back to article Outlooked Office for Mac 2011 unveiled

Microsoft has announced Office for Mac 2011, which will replace the much-maligned Entourage with Outlook, restore Visual Basic support, and add what Redmond's MacBU (Macintosh business unit) calls "new co-authoring tools." "You've told us that working together across platforms is a priority to you," MacBU general manager Eric …


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  1. bojennett

    Not only "free" apps are compeition

    iWork is also competition for the Mac. Pages is still a pretty weak application, IMO, especially for the kinds of work I do, but Keynote blows PowerPoint away, and Numbers is a very interesting way to build spreadsheets that I think is much more productive than the way Excel does things (spreadsheets themselves can end up being your presentation, as opposed to cut and paste into a PPT like you have to do when presenting Excel data). Having said that, Excel is still much more feature rich than Numbers if you do really complicated sheets

    But yes, I will not cry over the death of Entourage. What a horrible, horrible, horrible application.

    Frankly, MS has to do *something* in this space if they want to stay relevant on the Mac (many would argue why bother since the Mac share is so small). I think their lack of fear about all things Apple has really hurt them - be it the iPod, the iPhone, or (even though many are mocking it), the iPad.

    Snow Leopard integrated Exchange 2007 support into its native mail, calendar, and contacts applications (unfortunately, my company doesn't have Exchange 2007, so can't use the native apps and have to rely on Entourage (*shudders*))

    I like this post-DOJ Microsoft, which actually appears to be listening to customers, as opposed to trying to harm the Mac so that you can't use them in the Enterprise. Who woulda thunk it?

  2. Big-nosed Pengie

    Why TF..

    would a Mac user want to install any of that Redmond crapware?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      a windoze (crapos) user who had seen the light, but had lots of ms office documents?

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why TF ...

      Because some of us fanboise live in Windows-dominated environments and have to exchange documents with the unclean.

      For Office for Mac 2011 - I don't want any damned ribbons - I'm forever hunting around for ribbons items when I have to use the PC. Hate, hate, hate!

      Any you can keep Entourage and Outlook - horrible, horrible mail clients. The mail search function on Outlook is appalling - it takes minutes to run. I can find most things I need in Apple Mail in seconds.

    3. Mike Cardwell

      Maybe because it's good?

      I've tried MS Office and Open Office on my Mac. MS Office is better.

    4. Mark Edwards 1


      Possibly because they need to use Outlook (at least) and the rest of the Office tools in order to do their jobs?

      I have a personal MacBook and a company Windows Laptop. Can't remember the last time I booted up the company machine to be honest. I have Windows installed on a parallels install that has Office and the server apps I need to run, but to be honest, if all I'm wanting to do is email or work on some documents then its a royal pain in the ass to have to start the Windows partition and then wait to launch the apps (and the subsequent performance hit due to running in a VM).

      ... and yes, I've tried iWork and I have OpenOffice installed, but to be honest, they just don't really cut it....

    5. Alan Bourke


      If that wasn't a troll it was particularly uninformed. Show me a better word processor than Word. Or a better email client than Outlook. People use them for a reason, and it isn't necessarily that they are too stupid to do anything else.

    6. Antidisestablishmentarianist


      Probably the same reasons people install Redmond crapware on their Windows machines?

      Some (actually alot) people just want to do some 'work', not fuck about with the 'free as in free speech, not free as in free beer' alternatives. You know, the 9-5ers who 'work'. Not tweakers and freedom fighters.

      (why is there no 'penguin with L on forehead' icon?)

    7. DavidRobertRoy


      Simply because with all of Microsofts faults, Office is actually a good product.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        As to the ribbon hate. Deal with it. It's happening and it's called "change". It's what made computing so exciting in the first place. From a UI design POV; the ribbon is far more intuitive than toolbars and menus, especially given that the tab names are similar or the same as the original menu name that they are replacing.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Rod MacLean

            RE: No ribbon for me

            Apart from the ribbon, I can't see any new functionality or features having been added to Excel or Word. So why should I pay to upgrade? (esp. since I don't want the ribbon!)

        2. StooMonster
          Gates Halo

          Ribbon is actually quite Mac like

          I'm a big fan of the Ribbon interface in Office 2007, and I hope they develop it further.

          Haven't MacHeads notices that it's actually functionally (almost) identical to the 'Inspector' but in landscape rather than portrait?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Gates Horns

            RE: Ribbon is actually quite Mac like

            Don't make me laugh!

            ...and what is the "Inspector"?

        3. Anonymous Coward

          RE: Seconded

          Next you'll be telling us that there is a reason that the adderss bar is now above the menus in IE. (Flying in the face of even Mictrosoft's UI standards)

          The Ribbon is a load of crap and hated by many (if not all).

      2. Anonymous Coward

        RE: sigh.

        I can easily show you a better email client than Outlook on the Mac. It comes with the OS and is called "Mail". I've got Office for the Mac and I've only ever used it to open Word documents in certain formats. Everything else I can do (better) with the FREE software that came with the OS!

        Word in particular gets my goat - it takes about a minute to load. So yeah, I can show you a better word processor...

  3. Pavlovs well trained dog

    yeah. well

    Entourage blows steaming chunks every time something comes along - truly, if there were Razzies for software (are there?) then it should get every award

    But Snow Leopards native support for hexchange works great

    Excel for Mac is frustrating, but ok - to bojennet - Numbers is pretty, but it lacks too many features (lookups, array processing to name just two major ones) to be Prime Time

    but the rest - word and ppt rock.. really

  4. Derek Hellam

    Not for me thank you

    I switched to IWorks about 2 years ago. After a little learning curve, I find it easier and quicker to use than Office. I admit it does not have all the bells and whistles that MS Office has, but I and most people don't use most of them anyway. Having said that, the biggest crime I see in the business world regarding Office, is the abject lack of training given to people for Office. They are just expected to know, or pick up tips and tricks from a few people who have had proper training. They are willing to invest in new PC's and Projectors, Laptops, etc but as far as I've seen, training is usually forgotten. It may be OK for your tech savy/IT interested person as they will learn anyways. But for Julie and Doris, Jim in shipping, etc it is a tool they have never been shown how to use properly.

    Hence Fail

  5. cliff 2

    Plus Ca Change

    As I recall, two of the main changes in Office 2008 were the introduction of Entourage and the omission of Visual Basic.

    And now the headline news for Office 2011 is that it's getting rid of Entourage and bringing back Visual Basic...

    Now that's progress!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Entourage has been around since Office 2001 for Mac.

      I like Entourage. It's a fairly customizable, easy to use, well laid out, mail client -- unlike Apple's mail, or God forbid, Thunderbird. There are problems with Entourage, such as its horrible, proprietary, monolithic database format that in earlier versions of Entourage (prior to 2004), were prone to irrevocably corrupting themselves. Since the later versions don't really do that, the hideous database files are merely unwieldy and a pain to backup. It also does some odd things with IMAP that strikes me as not entirely standards compliant, although Mail is probably worse that way, and Thunderbird is just too miserable to make it worth my time to find out about. Finally, if you leave mail on the server and check an account through POP3, Entourage will randomly (maybe three times a year) forget that it has already downloaded some set of of messages, and re-download them, resulting in hundreds of duplicates.

      On a day to day basis, I find Entourage more pleasant to use than Mail, let alone Thunderbird.

      My suspicion is that Outlook for Mac will be curiously similar to Entourage, with improved Exchange connectivity. I really don't care about better compatibility with Exchange, since I have no Exchange server and never will, but do care about the database storage format. If they get rid of the old Entourage database and store the messages in some manner that is easier to work with it'll be a step forward.

  6. Dave 142


    "(many would argue why bother since the Mac share is so small)"

    well, because they make a profit on it, as simple as that. As for why people would buy it for Mac, mainly compatibility, but also because Office for Mac isn't really all that bad. It can actually be better to use than the PC version.

  7. KroSha

    So long Entourage. We won't miss you.

    >>Plus, the app will be able to import .PST (personal storage table) files from Outlook for Windows - a feature that the MacBU described as "a top customer request."

    Which users have been crying for ever since the death of Outlook on OS9 and was one of Entourage's biggest failings.

    Having said that, there's precious little you can't do with Mail / iCal / Address Book.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Outlook of old

    It would be nice if they stepped back and looked at previous offerings. Mac Outlook 2001, while nowhere near as advanced as Outlook 2000 was more robust than Entourage and was an actual RPC client (as opposed to EWS and WebDAV) making it a smoother and less resource hungry Exchange client.

    It would be nice if office 2011 included an Exchange client that more or less mirrored the Windows version, in terms of connectivity and stability. On the same note it would be nice if the MBU stopped trying to make a Mac version of Office, and instead started making an Office port. This would simply training as currently the post 2001 versions of Mac Office are so different to Windows Office most users require dual training.

    Rant over.

  9. StooMonster

    Hardcore Excel

    I am a hardcore Excel user, and have to say that anyone who thinks Numbers or Open Office spread even come close to Windows Excel 2007 is naive or only does simple things.

    I've used Excel since v1 on a Mac, but in the mid-90s had to switch to Windows to have the best version of my workhorse tool; but I still have Macs too. For years I've wished they would simply have the Windows versions of Office on the Mac, not simply for compatibilty (which should be paramount) but because I don't want some basket case GUI on Mac version (have you seen Office 2008?) and I really like the ribbon interface. Please do not have the ribbon and a load of old shite above it wasting screen space.

    At least Visual Basic is back, without it I couldn't use any functions I'd written on Mac which is nuts.

    In Apple's corner, Keynote can beat PowerPoint (I used to love Aldus Persuasion) for flashy big bulletpointed and graphical presentations; but I often use PP to bang loads of complex charts into a page and so I would like that to be identical to PC version too.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Hardcore Excel

      You are Mac's Hardcore and I claim my five pounds!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Hardcore Excel

      "In Apple's corner, Keynote can beat PowerPoint (I used to love Aldus Persuasion) for flashy big bulletpointed and graphical presentations; but I often use PP to bang loads of complex charts into a page and so I would like that to be identical to PC version too"

      There isn't a PC version of Keynote!

      ...and just a point, I *was* a hardcore Excel user. With the ribbon, I can't work out how the fuck to do most things, so I'll be moving back to an older version of office as soon as I can persuade IT to let me.

  10. Andrew Hart
    Paris Hilton

    @Big-nosed Pengie

    Because everyone else in the world uses it....

    Paris cause I'd like to use her :)

  11. batfastad
    Jobs Horns

    Too late

    Great news but should have been done 5 years ago.

    We're in an MS Exchange environment and for the remaining guys on Macs this would have been great. It did their head in that they either had to use IMAP and not be able to access public folders, basic webmail or horrible Entourage.

    Fortunately though we're migrating to Zimbra from Exchange in a few weeks so that problem will go away

  12. Wibble
    Paris Hilton

    What, exactly, does Office 2011 have to offer?

    Like it or not Microsoft Office is a feature of the corporate world despite it being overcomplicated and containing myriad underused features and used by people who barely know how to format a document. It is vital for any Mac user who lives in the corporate world to have Office 2008 installed in order to interact with other, less fortunate, Windows users. For that specific purpose having Office for the Mac is essential -- it is simply not feasible to use Open Office or iWork to convert, modify and return a document that may well be "broken" from the perspective of the Windows users.

    Office 2008 is a bit of a stalwart. Sure, it does cock things up in the formatting department -- inserting screenshots is sometimes fraught with pain. But on the whole it has been fairly reliable and does mean that one can use a Mac on a day-to-day basis in a normal corporate environment.

    Personally, I believe Microsoft have a different challenge; they need to be able to add compelling new features that warrant me coughing the upgrade fee. The current Office 2008 "just works". I have no interest in that bloody ribbon or other facile user interface tweaks "just to show we've made some changes". I also don't need any macro language.

    Quite honestly I'm happy with Entourage and think it's a great application. It works well and integrates with OSX finder and the iPhone really well. Granted the PST import/export facility could be useful, but I've lived without it for so long that I know it's not a problem. In any case the Microsoft official workaround of installing Exchange and using Public Folders is easy enough: just install a virtual machine with Exchange 2003 and away you go (it was a bloody stupid idea of Microsoft to not support PST in the first place, but after creating the VM once, it's easy enough to use).

    Word, Excel and PowerPoint work well when modifying corporate documents, most importantly not breaking things.

    Actually, by choice, I prefer Pages as the templates are far more professional looking and it's an easy application to use. Similarly, Keynote's great when placed alongside the clunky PowerPoint. In fact both Word and PowerPoint's templates look dated and utterly outclassed when compared with iWork.

    In short, Microsoft have got to be adding some pretty compelling features in order to convince me to upgrade.

    I'm sure airheads like Paris will upgrade as Office 2011 has shiny blingy features. Good on her. At least the Mac platform offers choice and Office isn't the complete monopoly one finds in the Windows world.

  13. Jess
    Thumb Down

    What's wrong with entourage?

    As an email program, anyway. it's much, much better than outlook,

    It actually seems to have been written by a team aware of RFC1855.

    Oh well, more bloated ambiguous top posted emails clogging servers :(

  14. Steven Hunter

    OK, fixed that...

    OK, so they finally nuked Entourage. Hooray!

    Now they just need to fix all the remaining stupid cross-platform problems. Like not supporting embedded fonts in PowerPoint files, embedded Quicktime/WMV movies failing in PowerPoint files, embedded pictures (sometimes) failing in Word documents, and so forth.

  15. danny_0x98

    Compatibilities and Ribbons

    Well, files are completely compatible between Windows and OS X and adds Linux and the BSDs.

    I read Office for Mac 2011 will have ribbons. I saw a screenshot which indicated that the ribbons would be per document window while a menu remains up above in the menu bar. One hopes that they don't change the menu choices, but moving stuff around is a Redmond forte. (Maybe it helps their partners by inviting more training book sales.)

    No date, no price. Better go back to thinking about the iPad. (Office for iPad. Ooooooh, that'd be interesting.)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    What we know and LOVE?

    "the best, most compatible productivity suite on the Mac"

    What? Someone take the pipe away, these people had their share. I don't believe for a second that any version of Office Mac imposed on one for mad-hatter reasons "compatibility" (aka "we have zero clue about formats, neither do our clients and they are too stupid to use anything else and we are whores to out clients") would ever not be a bog-slow, bug-ridden, patronizing molasses-turd, completely ignoring any interface design rules, with zero consistency in between its own suite. Its pure shit and not a workday passes that is not defiled and made miserable by the presence of MS Office.

  17. RegKees

    Entourage is pretty good

    I'm in a lucky position where my computer life is pretty much all Mac, both at home and at work. But I do use Entourage. I've tried several times to switch to Apple's mail. I can't do it.

    Mail is cumbersome. I find it much harder to organize, the rules are less powerful, it's far to difficult to change languages when spell checking and I don't like how Address Book works.

    My girlfriend had her Entourage profile go bad on her. I switched her to Mail (imap) and she absolutely hated it. A asked her to try, but she was back in Entourage within a week.

    Entourage is not so bad, my main complaint about itis that for no apparent reason, it sometimes takes ages to startup.

    1. John Blagden Bronze badge

      Entourage Database

      Clean out your 'Deleted Items' folder, do some housekeeping by deleting old eMails, not forgetting the 'Sent' folder. Quit Entourage then start again but hold the alt/option key down. Choose the 'Rebuild Database' option and wait.............

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Word. Yuck

    Word is so so so complex. Nightmare to use.

    So called 'professional' packages are a walk in the park in the comparison. Yes, I know InDesign fulfils a different function but it's still far more user friendly.

    I remember back in the day when Lotus WordPro was a cinch to use, but Word was still a pigs ear of complicated crap.

  19. Matthew 17

    Horrid interface though

    The newer versions of MSOffice have that weird interface where everything is all over the place to the point you're always hunting for the right button.

    I'll stick to OpenOffice and iWork for the conceivable future I reckon, MS just isn't worth the money.

  20. NightFox

    Old Dog

    Despite making the move to Mac, I kept with MS Office 2008 as I although iWorks tempts me (I only need to do the basics), I never had time to relearn a new package and I already knew Office 2003 pretty well from the PC, even though the Mac version had a few differences. However, stick me in front of a PC with the "new" Ribbon interface and I'm completely lost - guess once you turn 40 your learning receptors just pack up. Honestly, I have tried, but just can't find where half the stuff I need is.

    If Office for Mac 2011 has the Ribbon, then I'm going to *have* to put aside the time to learn something new, and to be honest I think it's going to be iWorks.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    I personally use Latex for almost everything. But sometimes I need to use Word, and that's when I wish they'd make the program a little lighter and faster. If you open a 30 page document and want to scroll to the very bottom page quickly, it takes ages to load and it just jerks all over the place. Also startup times are not exactly fast compared to Word 2007 on Windows, which boots very quickly. I don't care if they make a ribbon interface (it must be better than the current 2008 interface, which I think looks very bad)- but it'd love if the mac version was a little faster!

  22. Khaled
    Thumb Down

    Arabic/Hebrew support

    No info about RTL/BiDi language support (Arabic/Hebrew)

    The register talked about this issue a lot:

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