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Office 2008 for Mac


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#1
Numberzz

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For this review, I will be using a MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM and a 12” PowerBook with a 1.5GHz G4 and 1.25GB RAM. Both computers have the latest Leopard Build on them (559).

Installation:
On both of the computers, the Installation went very smooth. The Steps for the Installation are as follows: Introduction, License, Product Key, Destination, Installation Type, Installation, Remove Office (older versions), and finally Summary. After the simple 5 minute Installation, an “Identity Creator” opened itself and asked me for my Name, Company, Phone Number, and email address. At first I closed the application, but then realized that I had to register myself in order to use the Office ’08 Applications. After the “Identity” was created, the Office Applications put themselves in my dock without asking me, and Office Gallery Launcher opened itself. I could already tell this was a Microsoft Product.

Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac:

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As I am writing this review in Word, everything is different, but it all seems so similar. Maybe it is because I have used Office since Mac OS 9 and just recently switched to iWork. It could also be because Word has gained almost every single feature that Pages had.
Performance
On my aging PowerBook, I was happy to find that all the effects were happily bouncing along on their path until they got to where they were supposed to be with no jerkiness at all. One thing that is annoying is that the keys seem to be lagging behind the words that I am typing on the keyboard. It almost seems to be worse than on the 2004 version of Office. Also, saving can take up to 4 seconds, rendering the application useless until it is done.

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The Gallery
The Gallery is almost the exact same as it is in Pages. Under Document Elements you can choose from Cover Pages, Table of Contents, Header, Footer, and Bibliographies. From Quick Tables you can choose from Basic and Complex, each having a range of Tables you can choose from. In Charts, you can choose from All, Area, Bar, Bubble, Column, Doughnut, Line, Pie, Radar, Stock, Surface, and X-Y Scatter. In SmartArt Graphics, you can choose from Recent, List, Process, Cycle, Hierarchy, Relationship, Matrix, and Pyramid. Finally, from WordArt, you can choose between Simple, Elegant, Bold, Enhanced, and Elegant.

Other Features
Other than the ones mentioned, there really aren’t that many new features to be told of. If you have used Microsoft Word before, you will get the feeling of refreshment, and comfort, because it feels very familiar.


Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac:

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While I am not an avid Spreadsheet user, I will try my best to cover all the new features that are in Excel. Excel is almost the exact same as where Microsoft left it in 2004, with the addition of the Gallery, which is almost the same as it is in Word. Excel needs some work, from what I can tell. The Ribbon UI uses the exact same icon for the Galleries that involve selecting a certain elements in the Gallery. Regarding performance, Excel’s Gallery was slow and choppy, while Word’s was nice an flowing. While I don’t have much more to say, I can say this: I much prefer Numbers over Excel.

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Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 for Mac:

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Microsoft had some competition when Apple released Keynote 4.0. They have gained some ground back with PowerPoint 2008. PowerPoint now is more user Friendly, and is taking advantage of the Gallery in all Office 2008 Applications.
The Gallery
PowerPoint has gained a lot of functionality with the Gallery. Now all the effects and themes from one area. You can choose from Slide Themes, Slide Layout, Transitions, Table Styles, Charts, SmartArt Graphics, and WordArt. I think that this is much better than the old 2004 PowerPoint Method of doing things. When choosing a transition, you can select the transition, and it does this short preview that is already over before it started and it had told me nothing about the transition. You have to do it several times before actually knowing what the transition did. Good Job Microsoft, you have implemented another new feature in a wrong way!
PowerPoint is good, and I think that Apple will need to push the limits with the next version of Keynote.

Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac:
Entourage is Microsoft’s answer to Mail, iCal, and Address Book. Can it finally take them down? The answer is no. It does take a long time to open, it makes strange noises at random times(like when you turned off email notification and it is idle). With this Application, I think that Microsoft tried to pack too much into one Application. The UI itself is not very space efficient and it is slow to use. On top of it all, Microsoft had to put a little window that showed all the attachments before showing the actual message. I would try to avoid this.

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Stability:
I would say that the stability is surprisingly good for a beta Microsoft Product. Word only crashed once, causing me to rewrite the Entourage part of the review. As I said before, Microsoft needs to increase the speed a little, especially with typing. Also, I have had many graphical errors happen. Many times text disappears until you select the area where the text is and it promptly shows up. I would say you could use this product full time if you saved a lot and your standards weren’t very high.
4 out of 5 without the obvious Beta Glitches
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#2
John the Geek

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How did you feel about Entourage launching the Microsoft AU Daemon in the background and phoning home on port 80 to a special beta server?

Anyone wanna try and catch what it sends? You can't just restart Entourage, because the AU Daemon stays running. You need to kill it in Activity Viewer and then launch Entourage to get it to phone home again. Little Snitch comes it real handy here.

#3
Numberzz

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I tried to catch what it said, and all I could find was that process talking to my mail server(mail.comcast.net). Thats all I could see running.
Microsoft Entourage=
YOU
PHAIL
LIFE
:rolleyes:

#4
rollcage

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After the “Identity” was created, the Office Applications put themselves in my dock without asking me

While in the Installation Type step, hit customize and uncheck the dock icons box. MS does let you choose not to put the icons in the dock, it's just very obvious.

#5
Meowy

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AU = Automatic Update :rolleyes:

#6
Darktear

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Great review :rolleyes:

#7
failurbydesign

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I love it. Sooo much nicer and easier to use that 04...

#8
apowerr

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Nice review. I have always liked MS office on the PC and Mac, and am glad that the Mac version is finaly up to par with the Windows one.

#9
diegah

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I can't see the toolbar ;(

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And...... excel not working for me "Not enough memory" :S

Back to 2004 :)

#10
Darsil

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Sure, the new interface is gorgeus.. A real eye candy, but who needs that for real work? :P Especially when that doesn't enhance productivity at all. Am I the only one having a hard time trying to figure out where all the old, so familiar functions, have gone in both Mac Office 2008 (Beta) and Office 2007 for the PC?
I thought they'd been rearranged to be easier to find for newbies, but I had to reconsider this thought since my mother doubled her yelling for "Where is function X, son??" lately... :blink:
Well, maybe it's just the way we learned using typewriting software, maybe the youngsters will really find this software well structured. ;)

My major concern about this (Beta) version of Office 2008 for the Mac is actually the lack of a new version of Messenger for Mac! I specifically decided to give this Beta a try because I was hoping for something at least similar to Windows Live Messenger for the PC, and all I get is the old crappy 6.0.3 version! I'm slowly convincing friends and relatives to "Get a Mac", but I still have dozens of friends who, using Windows Live Messenger, spend their time complaining with me about my poor transfer speeds, my missing support for animoticons or handwriting, video and audio... That's kind of frustrating, you know... Wasn't a new version supposed to be in the works and scheduled for release with Office 2008? Where's that in this Office Beta?
But maybe I just dreamt about this. :)

We should all remember, finally, that since MS software is always in what I call a "slightly more than Beta" stage, their Beta software should be therefore considered as "slightly more than Alpha". Stability and performance issues are just normal and will be ironed out in a later development stage... Eventually... Maybe... :unsure:

#11
rollcage

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Sure, the new interface is gorgeus.. A real eye candy, but who needs that for real work? :unsure: Especially when that doesn't enhance productivity at all.


Then again it doesn't hurt it either. It looks like they put a lot of time trying to make this version look good. Anyone notice that a lot of the buttons not only highlight, but have a ripple effect when you mouse over? I just hope that they didn't waste time they could have used for making it more stable/faster.

The new locations of some functions did take a little getting used to, but it sped my workflow up considerably. The same can be said about Office '07. Still trying to figure out which one I like more...

#12
maxophobic

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curious on everybody's opinions - do you think this is safe to use without little snitch? i ran word and excel '08 quickly with my network connection unplugged but decided to stick with office '04 until i heard thoughts on this matter. thanks.

#13
John the Geek

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I don't know why only Entourage enables the AU daemon, but here is the attempt.

If it really is just an update check, then it's probably fine, but I don't know, and letting MS know what my IP is for a version of Office I'm not supposed to have yet makes me a bit uneasy.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  AU.jpg   62.59KB   98 downloads


#14
rollcage

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What are they gonna do, sue me?.........oh, wait.... :)

People used beta copies of Vista that they weren't supposed to have and I didn't read any new articles of people getting in trouble for it. If they weren't worried about a whole OS, they certainly shouldn't worry about a copy of Office...

#15
my1stmacisaHACK

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does it support docx already?

#16
FavleX

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Thanks Numberz
Very good review and helpful for me. :P

#17
cyclonefr

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does it support docx already?


it does !

#18
Azurael

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I like iWork '08...

MSOffice only remains for opening those stubborn documents that don't import properly. I see Microsoft have really ripped off the Pages interface for Word '08 too.

#19
Matthias03

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As much as I loathe M$, their Office products have always been hard to beat. I can't live w/out "Outlook" at work, and at home, "Entourage" is no different. I'm really glad to see this reviewed, and it already answered some of my concerns. I hope they keep developing this though, it "looks" rough, and the issues that are there now are very relevant, specially the slowness. Although I don't have much hope for that being fixed, do u know of any M$ software that they "sped" up? <insert bad M$ Millennium joke>

As far as avoiding Entourage, why again? Here's my biggest gripe w/ "Mail" and why I switched to "Entourage" at home. . . .Mail doesn't notify you if you receive an email that goes into a smart mail box, Entourage does. Unless I'm seriously missing an option in Mail's preferences, if I have some people's addresses filtered in my mailbox, Mail won't display the little new mail message icon, or ring the sound, Entourage does. And since I use Outlook religiously at work, using Entourage became a natural migration, despite its great UI ugliness.

As far as using it to replace Address Book, iCal, and Mail, I think it never will, but for an "all in one" suite, it does a great job. So why avoid it again? Not that I'm arguing, just extremely interested what's changed so much from 2004 to '08 to warrant such a statement?

#20
Zombiepron

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Well, I'll be adding the other cent soon enough, but from what I see it looks like its gonna be, well, Microsoft Office *GASP*.
Not sure if its gonna wow me, but I'll certainly find my inner spreadsheet-er.





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