OS X El Capitan and Microsoft Outlook 2011

October 5, 2015 - 3 minutes read

If you’re a Mac user who’s enthusiastic about the new El Capitan release of OS X, there are plenty of great reasons to update. El Capitan takes less space on your hard disk, it’s faster, the new Split Screen functionality is really handy, Notes has improved functionality, Spotlight has some cool new capabilities including ‘natural language’ search, and Mail has new swipe functions and works better in full screen mode.

But if you’re running Microsoft Office 2016, or Outlook 2011, proceed with caution. Actually, don’t proceed… yet!

Many users will still be using Microsoft’s Office 2011 for Mac, as the 2016 release only came out recently and many won’t have seen the need to upgrade immediately. The Office suite generally works fine on El Capitan – except for Outlook 2011. Once you upgrade to El Capitan, your Outlook 2011 is rendered unusable. The very first time it tries to sync your mail accounts it will freeze (“Not Responding”) and never recover. Microsoft are aware of the fault, and say they are “researching this problem” – we’re hoping a fix is only a few days away!

Of course, a lot of people will ask/say “why are you using Outlook 2011, Apple Mail is better!” This all depends on your perspective.

Outlook actually has some great features that Microsoft users from both PC and Mac platforms have come to depend on, and Apple Mail users may not realise what they’re missing out on. Perhaps the most powerful of these are the ability to set due dates and reminders on emails, turning your email into an ordered To Do list, and the ability to move emails to a folder by clicking ‘Move to…’ and then starting to type the first few characters of the folder name. For users like me, who have hundreds of folders nested several deep, this is a “must have”. Outlook also remembers the last few folders you moved to in a quick pick list. By contrast, Apple Mail requires you to browse through the folder structure every time you want to move an email.

And Apple Mail is not immune from crashes either.

Apple Mail Crash error message

Error message after Apple Mail crashed when trying to Search


And what’s the prognosis for El Capitan if you’re a Microsoft Office 2016 user? The Microsoft apps are not completely unusable, but most users are reporting high levels of instability and regular crashes, sometimes within seconds of opening. In short, you wouldn’t want to be depending on them for your day-to-day work. So, again, our advice is – be patient. Wait until a few patches and updates have come out in order to stabilise both OS X and Microsoft Office.

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