Customize Sound Sets in Microsoft Entourage

K writes:

Is there a way to customize your own sounds for incoming emails in Entourage? In OS9, all you had to do was drop .snd files into the system folder and they were accesible from within Entourage. In OSX, it seems like all you can do is assign the standard sound sets. (like the 'new mail' sound etc..)

Microsoft Entourage's Sound Sets are stored in the Microsoft User Data folder located inside your Documents folder. To get there, navigate to: ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Entourage Sounds sets. In here should be one file, the default sound set that comes with Microsoft Office.

It's not quite as simple as just dropping audio files here though. You need to have special "Microsoft Entourage Sounds" files. Luckily there's a load of them you can download at Sound Off. My personal favourite is HAL alerts sound set.

Once you have downloaded a sound set you will need to double-click it to decompress it. You may need Stuffit Expander for this. You then need to drag the sounds file to the Entourage Sounds sets folder.

Now open up entourage and go to the Preferences (in the Entourage menu). In the Notification section you can choose your new sound set from the pop-up menu. To test each sound, click the little speaker icon next to each check box.

Entourage Sound Sets

It is also possible to use own audio files or the Mac OS X alert sounds as Entourage alerts. It's just not quite as easy and you can only make it play when you receive new mail. Essentially you have to create a mail rule that will run an Applescript that will tell another application to play the sound file.

Play Sound Icon

The first step is to download Play Sound, a really simple sound player for Mac OS X. After downloading this, install it by double-clicking on the disk image and dragging Play Sound to your Applications folder.

Next, open up Script Editor (in Applications/AppleScript) and paste the following script:

set soundAlias to "Macintosh HD:Applications:Microsoft Office 2004:Office:Sounds:Take Off" as alias
tell application "Play Sound"
play (soundAlias as alias)
end tell

Running this script will play a sound file. To choose your own sound file, you will need to change the first line of the script. Macintosh HD:Applications:Microsoft Office 2004:Office:Sounds:Take Off tells it to play the "Take Off" file in the "Sounds" folder in the "Office" folder etc. If you wanted it to play a file in your Music folder you would put something like Macintosh HD:Users:matt:Music:sound.mp3. If you wanted it to play one of the Mac OS X alert sounds, you would put something like Macintosh HD:System:Library:Sounds:Sosumi.aiff.

Once you have chosen your sound file, select Save As from the File menu, and save the script in the "Entourage Script Menu Items" folder in the "Microsoft User Data" folder in your Documents.

Entourage Rules
The final stage is to get Entourage to run this script when certain things happen. In the Tools menu choose Rules and click the plus to create a new one. Select your criteria for when the sound will play. If you want it to play for all new messages, leave the pop-up menu as "All messages". Now choose "Run AppleScript" from the Action pop-up menu. Choose your script and click OK to save the rule. Now you are all done.

Even though you can't use mail rules to play a nice "Welcome" sound like the sound sets do, you can make one play manually. Any sound script you add to the "Entourage Script Menu Items" folder can be accessed from the script menu next to the help menu at the top of the screen. Just click up there or assign a keyboard shortcut to play it whenever you open up Entourage!

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