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Entourage 2008: New Features – Part II

Now let’s talk about features which are exclusive to Entourage 2008 users in an Exchange organization where they are working with other Outlook users. Some of them, like Calendar features below may also apply to non-Exchange users as well.

Calendar Features — Entourage 2008 contains several new features and improvements in the area of event & calendar management. They are:

Accept, Tentative & Decline Buttons on Meeting (screenshot) – After a single instance or recurring meeting is accepted or tentatively added to the calendar (like by ‘Calendar Assistant’ in Exchange 2007), Entourage 2008 users are now able to act on the resulting event from the event itself. This is essentially the same as acting on a meeting request when it arrives in user’s Inbox. This feature can also be used to decline a previously accepted meeting request later when user’s plan changes.

Event Deletion Update (screenshot) – If an Entourage user (as a meeting attendee) deletes a previously accepted single instance or recurring meeting (or a single instance of a recurring meeting), the user is prompted to send a response to meeting organizer.

Time Zone Mismatch Warning (screenshot) – Outlook for Windows handles time zones differently when sending recurring vs. single instance meeting invites. In the recurring case, Outlook stamps the invite with sender’s time zone and thus they are received & displayed appropriately in Entourage. On single instance meeting invites, Outlook does not stamp sender’s time zone and thus Exchange Server stamps its own time zone on the invite. When Entourage receives such an invite, it uses the time zone stamped by Exchange to calculate start and end times. Some issues may occur if Exchange server is in a different time zone than the Entourage user (see KB 925376). Entourage 2008 displays better event status text related to event and local computer’s time zones to handle this situation.

Processing of Incoming New Meeting Requests – Entourage 2008 behaves like Outlook and moves invites to ‘Deleted Items’ folder after they are processed in the Inbox by user. Invites having attachments with them are still left in the Inbox so that user can access them later when needed. Entourage 2008 does not support having attachments with events placed on Calendar.

Conflict Status (screenshot) – When an invite arrives, Entourage now compares it to the contextually related primary calendar (like Exchange Calendar) to determine if the invite conflicts with an existing event or not. If any portion of the time span of the invite intersects or overlaps with an existing event, an appropriate status text to that effect is displayed on the incoming new meeting request.

Adjacent Status (screenshot) – Same determination as above is made for detecting new invite being adjacent to an existing invite and if the beginning and/or end of the new invite’s time span equals an existing event’s time span, an appropriate status text to that effect is displayed on the incoming invite.

New Events Are Always Added to December – When the Mac OS X ‘International Language’ preference is set to Portuguese or Spanish, all new events created using Entourage 2004 appear in December of the respective year, though it preserves the day and date of event. This issue has been resolved in Entourage 2008 through adding support for ‘Textual Separators’ (like ‘de’) which is used to separate day, month and year in Portuguese, Spanish & some other languages.

To Do List (screenshot) — Entourage 2008 does not support synching with ‘Tasks’ folder in an Exchange mailbox but it does support the new ‘To Do’ based tasks feature (also in Outlook 2007 & Exchange 2007 OWA Premium) which lacks tasks assignment and progress tracking. This feature allows users to easily create and view their daily action items as well as provide a consistent experience with Outlook. Though ‘To Do List’ appears with the local ‘Tasks’ folder in Entourage, ‘To Dos’ are synchronized to the Exchange server and users will find consistent experience working with their ‘To Do’ items no matter which client they are using at a particular instant, be it Outlook 2007, Entourage 2008 or Exchange 2007 OWA Premium. The ‘To Do List’ can also be printed which provides a handy resource for users who are mostly in and out of meetings.

Out of Office Assistant (screenshot) — Using ‘OOF Assistant’ feature in Entourage 2008 users can set their out of office (OOF) status along with an OOF message when connecting to an Exchange Server. The feature is supported for Exchange 2000 or higher versions. This feature requires ‘Outlook Web Access’ to be functional on Exchange Server (2000 & 2003). Its implementation is based upon the ‘OOF Assistant’ available in OWA (2000 & 2003) and thus provides equivalent feature-set. It does not provide support for ‘OOF Rules’ which is available in Outlook for Windows. Support for separate internal and external OOF messages is only available for Entourage 2008 users connecting to a mailbox on Exchange 2007 Server. Such users can also set the OOF period (i.e. start and end date & times) and they can also send rich text or HTML based OOF messages. Entourage 2008 utilizes ‘Exchange Web Services‘ and ‘autodiscover‘ on Exchange 2007 for this feature.

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Microsoft, Entourage 2008, Mac, OS X, Mac OS X, Exchange 2007, Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server, Entourage 2008 for Mac, New Features

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