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Probably the most significant addition to Mail in Snow Leopard is its native support for Microsoft Exchange. Well, it's at least significant for Mac users in a large business or enterprise that uses Exchange servers. If you don't use an Exchange server you can probably skip this movie, but if your company does use Exchange this means you can now sync not just Mail but also iCal and Address Book with Microsoft Exchange 2007 Servers. And that's without the need to install any third-party applications or perform any contrived workarounds, like you might have had to do in the past. One thing you need to bear in mind though is that older versions of Exchange are not supported.
Your server needs to be running at least Update Rollup 4 for Exchange Server 2007, and that's Service Pack 1 or later. So before you set up your Exchange accounts on your Mac, you should probably check with your Exchange administrator to make sure he or she has the latest updates installed. That said, let's take a look at how easy it is to connect Mail to an Exchange account. Now the easiest way is to use Exchange 2007's Autodiscover feature, so make sure your Exchange admin has enabled that feature. Once that's done go to Mail > Preferences, go to Accounts and click the Plus button to add an account.
And then just enter your Name, Email Address and Password in this first screen. My email address on my Exchange server is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me type my password. And then we click Continue. And because my Exchange administrator has enabled Autodiscover, that's pretty much all I had to do. Mail has found my Account type and my Server address. If you don't have Autodiscover enabled, you may have to enter some of this information manually.
Notice also the options to set up Address Book and iCal, which both also support Exchange 2007. Let's keep those checked and click Create. And we can close our Preferences. And here in my Sidebar you can see my Exchange account has now been added to Mail. I only have one message in here, but if you are using a real Exchange account all of your emails will be synced up in here now. It's that easy. Let's check out iCal. Notice that I now have my email@example.com account listed in iCal.
And that the two events - let me just actually go ahead and uncheck everything else so you can see the events in here - and you can see right here, the two events in my Exchange calendar are now appearing right here in iCal. I notice there's a typo here that should say Quarterly Meeting not Quaterly Meeting so I just need to double-click that. I can edit that. Change that to Quarterly Meeting. Done. And it's fixed. I can also add events just by simply double-clicking like I can with any other iCal calendar.
And just like that it's added to my Exchange calendar. And let's take a look at Address Book. And here too, we can see my Exchange account. I have access to both my personal contacts as well as the ability to search my companies global address list from right here in Address Book. But again, if you have a real Exchange account you will be able to search through your company's entire contact list. And as you can see, this all just works once I enter my Exchange account into Mail. The slightly ironic thing about Snow Leopard's Exchange support, at least at this point in time, is that Exchange support is now built right into Mac OS X, but not into Windows.
So Mac users have Exchange support right out of the box, while Windows users have to purchase and install Exchange client software. Again, if you don't use an Exchange server none of this is particularly important to you, but if your company does use Exchange, Snow Leopard's support for it is another welcome new feature.
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