Mail concept image of stacked paper mail envelopes

“New Outlook” ends an old aggravation for Mac users

A cross-platform solution of sorts

October 11, 2021
Last modified October 13, 2021

Image: Liam Truong; Unsplash

Last year, I wrote:

Microsoft continues its (willful?) failure to give the Mac version of Outlook one specific feature that Outlook for Windows has had forever: the ability to see one’s own sent emails in conversation threads. And I don’t mean the hacky, unintuitive “talk balloons” method the Mac version uses; I mean the way the Windows version does it.

To illustrate the difference, here’s how the Windows version of Outlook shows an email thread which includes me:

Outlook on Windows - view of email thread

I can see both my own emails and others’ listed in this view. Nice and convenient, right?

Now, here’s how, for some years now, the Mac version of Outlook would show the same thread:

Old Outlook on Mac - view of email thread

It’s as if mine weren’t there. Oh, but they are. What you’d have to do is click on the thread entry, whereupon in the Preview Pane on the right you’d see a “talk balloons” display of what I wanted to see in the regular display in the first place:

Old Outlook on Mac - a view of “talk balloons” portrayal of email thread

That aggravation, which had persisted for years, is nearing an end because of Microsoft’s introduction of what it calls “New Outlook,” an Electron-based version intended for cross-platform adoption. Here’s how it shows that thread:

New Outlook on Mac - a view of email thread

Bingo. Now, really, Microsoft, was that so frickin’ difficult?

In short: if you’re one of those Mac users who either prefers to use Outlook or is required to do so for some reason, New Outlook finally ends the feature prejudice Microsoft has shown Macs for some years now. Even if you’re an Electron hater, this might be a time for giving that a pass. This cross-platform approach appears to be the only way Microsoft will stop treating Outlook-using Mac folks as if they were second-class citizens.

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