In 2010, I purchased Office for Mac 2011 for my wife for her MacBook Air as an upgrade to Office for Mac 2008. She uses Google Mail and Google Calendar for her personal email / calendar. I’d read up about how the new version of Office for Mac had been rebuilt from the ground up and was looking forward to a simple view from Outlook connecting to her underlying Google account.

Sadly, whilst Google Calendar works with Entourage 2008 it doesn’t work with Outlook 2011. According to the Office for Mac blog, Microsoft rebuilt Outlook 2011 to “make it the most reliable client for Exchange users”. This is truly staggering. How can you step backwards in terms of functionality with a new release??? And more so, why would you not provide functionality to sync with cloud based providers, including your own cloud service???

Like many other Office for Mac users, I’ve been eagerly waiting for Microsoft to release an update that would fix this issue. There is a table of connectivity options here on the Office for Mac blog. It’s pretty bleak. It doesn’t even sync with iOS.

Office for Mac 2011 SP1 was meant to include Google Calendar functionality via SyncServices when it was released in April 2011 but I think Apple shifted to CalDav just prior to SP1 being released. I know this was unfortunate… but this was well over a year ago and still there is no movement on a solution. Office for Mac SP2 has now been released and Outlook 2011 still doesn’t have CalDav support.

I keep intermittently searching the interwebs in the hope that Microsoft will release a CalDav solution but I’m still waiting. You can quite clunkily link via iCal to gCal with some strange category mappings but this won’t allow access to a Shared Google Calendar and it’s also not very reliable. (Shared Google Calendars are fantastic… we now don’t need the fridge calendar anymore to manage our family events.)

So, my wife has pretty much given up on Outlook as a calendar tool and just uses her iPhone calendar instead. It would seem that the decision to not support Google Calendar is fairly myopic on the part of Microsoft, which has led to a classic case of substitution, as my wife now doesn’t use a desktop based calendar program at all but instead entirely uses her mobile device.

Unhelpfully, the Office for Mac blog indicates that I can reinstall Entourage if I really want to use Google Calendar. It would seem that it should be fairly easy to migrate this functionality to Outlook 2011.

PS. I started writing this post about 3 months ago to describe a way to make the gCal sync work with Outlook. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find one. If anyone knows a reliable way to make this work, please let me know, and I’ll update the post.

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