Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Preview

Microsoft are soon to release Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows, but no soon afterwards sparks the rumours of the follow up Mac version, and yes indeed Microsoft Office:mac 2011 will be released at the end of the year, oddly a year before expected. The look and feel of Office for the Mac has always been a bit shaky to me, but to me it seems they’ve finally fixed it.

The new icons for Office 2011 take a bit of getting used to, but aren’t bad, still better than Windows ones! But, of course, thats not why your reading this, so lets get on to the apps themselves.

Word

Probably my favourite feature of Microsoft Office 2011 is the fact that you don’t need that annoying Toolbox, which is fine if you’re on a high res screen, but on a Mac like a MacBook it looks a bit annoying and you kinda want it out of the way, but at the same time need it! When it comes to new features of Word, they really kind of aren’t any, more of just appearance changes. As you can see from the image, everything is formatted and controlled through a tab interface just like in 2008, but they’ve finally fixed all the nags. One feature which is notable in all Office apps is the search box in the top right, comes in very useful in large documents, trust me.

PowerPoint

Like Word, PowerPoint doesn’t offer much extra to the field, but does have some marvellous themes and templates to add to the rather nice that came with 2008. Like in Word, you have that top right search box, which in PowerPoint probably isn’t as useful, but nice to have in case. Microsoft claim they have fixed all compatibility issues with Office 2007 and lower for cross-platform in formatting issues, we’ll see about that in the final release.

Excel

Excel has to be the ultimate killer app in Office 2011. I think Microsoft should be ashamed of Office 2008’s Excel as it pretty much removed everything you need Excel to do, but luckily someone slapped some people round the face and sacked some others and brought them back with vengeance. We are of course talking about, well most notable ‘Visual Basic’ support, meaning Macros can be created and edited in Excel, as well as the return of full support for Pivot tables to name but a few. I think we can all finally relax and stop dreading that Excel document, Office Mac finally has a complete Excel program and I think this alone will be the main reason to get hold of Office 2011.

Outlook

Yes, you read right! Office 2011 brings back something Mac users haven’t experiences for … well, too long. We are of course talking about Outlook. Having said that, I gave it a few uses and can’t see really any big difference between Outlook and Entourage on the Mac, yes you have better compatibility with Outlook on Windows obviously as its now the same program, but it even keeps MyDay and everything just seems too similar to Entourage, and to add to that its more or less too little, too late. Why? Well, Mac OSX’s own Mail app can manage Exchange accounts with ease and works far better than Outlook does, so Outlook based on what Mac OSX has to offer seems now rather pointless.

Messenger Mac 8

Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac comes with Messenger Mac 8, which finally comes with video and calls. Despite coming finally with video, I still recommend going out and looking for better options if you need to use Windows Live (MSN) on your Mac, I recommend using aMSN or Adium instead as they’ve had these features for long, plus there still are some issues with profile pictures not appearing and many other things still aren’t supported like ‘nudges’ etc, after all this time, Messenger is still very incomplete.

Microsoft Communicator

Office 2011 also comes with Microsoft Office Communicator which is basically the Messenger for business and works with other Windows users through Exchange accounts.

Remote Desktop Connection for Mac

Remote Desktop Connection has also made its way to Office 2011 and works with Version 6.0 or later on Windows, to potentially allows a remote connection to a computer to get files from the machine, useful if at work and need access to a home computer, vissa versa.

Summary
Office 2011 is a great upgrade for Mac users and I think finally puts the Mac version feature wise next to the Windows counterpart, the biggest disappointment is Messenger, but isn’t it always. Excel is probably going to be the big app for Office 2011 with Macro support as well as more or less everything that was problematic in Office 2008, you can finally stop using a PowerPC app (Office 2004) on an Intel Mac and get some native Intel through Office 2011. Microsoft Office Mac 2011 is expected to be released at the end of 2010, probably in time for Christmas so let everyone know, its probably the first Office Mac in a while thats actually worth buying!

1 thought on “Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac Preview

  1. Have to agree here, seems microsoft still has some parts a generation or more behind their windows counterparts – which is fine as our business will be keeping our macs but changing from MS Office to Open Office.
    We are almost there and just a few more spreadsheets to change.
    Fortunately our customers can download open office as if installing any application for windows or mac.
    Office 2010 ? Sorry, we switched from vista because we had a choice, and its the same when we had office 2008.

    Cheers,
    Adrian

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