One of the most handy features within Entourage 2004 is the ability to check your company's e-mail from home, on your Mac, and without ever firing up a VPN connection to your office.  To configure Entourage to check e-mail from home, just do the following:

  1. In Safari, log into your organization's Outlook Web Access website
  2. In the Location field (where you type http://www... ), copy the address up to the first slash after the www portion of the text.  For example, if the web site's address began with http://www.example.com/exchange/john/, you would copy http:///www.example.com/.
  3. In Entourage, open up your Exchange account's settings (Tools menu : Accounts menu item:), double-click Your Exchange Account Name , and paste the copied website address in the Server field.
  4. To access public folders or see free/busy information from home, click the Public Folders link in Outlook Web Access and copy-paste the first part of the URL (e.g. http://www.example.com/public) into the Public Folder server field on your Exchange account's Advanced tab.

Once configured, you should now be able to read your mail from home without needing to VPN into your corporate network.  I do this all the time on my PowerBook and don't ever bother to change the setting while in my office.  Anywhere there's a wifi connection, I've got e-mail.

Geeky detail: Entourage relies on UDP notifications from the Exchange server to determine when new e-mail is available.  Typically, when connected through the above method, the UDP notifications are blocked from ever arriving.  To compensate, Entourage will ask the Exchange server once a minute for any new items within an Exchange mailbox.