Entourage for EWS: Access the GAL from home

Now that my company has upgraded to Exchange Server 2007, I can take advantage of another new feature in the Web Services Edition of Entourage: Global Address List (GAL) lookups. The GAL is my company’s address book and contains E-mail addresses and other information for everyone who works there.
I use Entourage on my home Mac to connect directly to my work E-mail account via Outlook Web Access (OWA), but this use to be limited in its ability to use my company address book. With Exchange Web Services, I can now search and automatically match names of people at work when addressing messages without using a script and without having to use VPN software. Lookups are built-in and just work.

With any version of Entourage at work, I am connected to my company network and can access the GAL because my computer can talk to a special kind of server called a Global Catalog server. Simplistically, the Global Catalog server is a special type of server that enables users to log in to their computers. When I enter my name and password to log in to my Mac or Windows machine, it goes to the Global Catalog server and verifies that I have entered the correct name and password.
For logins to work, the Global Catalog server must contain a simple list of everyone in my company. This list can be used in other ways and one of them is to provide the GAL, a company address book, to anyone who’s allowed to connect to it. By default, everyone in the GAL is allowed to view it.
However, when I’m at home, I can no longer connect to my Global Catalog server. It is never shared to the Internet for security reasons. Exchange Web Services will offer the GAL to me in lieu of a Global Catalog server.
My Exchange account settings on my computer at home connect me to my company’s Exchange server via Outlook Web Access (OWA). This is the same address that provides me access to my mail, calendar and contacts. With EWS, it also provides me access to the GAL.

The LDAP server field can be left blank both inside the company network as well as outside—GAL lookups will still work. It does still serve to allow users to browse the GAL (view it as a long list of all users), displaying other information such as Office, Telephone , etc. EWS only serves to search the GAL, quickly retrieving a list of matching names based on what the sender has entered into the To, Cc or Bcc field. Matching names from a search will appear in the Directory list below the Contacts and Recent Addresses list.

For those who are not yet using Exchange Server 2007 or Entourage for Exchange Web Services, I have an AppleScript on the Entourage Help Page that can be used by a valid Exchange account to search the GAL from the Internet.

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