Office 365–With Mac OS X Lion, Microsoft Office 2011 and Lync 2011 for Mac

Many of the customers I work with are currently making their way through an Office 365 technical pilot that needs to include Mac OS X machines as well as various versions of Windows.  The Windows stuff seems fairly well documented and since we now have a GA release of Lync 2011 for Mac OS X I thought I would write a post about using OS X with Office 365…

Note:  Most of this is documented on the following page, however it does not include Lync or any screenshots..

Software requirements for Mac OS X and Office 365

There are some things that you need to know before rushing out to connect your Max OS X machines to Office 365.  Firstly you will need a version of Outlook that supports Exchange Web Services (EWS).  Older versions of Outlook for Mac used WebDAV which is not provided in Exchange Server 2010 and therefore is also not available in Office 365.  Plus there are some minimum versions of Mac OS X and Browsers that are supported…

  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 1+
  • Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011 (v14.0.1)
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 12.2.9+
  • Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition
  • Mac OS X 10.5.8+
  • Safari 4 or 5
  • Firefox 3.5 or 4
  • Chrome 3

Note: If you are using an internal CA for any of your Exchange or ADFS servers you must import the root CA certificate onto your Mac before working through these steps…

For the purposes of this article I will concentrate on Office 2011 since it represents the best end user experience and it is also the version I have the most experience with (and happen to have handy!).

Connecting to Office 365 Web Portal

OK, so this bit isn't very exciting however it is always my first step since it proves that my Office 365 account credentials are good and that the Mac has connectivity to the Office 365 service and ADFS.

  1. Open your browser (In this example I am using Safari 5)
  2. Navigate to
  3. Login with your Office 365 user credentials
  4. Click on the Outlook link to connect to Outlook Web Access
  5. Select the Language and Time Zone preferences (if prompted)




Assuming everything went well, you should now be looking at your Office 365 users Outlook Web Access page via OS X Safari!  For some of my customers this is actually “good enough”, however for the large majority they need the rich experience provided by Outlook and Lync on their Mac… so we need to continue on Smile

Connecting Outlook 2011 for Mac to Office 365

Ok, so we have already connected to OWA via Safari so the next thing to do is configure Outlook.  When you start Outlook for Mac 2011 the first thing it will ask you to do is to Add Account

  • Click the checkbox to make Outlook the default application for e-mail, calendar and contacts then click Add Account


  • Once the Add an Account page is displayed, click on Exchange Account
  • Fill in your account details on the Exchange Account Information Page, ensure that Configure Automatically is checked and then click on Add Account


  • Outlook will warn you that your AutoDiscover request has been redirected to a different server
  • Ensure that the Always use my response for this server checkbox is checked and click on Allow


  • At this point Outlook will reconfigure itself to connect to your Office 365 mailbox by using the data from AutoDiscover
  • I typically also change the Account Description on the next page to show that it is an Office 365 Account


  • Close the Accounts Window and Outlook should show as connected and begin synchronising your mailbox content…


Connecting Lync 2011 for Mac to Office 365

NOTE:  Lync 2011 requires an update to connect to Office 365 which is provided here…

I have to admit that despite being a Microsoft Employee I am also a Mac user (occasionally anyway) and for me Lync was the missing piece of the puzzle for making a Mac a usable experience.

Anyway, enough of that lets move on to connecting Lync…

  • Start Lync for Mac 2011
  • The first thing that Lync will ask is to set it as the default application for presence – if you want presence information then select Use Lync
  • The next screen will be the Lync for Mac 2011 login screen
  • Click on the Advanced icon at the bottom


  • Click on the Advanced button at the bottom of the Lync client
  • Set Internal Server name to
  • Set External Server name to
  • Click OK


  • Enter your login account details and password
  • Check the Remember my password checkbox and click Sign In


  • If everything went to plan, you should now see your Microsoft Lync for Mac 2011 client open up and show as connected!
  • I suspect this isn't actually that exciting to everyone, but I (and some of my customers) have been waiting for nearly a year to get this far!


The screenshot below shows my OS X Lion desktop connected to Microsoft Office 365 via a federated Active Directory account… and who says Microsoft and Apple cant work together!



As a regular Mac and Windows user it is vital to me that my systems are able to collaborate and share data effectively.  It is also vital that I am able to communicate and collaborate effectively with my colleagues running Windows or Mac machines.  I have to say that prior to having Lync my Mac experience was definitely lacking… however now I can connect Outlook and Lync to Office 365 I am able to function just as effectively on my Mac as I am on my Windows 7 machine.  Being able to join conference calls, share my desktop etc even when I am on my Mac is a huge improvement to my productivity…

Having worked with a few customers who have a Mac OS X community to support I have to say that connecting them to Office 365 has been relatively painless…  in fact it is arguably easier to connect a Mac running Office 2011 to Office 365 than Windows; largely since OS X doesn't require any patch updates or the Windows Live Sign In Assistant to connect reliably.  The biggest problem area that I have seen is that organisations who have chosen to use their internal CA to issue certificates for their internal Exchange and ADFS services, must remember to import the root CA certificate on every new Mac that is deployed… failure to do this leaves the machine unable to authenticate to ADFS and AutoDiscover failing to configure Outlook.

Overall though I have to say that this is great work from both the Office 365 and Office 2011 for Mac teams…!

Comments (16)

  1. From my limited experience it works really well, I have a customer with more than 500 Mac's running Lync 2011 against Office 365.  The most common problem that I see with Mac's is with certficates, i.e customer has chosen to use internal CA to provide their ADFS certificate and not installed the root CA certificate chain onto the Mac… the other really common problem is where the UPN does not match the SMTP name, this causes a huge amount of end user confusion, remember that if you are using ADFS you need to login with your UPN not your SMTP name (They are not necessarily the same!).  As a test I often try to use a managed account to bypass the ADFS infrastructure, i.e use one of your @<tenant> acccounts to test Lync before trying a federated account.  If you are really struggling then call support – thats what they are there for 🙂

  2. I would urge everyone who is struggling with this to contact support.  They are aware that there is an issue, however I spoke with the Lync 2011 engineering team yesterday and they have confirmed that Lync 2011 should work against Office 365.  At this time the support teams are working with engineering to try to understand why some people (its not just me!) are able to connect, while others, although seemingly following the same process are unable to connect.  Hopefully it will be resolved swiftly…

  3. Fail says:

    Lync 2011 does not work as you suggest.   Check the forums, so far not one person has said it does.

  4. Mac Fan says:

    Well Done MS

  5. JD says:

    We don't have ADFS running, so our users are created straight in 365.   Still doesn't work, and we're not alone by the sound of it.    Login and email are identical, can log in using Lync 2010 just fine.     Tried the thing as well with no luck.

    I'm betting there is a bug here.   Someone said they were watching network traffic and the Lync 2011 client would start looking at their internal AD then time out.    There is no reason it should be doing that on a cloud based service.

    Again, Microsoft should have thought about a more open beta like is typical rather than releasing something and creating confusion or forcing us to call support.    

    BTW: some are saying that 365 is not ready for Lync 2011 yet.   Again, why would there be a client release if this were the case, and it sure seems to be working for you.

  6. GP says:

    Lync 2011 and office 365 does not work for me either.

  7. Brandon says:

    Well this isn't the case for anyone but you it would appear as Office 365 and Lync for Mac aren't playing nice with each other!

  8. bradrel says:

    This is supposed to work, or not supposed to work?…/12853.aspx

  9. Lync 2011 is NOT 365 compatible says:

    I called 365 support today on this.  I was told the official word is Lync 2011 for Mac does NOT work with 365.   They are aware that web sites and product documentations state that it does, but it does not.   They said they were working on this but could not tell me when something would be released.  They indicated it might be a separate client.

    This feels like a bait and switch on customers who were promised this service, not communicated that it would not work, and not being given an ETA on availability.  

    How the author of this blog was able to connect and states he knows others who are is confusing at best.   I'd like to understand if this is some kind of pre-release software or if indeed its on prem Lync that is being used.

  10. DJP says:

    Lync for Mac 2011 will not connect to lync online. Is there something I'm missing?

  11. mike says:

    Can someone please confirm whether the E3 plan on O365 includes a license of Office 2011 for Mac? You get Office 2010 for Windows, but are Mac users out of luck?

  12. Roman says:


    You do NOT get a license for Office:Mac 2011 with Office 365, you only get a license for the Windows client.  

  13. Steve says:

    I have a purchased copy of Office 2011 for the Mac, and the Office365 E3 plan.   Office365 advertises Lync as one of the benefits it offers.  HOWEVER, I don't have Lync, as it was not included in MS Office 2011, and I cannot find it available as a download.

    How are we supposed to get it?  I tried downloading the update version, but because it cannot find a previous version installed, it won't install.

    Neil – can you help?  Any recommendations???

    I have contacted support, and one of the things they did was refer me to this link!!!!

  14. Lawdawg says:

    I was able to download the client from the link (no pun intended) below.…/638

  15. stephen says:

    I had troubles connecting to Lync from the Mac but after punching in the internal and external server names provided above it into Lync's Advanced Properties dialog box it worked perfectly.

  16. Franz says:

    Do any of you experience issues viewing the GAL in Outlook 2011? Are there any specific settings you need to input to view this or do you need ADFS?


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