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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac: The Complete Package

"The revamped Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage offer expanded
tools for image-conscious users and businesses. After a series of
delays, Microsoft plans to release Office for Mac 2008 to
brick-and-mortar and online stores on January 15, 2008, making this
the first update in about four years. We've tested beta versions of
the new applications over the last month without running into glitches.
Office for Mac includes Word, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for
presentations, and Entourage for e-mail and time management. There's
no Microsoft Access database app for the Mac, although Filemaker's
upcoming release of Bento offers Mac users a new choice. Unlike
Microsoft Office 2007, the interface changes don't look radically
foreign next to the 2004 edition. That's good news for anyone who
doesn't want to relearn the locations of common functions. The 2007
applications for Windows arrange functions within tabs, while the 2008
Mac software largely clusters functions within the same drop-down menus
including File, Edit, and View... Office for Mac saves work in the same
new Open XML formats used by Office 2007 for Windows. We're not thrilled
about this being the default option, even though you can save your
work in the older DOC, XLS, and PPT formats. Free file conversion
tools won't be available until up to 10 weeks from now, or eight weeks
after the applications are available in stores. That means that for now,
should you save work in a new Open XML format in a hurry, someone with
the older software won't be able to open it. Although we're glad that
Microsoft offers free converters, we find the forced extra steps
annoying in Office 2007. That said, the new document types are smaller
and purportedly more secure than their predecessors."

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