University of Oregon

Entourage FAQs


This page contains Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Entourage email program.

What is Entourage and how does it work with Exchange?

Entourage is an email client that is part of the Microsoft Office suite for Mac OS X (which also includes Word, Excel, and Powerpoint). It allows you to download messages, calendar events, and contacts from the server to your computer so that you can access them even when you don't have an internet connection. 

Exchange is an email server solution from Microsoft that allows people to share email folders, calendars, and contacts. By default, all new University-affiliated individuals are set up to use the Webmail client. Faculty, Staff and Researchers may be able to move to the Exchange system provided their IT unit is capable of supporting it. 

Entourage works with Exchange to display your email, calendars and contacts, as well as any that have been shared with you. It also allows you to set permissions for any of your folders or calendars to share them with others.

What is the Office Database, and how do I rebuild it?

Microsoft Office 2008 for Macs uses a database to store settings and information related to the use of its applications, in particular, it stores a local copy of your Exchange data for use when you do not have access to an internet connection. Since all of this data is stored in a single file, this file tends to be very large in size, and the larger it is, the more likely it is to become corrupted or affect your computer's performance.

If you receive a message saying that there is a problem with the Office Database, or that your database is corrupted and needs to be rebuilt, you can do so fairly easily. In some cases, Office will force you to perform a rebuild before it allows you to continue working with any Office application, and will open the Microsoft Database Utility automatically. In others, you may need to open the Microsoft Database Utility manually. Here's how to do that:

  1. Close all Office applications (Word, Excel, Entourage, Powerpoint)
  2. Hold the Option (or Alt) key on your keyboard and open Entourage. The Microsoft Database Utility should open.
  3. Select the most recently modified database.
  4. Choose the Rebuild Database option and click Continue.

Note: Rebuilding a database can take several hours depending your database size.

Why are some folders not updating?

Entourage stores a local copy of your Exchange data (called a cache) and displays this to you when you open it. This is in contrast to web-based clients such as Webmail or Outlook Web Access, which display your mail exactly as it appears on the server at the time you access it. Any changes you make in Entourage, such as moving or deleting messages, will be made first to the local copy, and then will be synchronized with the Exchange server. In the event that some folders are no longer updating (the changes you make in Entourage don't reflect what you see on your phone), it is likely because your Entourage has become desynchronized with the Exchange server.

In order to correct this, you will most likely need to empty the cache for the folder that is not updating. To do so:

  1. Right-click (or control+click) on the folder that is not updating in the Folder List on the left-hand side of Entourage.
  2. Go to Folder Properties
  3. Under the Empty Cache section, click Empty.

Note: If you have made changes since Entourage became desyncrhonized with the server, these changes will be lost.

How should I set an Out of Office message?

Webmail (non-Exchange) users would normally set their vacation message through the Auto-Responder, but Exchange users should avoid doing so as it can affect the delivery of messages to their Exchange mailbox. Instead, you can set it in your email application. To do so in Entourage, go to Tools > Out of Office. Select "Send Out of Office messages" and enter your message.

If you accidentally set your vacation message with the Auto-Responder, you may notice that you only receive messages from other Exchange users after that. This is because your account was configured to forward non-Exchange messages from the Webmail server to the Exchange server, but setting a vacation message with the Auto-Responder removes this forward. If this is the case, please contact your IT Support Unit for assistance.

What are attachment size limits?

Attachment size limits determine the maximum size of files that can be attached to your messages. There may be different limits for both sending and receiving, and these are generally set by the email provider, so they can differ between sender and recipient. For example, the sender may have a 10MB limit, while the recipient may have a 5MB limit. If the sender tried to send a 12MB file, they would immediately be notified that it is over the limit, where as if they tried to send an 8MB file, it would successfully leave their email server but would be rejected by the recipients server since it exceeds their 5MB limit.

In general, we recommend keeping your attachment sizes below 5MB. If you need to send a file larger than this, we suggest using OneDrive.

How do Entourage contacts work, and how can I create a Group?

In Entourage, there are basically three different types of contacts: Exchange contacts, global contacts, and local contacts.

Exchange contacts exist in your Exchange account, just like your email messages and calendar events. They can be synchronized with any Exchange-capable device you have, such as an iPhone or iPad. In Entourage's Contacts tab, they appear under your Account (usually at the very top).

Global contacts exist in Exchange as well, except these are "public" contacts that everyone in Exchange sees, and only Administrators can edit. They can also be synchronized with Exchange-capable devices. In Entourage's Contacts tab, they appear under Directory Services.

Local contacts exist only on your computer, and only in Entourage. These are generally not synchronized with other devices. In Entourage's Contacts tab, they appear under On My Computer.

Entourage only allows you to create Groups as local contacts, so you will need to select On My Computer first, then go to File > New > Group. There are global groups under Directory Services as well, however, these are maintained by Exchange Administrators.

How can I improve Entourage performance?

Since Entourage uses a database that is a single file, its performance can be greatly affected by the size of that file. In general, keeping your mailbox small will result in a smaller database, and a better performing Entourage. Here are some tips for doing so:

  1. Reduce your mailbox size.
  2. Reduce the total number of messages in your Inbox, Sent Items, and Deleted Items folders. Entourage synchronizes these three folders more regularly than others, and having a lot of messages in them can cause them to become desynchronized with the server. We recommend you keep no more than 2,000 - 3,000 messages in each.
  3. Compact your database. Follow the steps to rebuild your database, but choose "Compact database" instead of "Rebuild database". This will remove wasted space in the database, reducing its overall size.