Microsoft giving Outlook for Mac better performance with a complete revamp

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Microsoft unveils a redesign of its Mac version of Microsoft Outlook including dropping the famous tool ribbon, adding faster syncing, and improving overall performance.

The new Outlook for Mac (inset image: The Verge)
The new Outlook for Mac (inset image: The Verge)


Following the announcement of a launch date for Microsoft Edge for Mac, and a slew of updates coming over the next year to Office 365, Microsoft has revealed a redesign of Outlook for Mac.

The most visible change is the removal of Microsoft's long-standing ribbon of tools, common across Office apps on Windows since 2007 and in 2010's Office 11 for Mac.

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft denied that the ribbon was being removed, and instead suggest that it was just hidden by default.

"Following the same design principles as the Office 365 user experience updates announced last year, the ribbon was updated in the new Outlook for Mac to be fully customizable," a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge.

Front: the new Outlook Mail for Mac, including My Day calendar pane. Back: the current Outlook Mail for Mac. (Sources: Microsoft, The Verge. Composite image: William Gallagher)
Front: the new Outlook Mail for Mac, including My Day calendar pane. Back: the current Outlook Mail for Mac. (Sources: Microsoft, The Verge. Composite image: William Gallagher)


"In Mac environment, we refer to it as a toolbar," the spokesperson continued, "[and] at this time, there are no plans to announce updates to the ribbon elsewhere on Office for Mac."

Outlook for Mac is not the first time Microsoft has removed the ribbon, though, and the design of this new desktop app version has been made much closer to that of the web edition of Outlook. As well as utilizing a similar toolbar to the web version, Outlook for Mac now also borrows that edition's more prominent positioning of the search bar at the top of the screen.

Unlike the web version, however, the new Outlook for Mac adds a My Day section to the mail view. Outlook is both an email and a calendar combined, and typically users have to switch between the two views.

Now a user can stay in Outlook Mail and have a four-pane view that shows their mailboxes, the current inbox, the current message, and lastly a quick-view month calendar plus a list of today's events.

The different panes can be collapsed, and customized to suit, plus new features are intended to speed up how users can work through a lot of email. There are options to ignore certain emails, perhaps such as hiding threads you're no longer directly involved in, plus Microsoft has revised its windows for composing mail too.

The new calendar in Outlook for Mac (image: The Verge)
The new calendar in Outlook for Mac (image: The Verge)


Beyond the visual design changes, however, Microsoft has done more work to the back end of the app to make Outlook for Mac faster. It's implemented the same sync technology that it has been using on Outlook for iOS and Android, and Windows Mail for PCs.

The new version of Outlook for Mac will be available this week, but exclusively to testers in what Microsoft calls its Fast Ring beta program. While there's no official release date yet, Microsoft says it is planning to roll out further updates over the next months.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,454member
    Hey, I am a die-hard Mac user and long-time hater of all things MS lol but MS certainly is stepping up its Mac support these days.  MS DTR is phenomenal, I use it all day every day.  As for the tool ribbon, I have never understood the negativity.  The ribbon at the top of the folders in Windows 10 Finder (haha can't remember MS name for the Finder) is very practical and useful as it is in applications.  I wouldn't mind a similar feature on a Mac as long as it is optional as it is in Windows, you have to pin it to have it remain there.
    edited November 2019 urahara
  • Reply 2 of 19
    tobiantobian Posts: 117member
    I’m neither fan of anything Microsoft, but must admit their Mac OS apps were always one of the better class of programming. I see no stepping up on support here.
    razorpit
  • Reply 3 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,737member
    My structural engineer son tells me the Mac version of Excel is pretty damn good these days, not quite on a par with the Windows version yet but quite serviceable in his line of work. He still uses the Windows version, however. 
  • Reply 4 of 19
    thedbathedba Posts: 668member
    For work I use both a Dell laptop and a MacBook Pro. 
    I find that Office 365 apps work better under Mac OS than Windows, at least from my point of view. 
    Let’s see if MS continues with this trend with this new version. 
    razorpit
  • Reply 5 of 19
    MacPro said:
    Hey, I am a die-hard Mac user and long-time hater of all things MS lol but MS certainly is stepping up its Mac support these days.  MS DTR is phenomenal, I use it all day every day.  As for the tool ribbon, I have never understood the negativity.  The ribbon at the top of the folders in Windows 10 Finder (haha can't remember MS name for the Finder) is very practical and useful as it is in applications.  I wouldn't mind a similar feature on a Mac as long as it is optional as it is in Windows, you have to pin it to have it remain there.
      I 'escaped' Microsoft three years ago and have no intention of going back into their vice like grip. One of the reasons was the Ribbon.
    The corporate Sys Admins made it fixed and disabled any way of removing it. I just ran Open Office (without installing it) just to keep my sanity.
    As for LookOut... it hasn't changed as far as I'm concerned. After one update caused all the emails relating to an important account to go poof and vanish I swore off it. Thankfully, my backup worked that time.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    neilmneilm Posts: 925member
    lkrupp said:
    My structural engineer son tells me the Mac version of Excel is pretty damn good these days, not quite on a par with the Windows version yet but quite serviceable in his line of work. He still uses the Windows version, however. 
    The Mac version of Excel has always been fairly good, although it doesn't necessarily have feature parity with the contemporaneous Win version. (Sometimes that's been a good thing; for instance the lack of VB scripting, a common malware vector.) It would be even better if MS focused on core functionality rather than larding it with useless visual "features."

    However Outlook for Mac clients is a hot mess. We switched to an Exchange calendar and email server earlier this year, and to access all its features we needed to use Outlook as the client Mac front end. (We had previously used Apple Mail and an IMAC mailserver.) We've had endless problems with email via Outlook ever since. Fortunately for me personally, Apple Mail can also support Exchange email, and since I don't need the Exchange calendar I've been able to avoid having to use Outlook. 

    If MS is finally getting Outlook fixed it can't come too soon for company users like us.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 113member
    MacPro said:
    MS DTR is phenomenal, I use it all day every day.  
    What's MS DTR?
    zoetmb
  • Reply 8 of 19
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,855member
    MacPro said:
    Hey, I am a die-hard Mac user and long-time hater of all things MS lol but MS certainly is stepping up its Mac support these days.  MS DTR is phenomenal, I use it all day every day.  As for the tool ribbon, I have never understood the negativity.  The ribbon at the top of the folders in Windows 10 Finder (haha can't remember MS name for the Finder) is very practical and useful as it is in applications.  I wouldn't mind a similar feature on a Mac as long as it is optional as it is in Windows, you have to pin it to have it remain there.
      I 'escaped' Microsoft three years ago and have no intention of going back into their vice like grip. One of the reasons was the Ribbon.
    The corporate Sys Admins made it fixed and disabled any way of removing it. I just ran Open Office (without installing it) just to keep my sanity.
    As for LookOut... it hasn't changed as far as I'm concerned. After one update caused all the emails relating to an important account to go poof and vanish I swore off it. Thankfully, my backup worked that time.

    LookOut below!!!! hahaha, great name twist there  :D
    MisterKit
  • Reply 9 of 19
    65026502 Posts: 379member
    lkrupp said:
    My structural engineer son tells me the Mac version of Excel is pretty damn good these days, not quite on a par with the Windows version yet but quite serviceable in his line of work. He still uses the Windows version, however. 
    I'm a heavy user of Excel at work on Window10 but can't get used to the Mac version. Sure nearly all the features are there but many of the keystrokes are different, the performance is not the same (lots of spinning beach balls, the Mac version *just* got multiprocessor support) and I've noticed a lot of cursor irregularities on the Mac version. I'm just way more proficient on the Windows version.
    FileMakerFellerbillm47645
  • Reply 10 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,023member
    neilm said:
    lkrupp said:
    My structural engineer son tells me the Mac version of Excel is pretty damn good these days, not quite on a par with the Windows version yet but quite serviceable in his line of work. He still uses the Windows version, however. 
    The Mac version of Excel has always been fairly good, although it doesn't necessarily have feature parity with the contemporaneous Win version. (Sometimes that's been a good thing; for instance the lack of VB scripting, a common malware vector.) It would be even better if MS focused on core functionality rather than larding it with useless visual "features."

    However Outlook for Mac clients is a hot mess. We switched to an Exchange calendar and email server earlier this year, and to access all its features we needed to use Outlook as the client Mac front end. (We had previously used Apple Mail and an IMAC mailserver.) We've had endless problems with email via Outlook ever since. Fortunately for me personally, Apple Mail can also support Exchange email, and since I don't need the Exchange calendar I've been able to avoid having to use Outlook. 

    If MS is finally getting Outlook fixed it can't come too soon for company users like us.
    Thanks for the comments about Outlook. Yeah, we all love Excel, but Outlook is at the opposite end of the spectrum and whether it has a ribbon bar or not isn’t going to fix its core problems. Heck, I actually prefer Thunderbird to Outlook, which isn’t saying much. The only thing positive that I can say about Outlook is that it’s better than Lotus Notes, which is the ultimate steaming pile of horrific software. 
  • Reply 11 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,874member
    MacPro said:
     Windows 10 Finder (haha can't remember MS name for the Finder) 

    hahah it's "Explorer"! where you "explore" for your files! One of my favorite comparisons between the systems. 

    otherwise I'm about to DL this update & se what the stink is all about. will report back.
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 12 of 19
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,855member
    Apple should be royally ashamed for how neglected their own Mac Calendar.app is. It's the worst offender on my system for CPU hogging. Anytime my laptop heats up and performance drops, a quick peek at Activity Monitor usually always shows that it's Calendar services that are running rampant. Online advice says to remove all Google calendars to avoid this problem, which I've done, but it still happens, especially when switching networks.

    Calendar.app is also SLOW to launch and use, but I bet Outlook Calendar takes just as long to launch. :smiley:  I just expect native Apple apps to be as fast as Safari is to launch. Remember when opening Safari use to be slow? Now it's instant.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Will the updated Outlook finally work with iCloud to sync calendars?!
  • Reply 14 of 19
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,789member
    I only want one feature:  Sync my 365 contacts with my other devices.  Right now I have to create contact lists on my windows client, and send group emails using it or the web interface.  They don’t sync with outlook for Mac.   Creating contact groups with the web version is infuriating.  You have to add one address at a time with the web version.  
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 15 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,874member
    I don't get it. I'm not seeing much change other than dark mode. layout seems no different.

    sdw2001 said:
    I only want one feature:  Sync my 365 contacts with my other devices.  Right now I have to create contact lists on my windows client, and send group emails using it or the web interface.  They don’t sync with outlook for Mac.   Creating contact groups with the web version is infuriating.  You have to add one address at a time with the web version.  

    hahaa good ol' Microsoft. don't go changin', you guys!
     

    edited November 2019
  • Reply 16 of 19
    Every time I tested Outlook for MacOS previously, I abandoned it quickly because it couldn’t access my iCloud contacts. Instead, Outlook was expecting me to set up an entire new Outlook address book. Does anyone know whether this has been fixed finally?
  • Reply 17 of 19
    laytechlaytech Posts: 242member
    I am actually quite fond of the ribbon, its functional whilst not taking up too much space. I would move to Mac Mail but I can't for the life of me understand why, when you send a mail from an IOS device or Mail on a Mac to an outlook user that it attaches so many useless files.

    Why can't a mail message without the attachments. I received a mail the other day to my MS Outlook in my Mac from an IOS user and it had 12 attachments that had nothing but related to the original message. I almost missed the actual attachment that was sent to me. It wasn't even sent as plain text?

    When Apple sorts that, I will be a Mail user exclusively. 
  • Reply 18 of 19
    billm47645billm47645 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    laytech said:
    I am actually quite fond of the ribbon, its functional whilst not taking up too much space. I would move to Mac Mail but I can't for the life of me understand why, when you send a mail from an IOS device or Mail on a Mac to an outlook user that it attaches so many useless files.

    Why can't a mail message without the attachments. I received a mail the other day to my MS Outlook in my Mac from an IOS user and it had 12 attachments that had nothing but related to the original message. I almost missed the actual attachment that was sent to me. It wasn't even sent as plain text?

    When Apple sorts that, I will be a Mail user exclusively. 
    Also, iOS Mail needs to support pictures in email signatures.  I have someone I work with who sends better looking emails complete with his company logo from his 3 year old Android vs my $1299 phone.  
  • Reply 19 of 19
    I’m using the new Mac outlook but combined inbox /all mails doesn’t seem to be available any more? 
    edited November 2019
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