Improved user interface; Multiple people can edit a document in real time; Enhanced Excel and PowerPoint features; Easier to add videos and photos; Drastically improved mail client. Microsoft's new suite packs in more features than iWork, a much improved interface, and the best version of Outlook yet for Macs. Although some Mac owners will opt for Apple's own iWork suite when it comes time to getting work done, many others will take comfort in Microsoft Office for Mac, particularly if Office was the first productivity suite they learned to use, or if it's the one they use every day on their work computer.
In the past, though, Office for Mac has been a generation behind its Windows counterpart, both in terms of features and the general look and feel. In particular, look for a streamlined user interface, a more robust Excel for creating spreadsheets, and a version of Outlook that finally looks and acts like the PC version. Plus, you get a PowerPoint that's finally robust enough to take on Apple's dazzling Keynote software.
The latest version of Office will take up 2. Although it installed on our two year-old MacBook quickly, we were annoyed to see that it didn't overwrite Office for Mac , which we already had installed on our machine. This left us with dual icons for Word, Excel, etc. When you launch Word, Excel, or PowerPoint for the first time, you'll now see a gallery of templates e. Unless you check a box at the bottom of the screen asking Office not to display these galleries, you'll see them whenever you launch one of these three programs. Microsoft also promises that files will open and save faster, and that the program generally executes tasks faster.
The latest version of Mac for Office ushers in the Ribbon interface, which first debuted on Office for Windows. The Ribbon UI, by the by, now permeates the Windows operating system, even appearing in the native Paint application. Ribbon's goal is to minimize the time users spend digging through top-level menus, such as View or Insert. Now, each program has a row of tabs on top, the names of which vary depending on whether you're using Word, PowerPoint, or Excel. When you click on one of these tabs, you'll see a kitchen sink of icons.
The idea is that rather than navigate through a menu tree, you can see all of your relevant choices, and just click on the one you want. This is mostly a smart way of helping users be aware of the suite's growing list of features, and finding them in a hurry. There's also a row of commonly used icons, which sits above the Ribbon tabs. Unlike the PC version, however, you can't customize which icons appear or in what order. As with Office on our Windows machine, getting used to the Ribbon was a bit of an adjustment, but we quickly figured out how to locate the features we use most often. If this abundance of icons gets visually overwhelming--and it can, for those used to Apple's cleaner interfaces--you can double click a tab to hide them.
MS Office 2011 or 2016?
You can also go to the View tab at the very top of the screen to customize whether other onscreen items, such as a Ruler, appear. Additionally, there's a convenient bar in the upper right-hand corner of every Office program that allows you to search the document. This reminds us of the search bar that Firefox has in the same location. Taking a similar approach as it did with Office for Windows, about which Microsoft said that photos and videos would become "first-class citizens" in documents, the company has made it easier to add and then edit multimedia in Office docs on Macs.
It begins with a pruned and unified interface across all the apps: Regardless of whether you're adding music, photos, or videos, you'll go to the same media browser, which has neat tabs for each of these categories. When users add photos, they can now make simple edits, such as crop or even auto-format to make sure the image fits the given space properly. The addition of artistic filters is also a welcome touch. Likewise, embedding movies in your next presentation is easier than it had been. One feature Microsoft added across the board is the ability to communicate with others from within whatever document you're working on.
If someone else is actively working on the doc, you can communicate with them using IM, voice, or video chat, so long as you have Messenger for Mac 8 free or Communicator for Mac free to business customers buying licenses at a volume discount.
Of course, you'll need a Windows Live account to log into these tools, and you can't log in using another service, such as Google Talk. In fact, you need a Windows Live ID to co-author, period, since the files are stored in Microsoft's cloud storage site, Skydrive. We feel it's unrealistic of Microsoft to expect that Mac loyalists will have or even want a Windows Live account.
Office for Mac Delivers the Goods [REVIEW]
It's a shame, because this requirement could mean that fewer people actually enjoy some of Office for Mac's most compelling new features. Like Google Docs, the web-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel let users co-edit documents in real time with others, or make edits on their own. Users can store their documents in Skydrive, which is free to anyone who signs up for a Windows Live ID, or on a SharePoint server, a product to which only a business user is likely to have access.
In addition to editing documents originally created on the desktop, you can start new ones from scratch online. The online interface mimics the same Ribbon UI found on the desktop version, so it's a consistent experience. We especially like that there's a button to open in the corresponding desktop program, such as Word, so you don't have to manually download and then open it.
In Excel, users can use Pivot Tables to simplify a potentially long, detailed database of numbers.
For example, we maintain a log recording when we use our running shoes, and how many miles we run in them, as well as how many miles we spend walking. How else are we supposed to know when we need a new pair? With a Pivot Table, we can create a smaller, easier-to-read table that, say, presents the total number of miles we've run, or walked, without listing every entry.
These Pivot Tables can appear in either a new sheet or on the same one where you've already entered your data. In Office this meant you would be searching through the object palette of the toolbox or sifting through your media folders in the Finder. The new Media Browser gives you a centralized location to browse images, video, iMovie projects, iPhoto libraries, and your music from iTunes so you can grab what you need quickly whether you are in Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, or Excel.
If you don't have time to sift through each of the categories, you can do a quick search by keyword to get what you want. The suite is filled with time-saving shortcuts like these and we think it shows that the Mac team at Microsoft has been listening to users. New features Alongside interface enhancements like the Ribbon across all four Office applications, Microsoft Office offers a number of features that should reduce the time you spend gathering information so you can spend more time on getting the project done. The new Conversation View in Outlook collapses e-mail threads so you can view the entire conversation without sifting through your in-box, for example.
Likewise, new image-editing tools in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel are welcome additions for anyone who works with media in documents and presentations, obviating the need for third-party editors in most situations. Many of the new features and tools help you push your presentations and documents away from the usual bullet points and toward more-engaging visual presentations.
Outlook With Outlook now available in Office , several features are now available to Mac users that used to require separate and often not fully compatible software solutions for previous versions. Now, with a connection to Exchange Server or later , Mac users will be able to use global address books, set up meetings and send meeting requests, and check the availability of attendees on calendars. Like the latest Windows version of Outlook, Conversation View is now available for Mac making it easy to find older messages in a thread by putting them together in one place.
You also can click an arrow on the left edge of the in-box item to instantly expand a thread into conversation view. According to Microsoft, this feature has gotten a mixed reaction from users, but we think once people get used to grouping e-mail threads together in Conversation View, it will save them a lot of time.
Outlook for Mac also makes it easy to get messages from all your e-mail accounts in one place. New Unified Folders consolidate your various exchange and online accounts into one in-box folder for easy reading. If you find it overwhelming, you can always browse each account separately by expanding a unified folder for individual account access. Those who are switching from Windows to Mac in a work environment will appreciate the new ability to seamlessly transfer your Outlook data from a Windows machine. You'll now be able to import your data files.
But be aware that you'll only be able to import. PST files from Outlook or later. Some of the strengths of using Outlook in the workplace are the scheduling tools that let you map out your workday. In Outlook for Mac, some helpful new features include the ability to preview your calendar directly from a meeting invitation to see if you're available to attend.
A small preview window shows up in the lower right of an invite showing what you have scheduled around that time.
You'll also be able to stay on top of your busy schedule with the My Day window that lets you view upcoming appointments. Both of these features are great time-savers because you won't need to open your full calendar each time you need to check your schedule. PowerPoint Microsoft's PowerPoint is a mainstay for business meetings and now has added features to make it easy to create engaging visual presentations rather than the usual boring bullet points. An improved Presenter view in PowerPoint gives you all the tools you need to pull off a flawless performance.
As your audience watches, you'll be able to view the current slide, see what slide is coming up next, view personal notes for each slide, see the elapsed time for your presentation, and stay on target with a progress bar to show where you are in your presentation.
To make your visual projects more portable, you'll now be able to embed movies. In previous versions, you would have needed to include the extra video files when sharing a presentation, but with this new feature, it's easy to deliver your presentation as one complete package. You'll also be able to apply movie styles and effects by clicking on the video and using the appropriate dynamic tools in the Ribbon, all of which will be retained in your embedded movie when you share your presentation.
Better slide transitions and animations in Office for Mac make it easy to create a pro-level presentation with new 3D effects, and a new tab in the Ribbon dedicated to Transitions keep them close at hand for on-the-spot changes. Possibly the best-looking feature of all in PowerPoint is exclusive to the Mac version of Office and very useful for managing complex slides. Now when you create a slide that includes several graphical elements, you'll be able to use Dynamic Reordering to move objects between layers. By choosing Dynamic Reordering in the Arrange menu, you're able to look at graphical elements of your slide in a 3D layered view, allowing you to move elements toward the front or back by clicking and dragging them to your preferred location.
These features are available in Word as well, and will be very useful for managing graphically complex newsletters or brochures with several graphical elements. Finally, to share your presentation with co-workers or clients remotely, PowerPoint includes a new feature called Broadcast Slideshow, which is also exclusive to Office for Mac. Now, as long as you and your target audience have an account with Windows Live, you'll be able to quickly send a URL to up to 50 attendees and run through your presentation all without leaving your desk.
Like many of the new features in Office , Broadcast Slideshow makes it easy to get your work in front of clients and colleagues without a lot of extra steps. Excel The venerable software for spreadsheet creation and management received a few major improvements in Office Just like its Windows counterpart, you'll now be able to add Sparklines to your spreadsheet to make your data more visual.
Sparklines are tiny charts that sit in a single spreadsheet cell, making it possible to give a visual representation of your data without needing to refer to a separate chart. With only a few clicks, you'll be able to add a Sparkline, and then browse through several different visual styles to give your spreadsheet the exact look you want. It's important to note that Sparklines will only be available to those who have the latest versions of Office for both Windows and Mac, so you'll need to know in advance what version of Office your clients have available.
In keeping with making your projects more visual in Office for Mac, Excel now offers conditional formatting tools to make your spreadsheets easier to understand, and not just a wall of data. Now, you'll be able to browse through icon sets to show trends over time and display data bars that make percentage increases or decreases more visual and easy to understand right in the spreadsheet.
There are more than 40 built-in formats to choose from, but even if you can't find what you need, you can create your own. You also will spend less time creating rules for cells with new built-in quick-select rules. A new Manage Rules dialog box makes it easy to quickly modify or change rules so you'll spend less time dealing with complex formulas. Word When you need to do some writing, whether it's for a newsletter, a brochure, or a slick-looking resume, Word now has a number of features to help you get your project done quickly. By using the aforementioned Template Gallery as a starting point, you'll be able to browse through thousands of premade forms, letters, and layouts to get the right template to fit your needs.
A new publishing layout view in Word makes arranging elements of your document much easier, with drag-and-drop functionality that automatically causes your text to wrap around objects you import. Dynamic guides appear automatically when you need them, or you can keep specific guides on the desktop while you work for easy access. You'll also now be able to manage formatting using a new Visual Styles pane.
Helpful for keeping formatting consistent, the Visual Styles pane shows where in your document specific styles are applied using a handy numbered and color-coded system. This is a major improvement over previous versions that often had users struggling to figure out which parts of the document included specific styles. Now style changes in documents are laid out in front of you. One of our favorite features for keeping focused on your work is the new Full Screen View. With this new Mac-exclusive feature, you'll be able to write or read without distractions, blocking out everything but the specific tools you need.
You also can customize your workspace with a large selection of backgrounds and page-turning effects when in reading view. There have been third-party full-screen reading solutions before now, but having the option for a distraction-free workspace within Word is a welcome addition.
Office Web apps and co-authoring One of the biggest additions to Office for Windows was the addition of Web apps that let you work on the go. With Office for Mac, you'll now be able to easily take your work with you as long as you have an Internet connection. You can save your Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files online, then access them from anywhere--even with proper formatting--and you'll be able to use a slimmed-down, but familiar Office-like feature set.
Best of all, it's easy to switch back and forth between your desktop and Web versions of your work. You can create your document on your desktop, for example, then save it to the cloud via Windows Live SkyDrive or SharePoint , then make small edits on the road via the Web apps, and then open them again on your desktop to continue editing. What sets these apps apart from Google Docs and other services is that your documents and spreadsheets retain their formatting, giving Office 's Web apps a leg up against online counterparts.
When you need to work on a project with one or more co-workers, new co-authoring in Word and PowerPoint lets you edit the same document or presentation with someone in another location. Once connected, you'll be able to see who is working on the document and you can quickly communicate with them as long as you have Microsoft Messenger 8 installed on your Mac.
Also, with Office 's new co-authoring technology, you won't get locked out of a document when your co-worker goes offline; all of your content is still available so you can continue working. Conclusions Does Office for Mac offer enough to make it worth the upgrade from earlier versions? With all the new features that will save you time from quick image edits within the suite to easy sharing of your work, and much more, Office is a huge improvement over Office New templates and quick access to video- and image-editing tools are welcome additions for those who create visual presentations of their content.
Serious spreadsheet power users will like the new features that tie data together in Excel while making complex data more accessible in the Ribbon and more exciting visually with Sparklines. Outlook's new conversation-view features for saving time managing your e-mail could save daily e-mail users a lot of time, if they're willing to learn the ropes initially.
With it's return in Office , the Ribbon is clearly the preferred method across the entire suite for getting to features quickly. If you didn't like the Ribbon in Office , you probably won't like it now, but we think there's plenty of utility in having a common interface tool across all the apps. If you're still not convinced the Ribbon is worth your time, you can turn it off easily and use familiar drop-downs and palettes. The new Web apps and co-authoring features make Office a bit better than Google Docs solutions, letting you easily retain your original formatting and providing an easy way to switch from online to desktop with only a couple of clicks.
Office is a worthy upgrade for those who desire new templates and visual styles, better ways of editing multimedia content in publications and presentations, and easier methods of collaboration. The ability to work from anywhere with the new Web apps is surely a big reason to upgrade if your job requires that kind of flexibility. Share files with confidence knowing that the documents you create using Office on your Mac will look the same and work seamlessly when opened in Office for Windows.
Co-authoring allows you to save time and simplify your work by allowing you to edit the same Word document or PowerPoint presentation at the same time as others in different locations who are using Office on a Mac or Office on Windows. Office Web Apps allow you to get things done when and where you want, from virtually any computer with an Internet connection. Sparklines visually summarizes your data using tiny charts that fit within a cell near its corresponding values.
Publishing Layout view combines a desktop publishing environment with familiar Word features, giving you a customized workspace designed to simplify complex layouts. Picture Editing gives you tools throughout the suite to crop, recolor, remove background and compress photos within your document. Charts and SmartArt gives you dozens of SmartArt layouts from more than diagram layouts, ranging from organization charts to lists, processes and relationship diagrams.
Dynamic Reorder helps you simplify complex layouts.
Get an instant, 3-D view of all layers on your Publishing Layout view page and PowerPoint presentation. The new ribbon creates an intuitive experience for the Mac user. Familiar Office for Mac tools are still available so you can take advantage of the new ribbon without reinventing the wheel.
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