With the advent of the Lion OS forcing my hand to update my software if I wanted to keep using it, I decided to take a long look at what software to update and what software to replace or just leave behind.
For the past few years I'd look at migrating to Mail from Entourage, but after a few minutes in Mail, I'd decide not. Mail just wasn't working for me and there was all the other things involved in converting. Like for instance, the hundreds of rules to recreate.
I also wasn’t considering upgrading to a newer Microsoft Office version for Mac (especially Office 2011, with Entourage's replacement, Outlook). I must say that the integration with my iDevices and daily management iapps constantly tugged on me to make this a Apple only party.
So upgrading to Lion was the catalyst to push me over to use Mail and leave Entourage (and all of the Microsoft applications, as little as I do use them) behind.
My first hiccup was importing mail from Entourage.
Importing within Mail, just would not bring in all my emails. It would bring in the folders, but not the mail themselves. The only way to get them was to export from within Entourage and import this file into Mail.
Well, eventually, I got all my emails into Mail. But wouldn’t upgrade to Lion until I felt all was working as I needed to in Mail. Understand, communication is a very big part of my work life and surely to those who make a living with their computers as I do. Mail is not as full featured as Entourage, so being used to certain things and then bumping into that roadblock causes a few issues. After a few days, I thought OK, maybe I can upgrade now.
Then came the big test for me. I needed to send email to a few hundred people who were only easily identifiable by contact groups. Groups don’t translate over when exporting. A known limitaton but still "Ugh!"
One of the features available in Entourage, but not Mail, is the ability to create and apply categories. I’ve been hoping for years that Apple would add this feature to Mail, but so far, no.
This feature is big for me. In Entourage, I can apply a category, actually several, to any address book entry or email recipient. This in turn allows me to create a rule that will apply the category, move the email to a certain folder location and add the recipient to an email group, all in one action.
One of the reasons categories is so important to me is that the same individual may be present in several groups. A category is like adding a unique identifier to sort and filter by. I can sort by this unique identifier and create groups this way also. This unique identifier feature is missing in Mail, so my efforts to duplicate my numerous groups in Mail would take serious time.
This lacking feature in Mail has got my eyebrows bunched up. Why is it missing? While it’s nice to see how user friendly and colorful some apps are becoming (watered down), be serious now. Not everyone just wants to “send email and post photos for your friends.” I’ve got work to do. Adding simple color coded labels just won’t work.
So, until I find a solution for this giant hiccup, no update to Lion, Entourage is still hanging on by a thread, and I’m trying to make Mail work, while Mail is trying me.