Microsoft Outlook for Mac OS X has been stubbornly frozen since the release of Office 2011. The times they are a changing though, with Microsoft announcing a new version of Outlook for Mac designed specifically for Microsoft Office 365 users, and a roadmap for a whole new Office for Mac suite.

A refreshed user interface is the most obvious change, with a new-look ribbon bringing the software in line with Office for Windows and OWA 2013. Other improvements include:

  • Push email support for Office 365 email accounts.
  • A new threading model and database enhancements for faster performance.
  • Support for searching online Exchange archives.
  • Better Exchange Web Services sync to speed up first-run and email downloads.
  • Master Category List support better access to Lists and syncing between Macs, Windows and OWA.

Although the new Outlook for Mac requires an active Office 365 subscription, it can also be used with other email services. Including Hosted Exchange (2010 SP2 or higher) IMAP, iCloud and Gmail / Google Apps for Business.

Non-Office 365 customers will have to wait a little longer for an Outlook update. Microsoft have revealed the roadmap for Office for Mac with a 2015 public beta of the software suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, with the final release sometime in the second-half of 2015.