoft MVP Support Answer: Entourage can *display* complex HTML such as tables but it can not *compose* messages with HTML. That’s why when you reply the formatted is gone.
  3. No Strikethrough support. – Another basic HTML item that is just not available. You can’t strikeout any text and Entourage can’t read it. When someone sends me a quick update to a webpage, if I can’t see what they want me to remove, I can’t do my job.
    • Official Microsoft MVP Support Answer: Neither bugs nor features. Entourage is simply working as it was designed to work. Its HTML capabilities are limited. Strike-through is not one of its supported text styles.
  4. Calendar Syncing is OK – I often had conflicts when I had Entourage automatically syncing to iCal. I’d open up iCal and it’d ask me which even was right; the one in iCal or Entourage? Then, trying to update my Google calendar online was another issue in itself.
  5. Not so friendly help. – There is a good community of Microsoft Mac MVPs (MVPs are not Microsoft Employees) over at the official Microsoft site (also syndicated via Google Groups) and their answers are sometimes not so friendly. It made me feel bad just to ask questions.
    • Official Microsoft MVP Support Answer:
    (on the subject of inserting links into emails)
    Plain text is the preferred method for emails by people who know the internet. It is efficient, safe, virus-free, will be readable by any mail client at the other end, doesn’t impose your font, size, style preferences on others, and has far smaller risk of being filtered out by spam filters.

    HTML email is dangerous because it may contain links to external sites that will do malicious things. For instance, a spammer can include a link to an image, but this link contains a tag as data. The server at the other end will get that request when your *read your email* and based on the tag, will be able to confirm that you’ve read the email and not only flag your email address as active/good, but also use your IP with geolocation servers to assign a location code so that they can then sell your email address to other spammers along with your general location. If everyone stopped sending HTML emails, everyone would block it, and then spammers would be left with very few means to escape spam filters because their messages would have to b simple and without tricks.

    HTML email is wasteful, dangerous, and rude, IMO. It’s just plain evil.

Overall, Entourage 2008 is a decent application. But it’s missing so many small items that eventually, I just got frustrated and moved back to Thunderbird.

Entourage was unable to perform in a business environment for me. If your company never sends, or receives, HTML in emails, than it might work out OK for you. However, I strongly suggest checking out Thunderbird. It is an excellent email application and I’m very happy to be using it again!

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14 Responses

  1. ptackbar says:

    Why not give Mail.app a try? It’s obviously got great integration with iCal…

  2. Thomas says:

    Mail.app under Leopard passed all my iCal and Outlook tests. Under 10.4.x it failed with odd characters and calendar integration was just OK.

  3. carlivar says:

    I agree with the MVP about HTML email. HTML email is evil. HTML is for web pages. If you really want to send HTML stuff why not just attach an .html document? That seems more appropriate.

    There is no perfect mail client for the Mac, if you’re stuck with Exchange on the server side for business calendaring. Every single client has drawbacks.

    Choose your poison.

  4. Thomas says:

    carlivar – There is a huge difference between some bold text and three links and an entire webpage though. I don’t aim to go crazy, just a few formatting choices.

  5. James says:

    I had high hopes for office:mac 2008, let down bigstyle…

    I use Outlook 07 in parallels and live by it, I use exchange to sync my macbook, windows mobile and also on web access and it runs my business. Entourage is absolutely bobbins.

    No support for exchange tasks, no server side categories for calender or mail.

    Complete waste of time, emailed MS and they aren’t bothered. Just replied saying it’s not a true MAPI client.

    Still using outlook in parallels, means having windows running all the time though.

  6. John says:

    With mail.app you cannot set it to NOT mark an email as read when you have preview on. That drives me crazy, especially when you search as it jumps through emails while you type your search text. Entourage has a lot of good features to manage emails. The only really bad one I suffer is the inability to create tables, but still, the best client I’ve used (I’ve also used mail.app and Thunderbird).

  7. Phil says:

    ABSOLUTELY agree with on pretty much every point. The failure to support HTML more fully (esp Tables) just kills me for the same reasons .. my corporate email is FULL of tables, either directly formatted HTML, or pasted Excel. Honestly, I waffle back-and-forth to using Outlook in Parallels and using Entourage. Thunderbird and Mail.app are unusable in this environment — Entourage is close, but it is the details that are so frustrating. FWIW, in general I agree that (7-bit!!!) ASCII is the way to go, and I’d like to get rid of all HTML after the original HTML 1.0 spec for web pages. But then, I’d prefer to ride a horse to work or driving, but that also isn’t practical…. 🙂

  8. CRG says:

    I ran across a transcript of the HTML debate that you referenced before coming across this page. I also was searching for a way to insert a hyperlink into an Entourage email message. My conclusions were the same as yours with regard to #5.

    The MVPs were downright haughty and far from helpful. I suspect that most of the people on that thread understood the drawbacks of HTML, but also see value in it when used in moderation. Yet most of the MVPs spent their text with condescending and borderline insulting responses to the people asking questions rather than giving helpful information.

    Anyway, it’s off to Thunderbird for me.

  9. Spanners says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one a bit peeved with Entourage. Just crossed platform from PC to Mac, and Exchange and HTML mass emails are big facets of our business process. I’m sick of Microsoft and MVPs taking the “We know what’s best for you” attitude. If I want hyperlinks and pretty designs for my emails, then I’ll fricken have them!

    Going to try out Snow Leopard’s Mail with Exchange compatibility and see how I go.

  10. Elaine says:

    I went Mac last July and started out with Mail although I had Entourage. I finally went over to Entourage because the calendar application is so much better than iCal and I wanted my company logo to go out on the email not as an attachment which is irritating about Apple Mail. Been fooling with it for three weeks now after big hassle of organizing my contacts in the Entourage address book, but I’m going to look at the Thunderbird application mentioned here. Aside from above issue, here’s what I hate. When you select cc or bcc you get that drop down for addresses that causes you to keep going back to the mouse rather than being able to address your email only with key strokes. Very bad feature. Addressing emails to large groups and organizing contacts sucks. Apple Address book is a much better contact manager. When you do a bcc email to large group, try printing out a copy of where it went — never did figure that out. It is cumbersome. If I knew a way to just load the calendar app, I would do so, because it is really good.

    • Thomas says:

      I’ve tried to just use Entourage’s calendar and it just doesn’t work. You either need to use the whole app or nothing.

      As far as logos in your emails, Mail.app should be able to do that with templates. I haven’t used them, but it should be possible.

  11. John B says:

    Thanks for your post. I won’t be upgrading to Office 2008. I just wish Filemaker supported Thunderbird.

    • Thomas says:

      I wonder if Office 2011 will be any better. I heard a rumor of Outlook for Mac but I’m not sure. I kind of hope so even though I’m not a Microsoft fan.

  12. Ray says:

    The only advantage to Entourage is that, if you are using another MS Office program, you can send it simply by selecting “File/Send to >” instead of attaching the document to the e-mail message. This feature only works with Entourage — not with T-bird, Eudora, etc.

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