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Entourage 2004

I'm giving Entourage 2004 a whirl today. In other words, I've received my copy and upgraded my v.X database to a 2004 database. My thoughts, as brief or as long as they turn out…

I won't be using the three-pane view: I like to see full-width emails, and I like to see all of my columns. I don't even use the preview pane - I open my emails in their own windows. My main window is as wide as I need to see the columns I need to see and as tall as I need to see all of my folders. The three-pane view can be seen here. I guess this means I won't be able to thread my messages either, which is a bit of a crock.

I couldn't care less about the project center: I use Entourage only from the Office suite. I won't use Entourage to organize my "other documents" because I have something to do that for me already: the Finder.

I've disabled SpamSieve temporarily to see how Entourage's built-in spam detection works this go 'round.

The toolbars are bugging the shit out of me. For example, the "Delete" button collapses to just an icon before the "Junk/Not Junk" button. I don't even want the junk buttons on my toolbar let alone taking up more space than "Delete." I'm not an email hoarder: my delete key gets a workout. This begs the bigger question: why the fuck can't I configure my toolbar the way I want? It's 2004, Microsoft! We're on Mac OS X 10.3! Get with the program eh? Fucking ridiculous.

There remains no integration with the Address Book. Nor, for that matter, any other part of my system. But hey, there's good integration with MSN Messenger! Y'know, yet another thing I wish to remove from my computer, my email application's toolbar, and the like. Fucking ridiculous.

The locations of the Drafts and Outbox have flipped. The order they're in now actually makes more sense, but it will take some getting used to.

I'll use the "Groups" separators ("Today", "Last Year") in some folders, but I've already turned it off in other folders. I wish the appearance was customizable, because it's hideously ugly right now. I'd rather it look like iPhoto's separators (without the ugly film roll icon).

Sorting doesn't work properly. When items are sorted by date, sometimes items in the "Today" Group are sorted improperly, for example. Not quite fucking ridiculous, but pretty damn silly if you ask me. I'm staring at a "Today" list right now of three items: 10:32am, 3:45am, 11:09am. In that order, when sorted by date. Clicking the column header twice (to invert and revert) forces them into the proper order. Ain't no way I'm gonna be clickin' column headers all day long.

The current version (I'm using the demo until my actual copy arrives Friday) won't let me uncheck "Leave a copy of the message on the server." I am chalking that up to "it's a demo, they wanted to keep your email safe" for now.

Suddenly, ProFont is using curly quotes and things when I'm writing email. Plain-text regular old email. I'm not sure why it's doing this at all. It's even doing things like ligatures (that's when "f" and "i" merge, right?" What the hell??? "F" and "i" are not the same damn character, and hitting delete shouldn't delete them both! Entourage v.X offered far more control over font-smoothing than the current version, and that sucks. No combination of settings seems to match the way I had them in v.X.

I want to hide the stupid "Folders on My Computer" top-level folder, since ALL of my folders are on y computer, and all it does is waste space. However, I cannot.

The desktop notifications you can get are fine… except you can't reposition the window to appear where you want it to appear. I've had to turn it off. I don't want it in the bottom-right-hand corner of my display.

Entourage still uses resource-fork sound sets. When, oh when, might they abandon the ol' resource fork? Heaven forbid they use folders or something that's easily created on Mac OS X…

Hitting "Mark as Junk" or whatever it's called does not also make a message marked as read. Like I want to see a bold spam folder with a big red "188" next to it!

So, what does this version yield me? What have I noticed that I like? Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. I may figure some things out, and I'll revise this entry as I do, but right now I'm mostly pissed, and seriously considering moving to Mail.

18 Responses to "Entourage 2004"

  1. Maybe it means that Word will support ligatures, which is no time too soon.

  2. Ugh, who cares? It shouldn't "support ligatures" in a fixed-width font in email.

  3. The "leave mail on server" thing is in fact a data-protection feature of the test drive.

    I once read a comment (can't remember if it was a blog post or in the newsgroup) that MS doesn't consider the system address book "rich enough". No idea if that's true or not.

  4. I considered trying out Entourage for this test drive, and after downloading and messing around with Entourage all of 15 minutes I opted not too. There's something about dealing with a program that makes it feel like you're wrestling with an inelegant elephant I don't like. Improved? Yes, but still the ease of use is lacking.

    I really like Mail, and now that I use PulpFiction, it's more fun.

  5. Here are a few good links. Darien's comment here got me MPW, which I'm now using instead of ProFont in Entourage to avoid the ligature bullshit. These two pages discuss the use of Monaco in Entourage v.X and 2004.

  6. Here are the fonts installed:

    Abadi MT Condensed Extra Bold

    Abadi MT Condensed Light

    Andale Mono


    Arial Black

    Arial Narrow

    Arial Rounded Bold

    Baskerville Old Face


    Bauhaus 93

    Bell MT

    Bernard MT Condensed

    Book Antiqua

    Bookman Old Style


    Britannic Bold

    Brush Script

    Calisto MT


    Century Gothic

    Century Schoolbook


    Comic Sans MS

    Cooper Black

    Copperplate Gothic Bold

    Copperplate Gothic Light

    Curlz MT


    Edwardian Script ITC

    Engravers MT


    Footlight Light



    Gill Sans Ultra Bold

    Gloucester MT Extra Condensed

    Goudy Old Style





    Imprint MT Shadow


    Lucida Blackletter

    Lucida Bright

    Lucida Calligraphy

    Lucida Fax

    Lucida Handwriting

    Lucida Sans

    Lucida Sans Typewriter

    Matura Script Capitals


    Modern No. 20

    Monotype Corsiva

    Monotype Sorts

    MS Gothic.ttf

    MS Mincho.ttf

    MS PGothic.ttf

    MS PMincho.ttf

    MT Extra

    News Gothic MT


    Perpetua Titling MT




    Rockwell Extra Bold




    Times New Roman

    Trebuchet MS


    Wide Latin


    Wingdings 2

    Wingdings 3

  7. So given all of these complaints, Erik, why do you use Entourage at all? There must be something about it that justifies all this pain.

    I used Entourage back in the 10.0 and 10.1 days, I think. I loved it at the time, despite all its failings. But now I'm all about Mail. I mean, if nothing else the integration between my email program and my Bluetooth cell phone is enough for me.

    So why do you use Entourage at all?

  8. From a link provided in the previous entry, I downloaded the "MPW" font and set Entourage to use it with my plain-text emails. Here's what I found: I freaked out, thinking that my 23" Cinema display was going fuzzy in...

  9. Mail annoys the heck out of me, especially the way it wastes all those folders and whatnot in the drawer (plus, I generally don't like drawers), and I also find its lack of labels to be really, really frustrating. It's not a "pro" email app. Entourage is, and I've yet to find one better.

  10. I think it is interesting that you don't use Mail but you designed a newsreader based on its interface.

    I personally love Entourage, I can't live without it. I use it for calendar, address book and email. Office 2004 unfortunately did not update it much, at all, as you have clearly demonstrated.

    The spam protection built in is crap, FYI. I like the new look but otherwise I see no reason to upgrade if you only use Entourage (unless, of course, you want to stay up to date on application versions).

  11. PulpFiction has labels. 🙂

  12. hmm. I've never used labels for email (I prefer to just file things in folders) but Mail does have the ability to set both the text color and background color of a message in the message list. This can be done automatically with a rule, and I think it can also be done with Applescript so you could build your own "label" menu items in the script menu.

    Mail is actually one of the few programs where I really like its use of a drawer (of course, I have at least 20 folders for my mail, and three different accounts).

  13. You know, I had really high hopes for the Project Center thingamajig. The idea of being able to have a unified center where I can see all the appointments, tasks, email, and contacts that deal with any one small project in either school or business is enticing.

    Sadly, Project Center does not live up to my expectations. I might have been expecting too much, and I might not have given it enough time yet, but hopefully I can use it for something.

    But I do like Entourage's "Preview Pane on Right" in the same way that Office 2003 for Windows currently does it. It seems much more open, and I'm not forced to scroll down a tiny 5 line tall list of all my emails. I see 20 emails on the left side, and see the full page-layout of the email on the right side. I like it a lot. 🙂

  14. Sure, Entourage shouldn't "support ligatures" in a fixed-width font in email (at least, not until gcc can cope with ligatured #define statements :)). That's not what I meant. It's just that I've had to use Word v.X a bit in the last few weeks and being used to LaTeX, InDesign and TextEdit, I can't bear unligatured fi's in printed documents anymore (heck, ligatures were invented for a reason, and this reason is that an fi without ligature in a serif font on paper is fucking ugly). So I was hoping the misplaced ligatures in Entourage meant well-placed ligatures in Word too.

    Note that at least in TextEdit, hitting delete after a ligatured fi breaks the ligature and only deletes the i (and you can turn ligatures off from the font panel). If Microsoft didn't understand that this is the only decent behaviour here, they deserve a proper punishment.

  15. i feel like ms went about 50/50 on Entourage in terms of marrying the outlook interface with the AHIG. i really think it is truly a bastard program that is no good for me. the rules on it were childish and did not behave how i like them without me manually running them. I know that carbon can be good, but i think sticking to cocoa apps for email and web seem to be the way to go. i cannot go without cocoa suite or my services, and entourage bombs where mail thrives.

    i also don't like how it has a half version of most of the apple iApps. it kind of has a calendar, kind of an address book and kind does email. I just think it is totally icky and to be avoided. if you need a good mail program and you are going to be paying for it i would think mailsmith would be the way to go, especially if you like bbedit. I try to avoid carbon apps like the plague if there is a cocoa alternative.

  16. A solution to your message sorting issue

    I figured out how to get the behavior You and I wanted, but it isn't as strait forward as it should be. First, I chose View -> Arrange By -> Edit Custom Arrangements. The Custom Arrangements: Mail window opens.

    From here I can click New, give it a title and set the group arrangement to Date Received. In the Third menu, I chose Newest On Top. This sets it to the way it has been all along - sorting the items in the group by Date Sent, Oldest on Top! When I tell it to sort the items in the group, Date Received is disabled. Why? Because I used it to sort the group.* Well I found an alternative that appears to give me the correct behavior - most of the time. Sort items in group by Priority, with Highest on top.

    Now that I've created a custom Arrangement, I can choose View -> Arrange By -> <title of custom arrangement I set above>. Since I almost never get email with a non-normal priority, my email sorts as expected - most recently received email on top. If I do get a higher than normal priority email, it'll find itself sorted to the top of the group (not that big of a deal) and if it's a lower priority email, I'll never see it because it will jump to the bottom of the group. 🙂

    *Microsoft just loves to provide me with roadblocks! I wonder what the logic is behind preventing me from sorting the items in a group in the same order as the group itself is...

  17. A good "Recent Conversations" custom arrangement in Entourage 2004 is:

    Group items by: Subject

    Sort groups by: Sent, Newest on top

    Sort items within group by: Sent, Newest on top

    Default display for groups: Expanded

  18. Word 2004 scrolling

    I installed Office 2004 today (we have a campus license at work, I’m not giving any money to Microsoft) and mouse wheel scrolling in Word is so broken that it’s unusable. Scrolling up works as it should but scrolling down...