Hardware

Microsoft Office for the Mac 2008: The Right Tool for the Job?

Office productivity applications are critical business components. This is as true for Macintosh computer owners as it is for Windows users. Whether users are creating documents, spreadsheets or slide show presentations, they require a powerful office suite that is easy to use, creates attractive files and is widely compatible with other users. Erik Eckel checks out this year's version of Microsoft Office for the Mac.

The Job

Office productivity applications are critical business components. This is as true for Macintosh computer owners as it is for Windows users. Whether users are creating documents, spreadsheets or slide show presentations, they require a powerful office suite that is easy to use, creates attractive files and is widely compatible with other users.

The Tool

Microsoft Office for the Mac 2008

Microsoft Office 2008 For Mac (Full Version is $399.95 and requires a Mac with an Intel, PowerPC G4 or G5 processor, 512MB RAM, DVD drive, 1.5GB of free disk space and an HFS+ hard disk format) is Microsoft's newest productivity suite. In addition to including a new interface that makes it easier to create professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations, manipulate text and images, insert attractive graphics (including charts and tables) and apply numerous new styles and templates, Office 2008 provides Mac users with access to Office's new open XML file formats.

Microsoft Office 2008 boasts numerous advantages over free office productivity suites and older Microsoft Office platforms:

  • Widespread compatibility with other Microsoft Office users
  • New ribbon-like user interfaces
  • Powerful tools for easily adding professional graphics treatments to documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Simple upgrade paths from earlier versions of Microsoft Office (and the Entourage email program)
  • Universal application (works on Intel- and PowerPC-powered Macs)
  • Enhanced Entourage interaction with Exchange servers
  • PDF output options

Microsoft Office for the Mac 2008

There are a few minor disadvantages to Microsoft's latest office suite, but none that are unanticipated:

  • Users must become familiar with a new interface (just as is true with the new office platform for Windows users)
  • Cost; the full version (which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Messenger and Entourage) runs $399.95), while the upgrade version costs $239.95

Conclusion

Microsoft Office 2008 For Mac delivers important new office productivity features (including a smart new interface, time-saving contextual methods and graphical tools and compatibility with the new XML-based open file formats) at reasonable cost. Small businesses that rely upon Macintosh computers for fulfilling daily tasks and responsibilities will be well served using Microsoft's latest office suite tailored specifically to the Mac platform. This is especially true for Exchange server users that seek to better sync Entourage with corporate email systems.

View my screenshot gallery of Microsoft Office for the Mac 2008.

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...

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