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Logging

Outlook for Mac includes a logging feature to assist with troubleshooting Exchange connectivity. Logging will capture information related to four types of Exchange services that Outlook can access:

  • Autodiscover
  • Folder and item synchronization
  • Calendar
  • LDAP

Enable logging

To enable logging, do the following:

  1. In Outlook for Mac, select Error Log from the Window menu.
  2. Click the Settings cog in the upper right corner of the Errors window.
  3. Select Turn on logging for troubleshooting.
    Errors window
  4. Click the OK button and then quit Outlook. At next launch, a file will appear on the current Mac OS X user’s Desktop called Microsoft_Outlook_Troubleshooting_0.log.

Filtering information

While logging is enabled Outlook for Mac will quickly fill the log file with information. Much of that information will probably not relate to the problem. Filtering for data specific to the problem will make troubleshooting easier. By default, the log file contains information about all four services but it can be adjusted to record only information specific to the problem.

Use the defaults or plistbuddy command line tools or a plain text editor such as TextEdit or TextWrangler to create a new property list (.plist) file to filter logged information. The following examples use defaults to create the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist file in the current Mac OS X user’s ~/Library/Preferences folder. This file does not exist by default.

(Note: Each command is just one line. The ” \ ” at the end of each line indicates the command continues to the next line while written as multiple lines. It is not included when entered as a single line. Also note that  the .plist file extension is not included in the command.)

Turn logging off for the Autodiscover service:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging \
entourage.exchange.autoconfigure -dict enabled \
-bool false "detail level" -int 4

The contents of the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist will will look like:

Turn logging off for folder and item synching data:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging \
entourage.exchange.EWS -dict enabled \
-bool false "detail level" -int 4

The contents of the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist will will look like:

Turn logging off for calendar synching data:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging \
entourage.calendar -dict enabled \
-bool false "detail level" -int 4

The contents of the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist will will look like:

Turn logging off for LDAP transactions:

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging \
entourage.network.ldap -dict enabled \
-bool false "detail level" -int 4

The contents of the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist will will look like:

Reading the log file

Once logging is enabled and the com.microsoft.outlook.psslogging.plist file is filtering for the desired information, Outlook is ready for troubleshooting.

Launch Outlook and the log file will appear on the current Mac OS X user’s Desktop. Open the log file using the Console.app application found in /Applications/Utilities. This file can remain open during troubleshooting and will update in real time as information is logged. Use Console’s Insert Marker function to denote the beginning of troubleshooting.

At this point, perform one or more actions that will trigger the error and then refer to the log file. Preferably, watch the Console while working in Outlook. Avoid unnecessary activity that may cause Outlook to write more information to the log file than is needed.

Use Console to search for terms in the log file such as:

  • Autodiscover
  • DNS
  • Failed

Do not search for “Error” because Exchange returns frequent “NoError” messages that cloud the results.

The following example shows an error with Autodiscover and indicates an error in DNS.

Error autodiscover

Warning: Logging will not record authentication information but it may contain personally identifiable information. Before submitting a log file to an outside support agency, it should be reviewed and scrubbed of any compromising information.

For more information about using logging to troubleshoot Exchange issues, read Turning logging on or off in Outlook for Mac 2011 on Microsoft’s website.

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