The MacBu conducted extensive customer research to determine which enhancements to make to its Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage applications, according to Roz Ho, general manager of the Mac BU at Microsoft. As a result, Office 2008 for Mac is packed with new tools to help Mac users better manage the business of life, she adds.
Office 2008 for Mac shares a new graphics engine with Office for Windows. Office Art 2.0 provides users with the ability to add professionally designed graphics with a click of a button, Ho says. Like the 2007 Microsoft Office system and its new user interface (UI) with the Ribbon, Office 2008 has its own new UI that introduces Elements Gallery, a feature that emphasizes discoverability and gives users access to tools and Mac-specific features within applications. Both features leverage Mac OS capabilities to retain a Mac-like look and feel users are familiar with while taking advantage of new technologies, according to ho.
Part of the Elements Gallery is a tool called Document Parts, which are designed to simplify and automate some of the most common, but often difficult and tedious, document tasks -- such as adding a table of contents or headers and footers.
Office 2008 for the Mac will offer some Mac-first, Mac-only features. The Publishing Layout View lets users create layout-rich documents such as newsletters, fliers and brochures by uncovering desktop publishing layout tools and providing text box entry, Ho says. Ledger Sheets will enable anyone to use Excel to handle common financial management tasks. Home and small-business users can balance checkbooks, track accounts or manage investment portfolios more easily than ever, she adds.
My Day allows users to track priorities and stay on top of daily activities no matter what application they're currently working in. My Day is a stand-alone application that doesn't take up much screen space, offers at-a-glance schedule and task viewing without launching Entourage, and lets users color-code everything for visualizing daily priorities.
To improve collaboration between Mac customers and their Windows-based PC counterparts, the Mac BU has continued to make compatibility with Office for Windows a key priority, according to Ho. Like the 2007 Office release, Office 2008 for Mac will use the Office Open XML Formats, which were just approved in December by standards body Ecma International as an international standard.
In spring 2007, Microsoft plans to release a public beta of the file format converters for the current version, Office 2004 for Mac, so users can read and write the new Office Open XML Formats. Six to eight weeks after Office 2008 for Mac is launched, the Mac BU intends to ship final versions of the converters. Pricing and system requirements for Office 2008 haven't been announced.
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