back to article Mac Office 2011 allows only 'light edits' in Windows Web apps

Microsoft will release its Office for Mac 2011 next month, so it has unsurprisingly been prepping would-be customers for the big day by dishing up more details about what the suite will contain. The company said yesterday that the software will come loaded with co-authoring tools, Office Web apps, a scheduling assistant for …


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  1. SlabMan

    Cut down?

    The article implies that Mac users are getting a lite version of the web apps. Microsoft's own Office for Mac website disagrees: 'How might a Mac user work with the Office Web Apps? The short answer is “in basically the same way a Windows user would”.'

    I think I'll take Microsoft's word(!) for it over the Reg's in this case, that they haven't written a second set of dumbed-down web apps for Mac users. That would be a bit silly.

    1. Kelly Fiveash (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Cut down?

      As the headline and subsequent story clearly points out, the 'light edits' apply to OfM 2011 files used in Windows Web apps and not OfM 2011 files used in OfM 2011 Web apps.

      1. SlabMan

        Re: Re: Cut down?

        No it doesn't. The article makes no mention of 'Windows Web apps'. It says, 'Importantly, the software giant will also debut Web apps for Mac users that should be compatible with both Office 2010 on Windows and Office for Mac 2011.'

        Microsoft contradicts this by saying simply that Mac users can use the same Office Web Apps as Windows users. As for files originating from Mac Office being less editable by Web Apps than those from Windows, not so: the formats are the same. The only caveat from Microsoft is that you may not have the same fonts installed on both platforms.

        You also say in the article, 'And like its older brother, Office for Mac 2011 will allow apps to be stored in SkyDrive for the consumer market and via SharePoint for Microsoft's biz customers'. I think you meant to say documents.

        To simplify, here's the situation. Office for Mac can fully edit files originating from Office for Windows, and vice versa. Office Web Apps are fully usable by anyone with a supported Windows or Mac web browser. The Web Apps offer the same reduced feature set to both Mac and Windows users (and probably Linux users if you spoof the user agent).


        1. James O'Shea

          it is to laugh

          "To simplify, here's the situation. Office for Mac can fully edit files originating from Office for Windows, and vice versa."

          Wanna bet? I've got several PPT files, created by PowerPoint 2008, which _cannot open_ in PowerPoint 2007, but which _can_ open in PowerPoint 2003 and 2004, and in Keynote (all versions that I've tried). If the files in question are resaved in PowerPoint 2003 or 2004 (but, not, interestingly, in Keynote...) they then can open in PowerPoint 2007. I've got the demo Office 2010 on this very laptop. Let's see... nope. Said PPTs won't open in PowerPoint 2010 either.

          I also have some DOC and DOCX files, created with Word 2008, that have problems displaying properly in Word 2007 but which Word 2004 and 2003 can display properly (with assistance from the DOCX can-opener in the case of the DOCX files, of course).

          "Office Web Apps are fully usable by anyone with a supported Windows or Mac web browser. The Web Apps offer the same reduced feature set to both Mac and Windows users (and probably Linux users if you spoof the user agent)"

          I want to see Office Web Apps running in Opera on Ubuntu. That'd be just too, too, too funny.

          1. SlabMan

            Too, too funny

            Get your laughs in here -

            I've generally found that Office 2008 does a better job of reading in files of various vintages than the PC versions of whatever year.

            I'm looking for a converter that reads in Powerpoint files of any stripe and outputs a PDF of a P45. Let's face it - it all went downhill after Word 5.1 and acetates.

  2. Wibble

    Gouge the punters for me Steve...

    It appears that this is a lightweight, superficial update to something that works perfectly well thank you very much. It adds a few new features but there's nothing that's compelling enough to dig out large piles of money for the upgrade.

    It's still missing critical features: Entourage^H^H^H^H^H Outlook still cannot import PST files. You will need to shell out for a third party product for that.

    Pricing is interesting; up from that charged for Office 2008 (currently selling for around £70) to £190 for Office 2011 Business Edition as they DON'T include Outlook in the base version.

    Mac users have the choice of using the built-in OSX Mail and Calendar applications and are quite pre-disposed to using other suites - iWork (£60), or OpenOffice (free). It's going to be a hard sell for Microsoft.

    Maybe their pricing strategy is based upon the average Mac user being more affluent than PC users? Affluent maybe, but not stupid.

    I use my copy of Office 2008 daily and really like Entourage. I sure as hell won't be upgrading as there's no point, certainly not at those prices. And where's the iPad version?

    1. Pandy06269

      Incorrect information? Please advise.

      Where did you get the info about no PST and Outlook only in the base version?

      From the February 2010 press release:

      "...the MacBU announced last August that Outlook for Mac is coming to Office 2011, replacing Entourage. ... Today we are also announcing that Outlook for Mac will import .PST files from Outlook for Windows — a top customer request"

      Firstly the obvious mention of the PST import - "it WILL import .PST files". Secondly, they state that Outlook is replacing Entourage. Entourage was available as standard, so it stands to reason Outlook will be as well. Unless you know otherwise? If so please point it out.

      iPad version? Please. (sarcastic.) Apple have put all their effort into getting iWork on the iPad, and no mention of the new version for their loyal Mac users who've been using Macs since before the idea of the iPad was even conceived. That's why I turned to MS and purchased Office 2008 a short time ago. I sincerely hope MS don't deflect their attention away from the Mac in favour of the iPad.

      1. Wibble

        It's still 150% more expensive

        You're right; Microsoft have finally added PST import into their fourth version of Office for the Mac. About bloody time. I admit I was wrong and apologise for misleading anyone.

        To quote from about the £104 Office 2011 3 user: "Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 includes Word for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac, Excel for Mac and Messenger for Mac."

        No mention of Outlook. I've seen this elsewhere but can't find the reference. BTW Messenger is a free download.

        Office 2008 Home & Student 3 user - which includes Outlook^H^H^H^HEntourage - currently sells for £70)

        Also from, "Office for Mac, Home and Business Edition, 2011" includes Outlook and sells for £177.

        Office 2008 Business edition (AFAIKS the only difference between the versions is an Exchange connector) is listed at £322. This also lists the free remote desktop connection application as included.

        So, like for like, most people will need to pay an £177 - that's an additional 150% or £107 -- for the equivalent version of Office 2011.

        Again, I'll restate that Office 2008 is actually quite a good application so there's no point in upgrading, especially as 2011 include the damnable screen-space wasting ribbon.

  3. James O'Shea
    Thumb Down

    Office, smoffice

    I haven't paid for a new version of MS Office for Mac since Office 98. And, as I'm now the one who approves business app spending around here, I can safely say that I'm not going to be getting Office 2011 from the office, unless Mickeysoft sends me a free license. 90% of my word-processing/spreadsheet/presentation-software needs are met by iWork and the other 10% is covered by Office 2008 and by OpenOffice. Mickeysoft _still_ hasn't added Access, Project, or Visio to Office for Mac, which might have inspired me to have the company take out its credit card.

    I'll be giving this one a miss, same as I'm giving Office 2010 on Windows a miss. (I downloaded the demo. There's no difference between Office 2007 and Office 2010, except that the Office Button has been replaced by the File Tab and Mickeysoft shipped a few more fonts. Once the demo period is over it shall be removed from the test machine.)

    Someone wake me up when Mickeysoft does some actual innovation.

    1. Open Minded Mac Man

      It's a much improved release...

      Having used the Beta of Office for Mac 2011 for some time, I can testify that this is a much improved version, and (in yes my opinion) offers many significent improvements over 2008.

      It's way more compatable, it re introduces things such as VBA (full compatability with the Windows version) .. it adds in the ability to import and use PST fies.. and Outlook is Time machine friendly - as it does not create one huge file any more).

      It's too easy to say . 'I won't embrace any form of change' ... but beleive it or not, this is a genuine step forward, and a really solid and well designed application suit. Well done the Dev. team.

      1. James O'Shea

        Bah, humbug

        So now Outlook is no longer dependent on the Giant Humongous Monolithic Database. Hoo-rah. It was a bad idea to have the GHMD in the first place, we should praise them for (finally! after a _decade_!) figuring this out? Claris Emailer didn't use the GHMD... in 1998! It only took Mickeysoft 12 years to wake up!

        And I repeat: where's Access? Where's Visio? Where's Project?

        I repeat: I _have_ the demo version of Office 2010 and the release version of Office 2007, and have so far found _zero_ difference between them other than the Office Button being replaced by the File Tab and 2010 having a few more 'new and improved' fonts than 2007 did. I went looking on Mickeysoft's site for the Office 2011 beta, couldn't see where to download it so I have no direct knowledge of 2011. I _do_ have 2008, and was less than impressed by it. Especially by the way that some PowerPoint and Word documents made in PPTX, PPT, DOC, and DOCX formats using Office 2008 WILL NOT OPEN in Office 2007. The PPT and DOC files will _all_ open in Office 2003 and 2004, and in all versions of iWork I've tried. If those documents are resaved in Office 2003 or 2004, _now_ they'll open in Office 2007! The PPTX and DOCX files that won't open in 2007 _will_ open in iWork and (if the XML converter is installed) in 2003 and 2004, but of course some 'features' don't translate. And the same files which give trouble in 2007 _also_ give trouble in 2010! I'll bet you that they give trouble in 2011, too! <sarcasm mode on>Now that's cross-platform compatibility! <sarcasm mode off> THE WHOLE FRICKIN' POINT BEHIND GETTING OFFICE ON A MAC IS SO THAT YOU CAN EXCHANGE FILES WITH OFFICE IN WINDOWS WITHOUT PROBLEMS AND THEY CAN'T EVEN MANAGE THAT! Note: I'm NOT saying that _ALL_ PPTX, PPT, DOCX, and DOC files have problems... but some do, and those same files open without problems elsewhere, including with _OLDER VERSIONS OF OFFICE_. The problem is due to something Mickeysoft did _recently_, and whatever it is they did they don't seem to be in any hurry to fix.

        Meanwhile I can generate DOC and PPT and XLS files in iWork and Open Office which will open without any problems in Office 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010. Tell me again why I should pay Mickeysoft for a _crippled_ version of the Office suite which lacks components which have been in the Windows version for _years_ and which has problem reading my files when I already have something which will read my files and which cost considerably less? Explain it to me. Use words with one or two syllables so that I can understand.

        Wake me up when there's evidence of intelligent life roaming the halls of Mickesoftland.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Usual bunch of poorly implemented half-baked ideas

    Against my better judgement a few weeks ago I bought Office 2008 Mac to upgrade from my pre-Intel v5. After two fruitless weeks trying to get it to work with my existing fonts the MS support girl gave up and suggested I return it for a full refund, which I duly did. The hundreds and hundreds of problems in the support forums tell the real story. After three years Office 2008 is still bug ridden and unstable. What hope for 2011?

    1. James O'Shea
      Gates Horns

      It's not _that_ bad

      What kind of trouble are you having with _fonts_, for God's sake? The main problem I had with fonts and Office 2008 was the fact that Mickeysoft insisted on dumping 70 'new', 'improved' (it is to laugh) fonts into my poor abused Fonts folder. Among the machines in use around here are still a few ancient eMacs, with 1.25 and 1.42 GHz G4s and mostly running OS X 10.4.x.. If _they_ can hack Office 2008, surely a G5 can, too. (You _do_ have a G5, right? That's what you mean by 'v5', right?)

      Yes, it has problems, but it's nowhere near as bad as you state. It's not even the worst office software Mickeysoft has ever released for Macs; that would be Word 3.0, which was so bad that Big Bill Gates recalled the first 100,000 copies which shipped and sent out replacement copies at Mickeysoft's expense (how often does Mickeysoft not merely admit error, but _pay for you to return the product and then pay again to send you the replacement?_) and lopped off heads in the relevant department.

      it's no more bug-ridden than any other Mickeysoft product. (Yes, that's damning with faint praise, but...) And it's a lot better behaved than Office 2007 on my laptop was, until after the first few Mickeysoft updates, anyway. What it is, however, is less compatible than the previous version. It's entirely possible to create a PowerPoint PPT file with PowerPoint 2008 which _will not work_ with PowerPoint 2007... but which will work with PowerPoint 2004. And if you then save it using PowerPoint 2004 and move the result to a WinBox, _that_ file will work with PowerPoint 2007. (Conspiracy theorists should note that Keynote canalso produce PPT files that PowerPoint 2007 won't read but that 2004 (and 2003!) will. Hmm. One wonders why. One really does.) It's also possible to create PPTX files which will cause the Official Mickeysoft PPTX Converter, available for Office 2003 and 2004, to barf... but which will be read without problems by Keynote. Hmmm.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Font problems

    Fonts - where to start? Mainly Opentype problems. Fonts disappearing/ spontaneously changing/uneditable in existing documents. Crashes and hangs in Word opening some docs (font-related?)

    This is on a 27" iMac i5 under 10.6 BTW. It runs my old version of Office (v or v.X whatever its called!) fine but under Rosetta. It seemed worth upgrading to 2008 which has been out for ages and therefore should be mostly problem free, right - wrong! This was the first time I have had to resort to MS telephone support and as I said, their advice eventually was to give up and get a refund.

    I have worked on Macs in development and graphic design for over 20 years so hardly a newbie! I never used Word 3 but Word Mac 5.1 was gold standard for a long time before it was converged with the PC version.

  6. Donald Atkinson

    Are they going to fix Excel?

    I use both Office 2008 on Snow Leopard and Excel 2007 on XP Pro. The incredible dumbed down version on the Mac side can not copy the very large data sets the XP side can. The search & replace is dumbed down on the Mac side and there are a few score more. I run all manner of Unix programs on my Mac and I'd really like to use Excel for some of the datafile management but it is highly annoying that I have to do the heavy lifting on an XP machine instead of my Mac.

    1. James O'Shea


      Office on the Mac is the crippleware version. The best thing about Excel on the Mac is that it is far superior to the pile of dingo's kidneys which is Numbers. (How did that get past Apple QA? How?) it's not up to Excel on Windows, and that's just a fact.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    My main problem with all the Mac Office versions since Office X has been it's sluggishness. It's almost as if they aren't willing to optimize at all.

  8. Columbus

    sod office - bring back wordperfect

    nuff said..

  9. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Oooo. Shiny.

    Neat stuff for Mac users. Since i will have to support a few here soon, this is great information. Excellent article, Kelly!

  10. Herby

    There is an alternative!

    OpenOffice. It is cheaper as well!!

    Enough said.

  11. Anthony Hulse

    Project or Visio for Mac? No need.

    Since the EU very kindly forced Microsoft to publish the file format details the compatibility of Omnigroup's Mac-only alternatives to Visio and Project has massively improved. OmniGraffle Pro is a much better Visio than Visio itself, and OmniPlan's logical GUI consistency makes the MS Project interface look like the piss-poor thrown-together mess it actually is.

    1. James O'Shea
      Gates Horns

      actually... yes

      It'd be nice to have Project, Visio, and Access on Macs for overall cross-platform compatibility reasons. (Assuming, that is, that Mickeysoft could actually make their apps on Macs read/write files which worked with their apps on Windows, something not guaranteed...)

      Or Mickeysoft could try something radical, such as, oh, _reducing the price_ of Office on Macs to make up for the fact that some components are missing. Office Home and Business 2010, which doesn't have Access, costs US$280. Office 2008 Standard, which doesn't have Access, costs $400. Office 2008 Special Media, which doesn't have Access, costs US$500. Pricing for Office 2011 doesn't seem to be yet available. Or maybe I missed it. Correction on this point invited. In any case, the maximum price should be US$280, same as for Office 2010 Home and Business.

      And, oh, yeah, I _really_ love this quote:

      "Compatibility is Essential

      No one likes being caught off guard, especially when the pressure’s on. That’s why it’s vital that shared documents, presentations, and spreadsheets open as they were designed—regardless of the computer or operating system. With Office 2008 for Mac, you can feel confident in your compatibility."

      from <>, especially given that Keynote and Pages can open some PPT, PPTX, DOC, and DOCX files that Office 2007 and 2010 won't... Gotta love it. Really.

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