Here is a common and very good question, which contact management suite should I use? Well if you haven’t purchased Office for Mac 2008 then the answer is pretty obvious, you are going to be using the Mac included contact management solution that consists of three separate programs: Mail, Address Book and iCal.
Now if you purchased Office for Mac 2008 you may just be thinking to yourself, I want to get my moneys worth so I may as well use the included MS Entourage Contact management program that seems very “Outlook” like. I’d say the best thing Entourage has going for it is it’s resemblance to Outlook so it may feel a bit more comfortable to some Switchers. There in lies the trap, “familiarity”. If “comfort or familiarity” are the main reason you are considering going with Entourage you may want to think again.
Now I don’t want to seem like an MS basher but there are some things that you will need to consider before committing to using Entourage, and by committing I mean committing because once all your email, contact lists and calendar events are imported into Entourage it’s not going to be fun having to move them over to Apple’s Mail, Address Book and iCal.
So what about getting your Outlook data over to the Mac, wouldn’t it be easier to move Outlook data into Entourage rather then Apple’s contact management solution? The short answer is it’s the same solution for both, I strongly suggest you pay the $10 to Simple Machines and use (O2M) Outlook to Mac for the heavy lifting. You will shave off hours of your time and the end result will be all your contacts, email and calendar info transferred into either Entourage or Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal – your choice.
Both the Apple and Microsoft solutions will work well and will do most of the same things so what do I suggest, I never thought you would ask? I say go with Apple all the way and here’s why.
Apple has really cranked their included contact management software up a notch in Leopard with new features like: Mails Stationary and Photo Browser, plus the ability to preview with Quick Look and save groups of photos right into iPhoto. Address Book may seem simple to look at but it’s really a very solid contacts program and the fact that every field is searchable and its Address Book is fully integrated into the core of Leopard makes sharing its data base with other programs seamless. iCal now allows you to link files to events and can turn even the most cluttered work week into a very easy to follow timeline.
Some other things you may not have considered when choosing to go with MS Entourage for Mac 2008 over Apple’s Mail, Address Book and iCal. Do you have an iPod, iPhone, .Mac account or any iSync compatible device or maybe you plan to get one in the future? I can guarantee that Apple’s included contact management suite will synchronize all your data much more effectively than Office Entourage will. Sure there are 3rd party ways to do just about anything but these just add another layer of complication and potential incompatibility to the equation.
Here is a case in point, I find it necessary to use a more full featured contact management program for my business and so in my research to find a program that was truly Apple compatible I discovered Contactizer Pro which is an amazing contact management program that works in harmony (the data is shared between both programs) with Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal so I have seamless synchronization with my iPhone and .Mac account, and if tomorrow Contactizer Pro where to throw in the towel (crazy talk) well at least I could fall back on my Apple solution as everything is all right there.
Another thing I like about Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal is the fact they are separately running programs, they look inside each other but can be launched independently meaning I can open just my Address Book if I want and not get bombarded with 50 new email. Another advantage to this is being able to use “Command-Tab” between the three running programs quickly and easily, with MS Entourage I can open a window for each (mail – Contacts – Calendar) but I would have to use Exposé to shuffle between them which would require a mouse click for selection rather than a key command which is much faster.
I’m not done yet, I bet you love Time Machine and its ability to dig deep into your mail and contact data just incase you erased that important email or contact a few weeks back and now you need it! Oh I’m sorry, you’re using Entourage? Entourage is just not supported in this manner with Time Machine, you could replace your entire Entourage contact management data with the data from two weeks ago but that wouldn’t be very useful..
When you invest in Apple you are investing in a company that is committed to making all of its product the best in the industry, they have everything to gain by doing this. Microsoft could pull the plug tomorrow if they wanted to and then where would you be? My point is this, Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal really hold their own when compared to Microsoft Entourage, if your only reason to go with Entourage is familiarity please do yourself a favor and take a look at what Apple offers in this area, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised…
This post was originally authored by Mike Kaye