Microsoft Outlook

I love Linux, and will not go back to Windows. But there is one single app that I cannot replace: Outlook.

I understand Microsoft may be the evil, and they probably do proprietary ■■■■ with their protocols but they are also unavoidable when it comes to business mail and calendar.
Of course there are plugins for Thunderbird or Evolution that make them work with Exchange.
And nowadays there’s powerful companies, as well as powerful communities with a ton of developers.
I just wonder why we have to pretend we’re in year 2000.
Honestly, Thunderbird and Evolution make me depressed, it looks like 20 years ago, probably can do the same, and there is still no better alternative.

I know that may not be fair but i do need Microsoft email and calendar, i just do, there is no alternative of same comfort.

How does everyone else work around this issue??

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I think from a personal perspective you do Evolution an injustice. M$ is pushing more and more for Office 365 as a rental product. When I started working from home I was reliant on Outlook365. Because there is no notification sound in Outlook365 it was 3 hours after a work colleague had emailed me an urgent message! This led me to having to purchase a second 27" monitor just to have Outlook365. Eventually I managed to configure Evolution to connect to Outlook365 without any assistance from the IT department! I didn't use Exchange calendars but I did set up a share of my events in Evolution but didn't get any feedback from my supervisor.

Take a look here for Calendar sync:

The extension for Thunderbird doesn't work right. I have 6 exchange/office 365 email accounts for work. The extension can handle only 1 and if you add more than that it throws a tizzy. I had to contact the developer because I was having issues, they said they are working on a fix for adding more than 1 account..... There is no reason in 2021 now 2022 TB is not handing exchange account natively. This is not 15 years ago, MS gives the code out now to connect with exchange. TB still has not moved on handling signatures in email since they first began. TB seems to be stuck in 2010

Evolution is a mess.. it's outdated and the UI is horrid. It took evolution 2 days to sync all the emails from my accounts. It is even worse than TB IMO on all accounts. From my understanding only 1 person is left as the dev on Evolution and it shows.

I ended up just doing a Virtual Box with Windows 10, installed my Outlook and never looked back. Plus I use Adobe pro so I use that for my PDF's and I installed my Brother utilities center for my printer/scanner since sorry to say Linux still hasn't left 2002 for printers. Xsane looks and acts exactly like it did in 1999 when I first started in Linux.

Save yourself the grief, wasted time and energy just do a VB with Windows.

Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format or TNEF is a proprietary email attachment format used by Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server. There is a add on in the software store that may help you

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I have no probelm using Thunderbird in Windows or Zorin for Outlook email, calendar.

I am using the following add-ons together in Thunderbird, for syncing Outlook Calendars.


Nice zabadabadoo. Many will benefit from this.


Adobe Pro is overpriced and rental. I bought PDF Studio Pro 2020 and upgraded to 2021. Does everything Adobe Pro can do for a fifth of the price and is a Linux application. I find Evolution much more easier on the eye than Outlook. I find it more customisable than outlook. And it never took the length of time you stated but then I was sinking with Outlook365 which is a cloud based Outlook. I only used Outlook in a Virt machine manager on Devuan running Windows 8.1 Pro simply because I couldn't access a shared mailbox an that took longer to update than Evolution. As for scanning I use Vue Scan that is cross-platform. That said I am pleased to say X-sane on Devuan 4.0 works flawlessly with my Canon TS-8151.

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I get Adobe Pro for free, so why would I buy something else? Just so I can run it on Linux instead of in a Virtual Box? That doesn't make much sense.

It did, and considering the posts I found on trying to figure out why, I wasn't the only one. Regardless of that, Evolution is a horrid mess like most of Gnome so it fits right in. It's barely maintained any more and like I said, it's like one person doing it. Doesn't in-still confidence in the application. Outlook online is not the same program of Outlook that installs with the office suites, they are two different products. They don't even do the same things, and you can not add additional accounts to the one online.

I didn't state they don't work, they just don't work nicely and they're outdated. Mine works with my Brother, just not as good or as nice as they do using the Brother Utility on Windows. Maybe instead of creating another mp3 player or image viewer in Linux they should take that energy and make a printer/scanner utility for the current century.

I use what works for me and gives me the least amount of headaches. If that means firing up software in a Windows Virtual Box, so be it. I'm not fanatical about just using Linux software for every single little thing, even when it's not up to par. If you are, that's great for you, I'm happy for you that you can do it. Many others however do not and can not.


That’s the same for me. Sure Evolution works. But it doesn’t do as well as Outlook. Especially when it comes to Calendar features like planning meetings with participants from different address sources, adding rooms and recourses, working with shared calendars, or just planning a Teams meeting (we‘re still in a pandemic).
My employer is offering Outlook via Citrix, so I use that. But having an equally good application on Linux would be far more desirable.
The demand is there, but there are no apps.


I just grit my teeth and use Evolution most of the time, but I despair at the general state of Exchange email support on Linux.

I've spent countless hours looking for a good replacement for Outlook, and there is just nothing out there that truly measures up.

Almost no mail clients have any Exchange support at all. Where there is support, the devil is in the details:

  • Davmail can get you the basics, but for those of us who live in a world of flags, categories, shared calendars and shared mailboxes, it's not sufficient.
  • Thunderbird with Owl and TBSync and Exchange provider isn't good enough - no category sync, no shared mailboxes, no shared calendars, far as I could tell. Rich signatures are poorly supported (you have to write your own HTML and find somewhere to host any images??).
  • Hiri was taking a stab at being a competitive Outlook alternative with Linux support, then died before it got any place meaningful.
  • OWA is not feature complete enough for daily use, especially if you are using an old on-prem Exchange environment and thus stuck with an ancient version of it.
  • And finally, I even tried Outlook via WinApps, but in the end, that's still just a gussied-up Windows VM, with all the caveats that go along with that.

Evolution is the only thing approaching a solution that I have been able to find so far, but there are many caveats to work around, as well as little annoyances:

  • Calendar appointment reminders disable completely on recurring appointments, when you just wanted to dismiss the reminder for one instance.
  • Calendar appointments made outside Evolution fail to save if they're recurring.
  • Messages clear their own categories and flags randomly after you set them.
  • You can't make an image a link.
  • Calendar and task views hang for extended periods while they load content.
  • There is no combined view for flagged messages and tasks, which are both used as 'to do' items.
  • Messages deleted from subscribed mailboxes seem to disappear into oblivion - no deleted items folder is available for them.

As already pointed out above, I'm also very concerned that Evolution itself is on life support, it's barely maintained let alone are there any efforts aimed at modernising the application.

My understanding is that Red Hat is more-or-less the sole remaining lifeline for the project and nobody else seems interested in helping it, quite strange to me considering how seemingly many distributions depend on it.

I hold out hope that Thunderbird will continue in its recent upward trajectory towards being a truly competitive Outlook alternative, but they're still facing an uphill battle and I'm not convinced they would even consider themselves a competitor to Outlook in the first place.

I also hold out some hope that Microsoft's own 'One Outlook' may prove portable enough that it might end up on Linux somehow, be it through Microsoft's efforts or someone else's.


I agree that evolution is quite sh*tty and I desperately looked for a functional open source alternative. I found Mailspring and I love it so far. Didn't try it with an office 365 account though, so if you'll ever try let us know how it works for you.

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Mailspring looks nice, a little Apple-ish, but as far as I see it supports only IMAP/SMTP and not Exchange EWS.
Also it is only mail, isn’t it? No calendar…

Nope it doesn't support EWS and it ships with a preview calendar feature which syncs only to Google calendar atm. I use it as an alternative to evolution because evolution is a shame :joy: but since I use google calendar for meetings and a regular imap server for business to me Mailspring is almost perfect.

I've tried, maybe just haven't found the right links yet to show me how to do so.
I agree with many of the comments on this string, as far as the faults with Evolution. I find Thunderbird just better. But that's me.

Edited: I also used mailspring a year or so ago. Can't exactly recall this second the issue I kept having and finally tried Evolution. Thinking it had something to do with signing in issues and retrieving emails... But did think it looked better than Evolution, and was able to do some customization...

I tried using Mailspring and Blue Mail this year (last year) and there are complaints about Mail Spring and connection issues.

Both has an issue not honoring formatting when copy and pasting. The signature creation I believe on Mail Spring is a convoluted mess. I was unable to find return receipt requested on either of them. Creating emails was missing so many basic options on both of them, it almost felt like you were using a beta program.

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Help me with an assumption that I am making:

Are these concerns primarily aimed at those that use a Lot of different emails with a Lot of communication?
I may be wrong, but going by the posts in this thread; it appears as those who use the above named apps for heavy use run into trouble whereas those that use it for light use do not.


The only true mail client that ever existed is Pegasus Mail, a Windows application. Having looked at the thread again reminded me of the protest group against Outlook as it didn't follow email protocols correctly, not least with it's tie in with Microsoft Word. It's akin to the recent debate about Browsers. They should just be a browser and nothing else.


Yes, I think that's a very good observation. My daily workflow is built entirely around emails, tasks and calendars using Exchange. It's my primary means of communication internal and external, it plans out my daily schedule, it's used to coordinate with my team via shared mailboxes/calendars, it functions as my overall to-do list for regular tasks and larger projects etc.

I don't want to rag hard on Evolution or Thunderbird or any other of these options, for people working in small orgs or freelancing, I think they'd work perfectly fine. I think if my organisation wasn't so deeply entrenched in the Microsoft ecosystem there wouldn't be a problem either. The fact that Evolution even comes close to matching Outlook in functionality, from the outside, is a huge achievement.


Used it up till I guess 1999... but I was a Netscape guy too

If anything, this forum thread proves that we all have different needs. I too have looked for an Outlook alternative for Linux, and also have struggled. If I may, I would like to share what works for me, in the hopes that it will help someone else.

I still use Windows on my primary desktop for many reasons, however I changed my daily driver laptop to Zorin a few years ago, which has been fantastic (it also helped to squeeze a couple more years out of old hardware).

I am an IT Director for a couple of K-12 schools, and also have responsibilities at a university. Obviously I have quite a few accounts that span different platforms. The Linux tool that was the solution for me was Wavebox.
All Your Email Accounts and Web Apps in One Focused Place - Wavebox Browser

You can add multiple accounts (even multiple Office 365 accounts) to Wavebox. For example, for my work Office 365 account, I have added multiple apps that I can access at the top with one click (Outlook, OneNote, Teams, etc), and without signing in again. Each instance is separate, so there's no concern with one account affecting another.

Now, several posts in this thread mentioned that OWA isn't enough for their needs, and I agree that it is not designed to handle multiple accounts on its own. Wavebox uses the Web Apps for all accounts, including Office 365. However, since each instance is separate, all you have to do is click the icon for your account on the left in order to access OWA for that account. And yes, you will receive email notifications for all connected accounts. You can even setup a dashboard to show items from multiple accounts on one screen.

There is a trial available, and a limited free version. It didn't take me long to purchase the full version (which is a subscription for development reasons). The cost is not much, and it is well worth it!

Again, hopefully this helps someone. This solution works very well for me, and it has been very stable for the past few years.