Software

Don't skip this Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 edition

Erik Eckel looks at the new features of Office for Mac 2011. Not only does Outlook replace Entourage, but other important updates make this suite one you shouldn't pass up.

Windows users' no longer boast the newest Microsoft Office suite. The honor belongs to Mac users, now. Microsoft just released the long-awaited Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 suite. Gone is the temperamental Entourage, replaced instead with what many enterprise Mac administrators have been seeking for a long time: Outlook.

What's included?

Just what's included in Office for Mac Home and Business 2011? While both the Home and Student and Home and Business editions include Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, only the business edition includes Outlook. Further, the business edition provides Mac users with a full year of technical support versus just 90 days for home edition buyers.

What's new?

Microsoft has packed quite a few new features into Office for Mac Home and Business 2011. The most prominent change, of course, is Outlook replacing Entourage in the productivity tool lineup. Outlook for the Mac introduces a single reliable application for collecting e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks.

In my experience, many Mac users chose to leverage Mac Mail for mail, offload contacts to Address Book and tap iCal for calendaring. Outlook is likely to provide most enterprise users with a better performing and unified application for all those critical items, while also boasting improved synchronization with back-end Exchange servers.

In addition to including Conversations, which collects longer e-mail threads within a single subject, users can now open others' calendars, import .PST files and leverage Mac OS X's native Time Machine to back up Outlook data.

But new features aren't just limited to Outlook. Office for Mac 2011 includes updated ribbon toolbars and template galleries across the board, as well as new full screen views, Publishing previews, styles interactions, object-reordering windows that better enable managing layers and file sharing to the Web within Word. PowerPoint improvements include better photo editing, the ability to broadcast (or share) slide shows, tweaked Presenter views, and the same layer management and Web-sharing features included in Word.

Excel, meanwhile, includes conditional formatting updates, Sparklines (small charts that exist within a single cell) that assist in spotting trend data, fancier tables, and a bolstered Pivot Table Builder. Excel, too, benefits from the same free cloud-based SkyDrive sharing platform as Word and PowerPoint.

What's it cost?

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 editions that include two licenses retails for $279. Single license versions run $199.

Who should upgrade?

It's common for many organizations to skip a Microsoft Office suite distribution. This is not a suite to skip. With Outlook now native, built-in cloud-based file sharing, small but elegant Excel improvements, time-saving template galleries and productivity-enhancing full screen views, among other improvements, Mac users should find Microsoft's new Office suite a compelling package too good to pass up.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

13 comments
jhonsingh
jhonsingh

Hello All...really this software is good for our dextop application usage and microsoft gives us new Application microsoft office for mac 2011 standard edition And Its good version of Microsoft Office For Mac 2011 Keep Blogging ):

jvellek
jvellek

When are we ever going to see MS Access for the Mac?

zgozvrm
zgozvrm

My most-used Office product is Excel. Unfortunately, the Mac version has never measured up. I'm a Mac user at home and have tried to use Excel with great pain. Even small, simple spreadsheets run agonizingly slow on the Mac version as compared to the Windows version. I sometimes wait 5 seconds or more for a calculation in the Mac version, as compared to milliseconds in the Win version. Before there were Intel Macs, I ran a Win-version of Office through a PC emulator; it ran the same spreadsheet several times faster than the same spreadsheet run on the Mac version, on the same computer. Are you kidding me? An emulated operating system running bloated software faster than the native OS? Ridiculous! And, I'm not alone on this. I've done quite a bit of research on this and found that many people have the same complaint. No one is able to get Microsoft to make a comment on this either. The consensus is that Microsoft intentionally wrote the Mac version to be slower in attempt to keep (or gain) PC users. Also, since I utilize VBA quite extensively, I am disappointed by the lack of online help with VB instructions, let alone for standard Excel functions. The help is VERY lacking on Mac. I won't be upgrading until there is a MAJOR Excel improvement.

ron
ron

I have been using Office 2011 since its release and I agree that there are some features that would be nice to see put into the outlook client that is in the outlook 2010 for windows and Entourage. The idea that there are features in Entourage that are not in Outlook 2011 may be true to some degree, but the entourage client was not a very productive tool for me. I had to rely on Vmware running windows for outlook. With this release I no longer Windows this to do my job. In business, most people use and know Outlook for windows above all others. The lack of an office productivity suite that does not require additional IT support resources and training is why the Mac has not been more readily accepted in business (from a business perspective, not IT perspective). Office for 2011 goes a long way to addressing this issue. As MS continues to merge Office for Windows and Mac, I hope they look to the mass business community and merge windows and Mac features as much as possible and forget entourage (wether this is good or bad technically is not the issue) in order to get Office for Mac selling more into mainstream business. I know this is a position that Mac Enthusiast will vigorously disagree with, but we need a compelling business reason to get Mac's in businesses before we can evangelize a better user experience. Just my opinion of course, and my opinion is this a great release even with its version 1.0 issues.

glenstorm_98
glenstorm_98

I do have 2011, and have been using it since my manager downloaded a pre-release version from the developer network a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it has a nice presentation and some new tools, but also yes! it's buggy. VERY buggy, as we've come to expect from Microslop *.0 releases. I'd wait for at least the first point release, if not the second, before bothering with it. Thank goodness that the Mac, unlike the PC, will allow you to keep both versions fully functional until you're ready to trash the old one and commit to the new. Honestly, don't they let their own people use a new release for a little while before inflicting it on the entire world? Yeesh. -Dw

sydmac
sydmac

Outlook is the reason to not buy Office 2011. It has missing features that Entourage had. It is a version 1.0 app. It can't even sync calendars with a phone, can't resend or redirect emails... Our organisation cannot upgrade to Outlook in it's current, feature reduced, state.

garyleroy
garyleroy

Typical response from you brainwashed Apple followers. Might as well throw in "Windoze" too, and "wintel"...whoops, can't do that now, since your lovely Mac uses Intel. Why would you even buy software from someone you call "microslop"? Here's a news flash for you...if you are allowed to keep both versions, it's not because it's a Mac, it's because that's how the software was designed by...yes...microslop, as you put it. But of course you'll credit your Mac for anything you like, and discredit MS for anything you don't like...nothing new there. As for letting their own people use it to test it, they'd have to pay beta testers, because they probably don't have a lot of brainwashed Macaddicts on the payroll. And of course Apple has never had any problems with any of its OSX releases, at least in your dream world, and if they did, it was probably microslop's fault.

ron
ron

MS has always been pretty good about having there people use beta versions for daily work, but I suspect there is not that many Mac users in MS. The bigger issue was the beta program to the public. They should have opened it up to anyone that wanted to trail the product as they did for Office 2010 instead of limiting it as they did.

gechurch
gechurch

I doubt it. Microsoft got rid of upgrades for Office 2010 (they claim virtually nobody used them, and it adds complexity because of the number of Office versions), so I imagine they did the same thing for the Mac version.

glenstorm_98
glenstorm_98

My company did. And I'm not going to get into a muck-slinging war with you. "There are none so blind as those who *will not* see."

ron
ron

Wow Gary, A little bit aggressive this evening. Everyone is entitled to there opinion of course. I do not think your comments were directed at my response however I am not what I would call a Brainwashed Apple follower, but I am a newly converted enthusiast. I do think MS has some very good products and Office is certainly on top of the list. Apple has a lot of benefits as well and both companies have issues. I see office as a very good product to combine the best of both religions :)

emarques
emarques

Gary, have you ever used MS Office for Mac? It seems to me you haven't... You should give it a try, to see how different it is from Office MS ships to Windows. I actually prefer OpenOffice over MS, that's because it works equally well on all OS I need to use (Mac OSX, Linux, Windows). When I first installed Office for Mac I couldn't belive that $%@# was MS Office. PS: I'm no apple fanboy who just keeps saying Apple's the best. I use a Mac Book at Home, Windows Vista at work and Windows/Linux on servers.