How to Quickly Setup Outlook 2011 for Exchange

If you work for a company that uses email, chances are that it is run on Microsoft Exchange. Getting Exchange set up on a Mac was once a very painful process, but with Outlook 2011, the process is mostly straightforward and easy to follow.

Outlined below are the steps to configure Outlook 2011 for Exchange along with a few tips to make sure everything is syncing correctly between your Exchange account and your Mac.

Even if you have added your Exchange account inside the Apple Mail, Contacts & Calendars section, you must also add your Exchange account to Outlook 2011 to use the Outlook client. This tutorial uses the automatic account setup procedure. If your account requires a manual setup, please refer to your IT support staff or email account help section for specific details.

Adding An Exchange Account

The first time you open Outlook 2011 you will get a splash screen where you can add an account or import. We are going to be adding a new account so click the Add Account button. If you plan on using Outlook 2011 for your default email client, click the check box before clicking the Add Account button.


Since we are adding an Exchange account, click the Exchange Account button to start the setup process.


The next window that appears requires information specific to your account. Enter the following information:

  • Email address
  • Method of authentication
  • Your username
  • Your password

If you don’t know any of these items, ask your support staff or check the help section of your email account. Leave the Configure automatically box checked and click Add Account.


Once you add the account, you should see it in the list of accounts to the left, and you should see the basic information about your account that you just entered to the right. If the account added correctly, you will not see errors and there should be a green dot next to your account in the side bar. If you do get errors or warnings, manual setup may be necessary.


You can close this window and Outlook 2011 will load and start downloading emails from the server. If you ran into any problems, you most likely have an issue with your Exchange account information. Check with your support staff or email account help for more information.


Syncing Correctly

Once you have your Exchange account set up, now you can select the sync options between Outlook 2011 and your Mac. Click the Outlook Menu, then Preferences.

Under the Other heading, click Sync Services.


Here, you can choose what is synced between Outlook 2011 and your Mac. Unless you have specific needs, turn all sync services on. If they cause any issues later, you can easily turn them off.


Once you select the items you want to sync, you can close the window. You will see a warning from OSX asking for Sync Services to be allowed access to your contacts. Click OK. This is just OSX verifying that you really want this app to sync with your Mac contacts.


These instructions are a best-case scenario. There are a few pitfalls that can come up, but most of those have to do with the unique information that may be required for your specific account.

It’s worth saying again that if you experience any issues during this process, the first thing to do is verify your account information with your IT support staff or the help section of your email account. With the correct information, Outlook 2011 works perfectly with Exchange and with these instructions it should be a breeze to set up.


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