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Office 2008 for Mac slips into beta

updated 11:30 am EDT, Mon April 2, 2007

Glimpse of Office 2008

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) is testing the latest revision of Office 2008 for Mac via private betas, but let slip some details about the new software to ease Mac users' fears about user interface changes and rumored similarities to Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. The MacBU is unable to speculate on a timetable for a public beta or targets for a release to manufacture, APC Magazine notes that a demo of the alpha build shows that the revised user interface is moving in a "very appealing and Mac-like direction." "Our peek at the alpha build [...] showed hints of a streamlined look with a modern black sheen, at times similar to the elements in recent Apple applications such as iTunes 7 and iLife 06. Rest easy, Mac-fans -- this is not Office for Windows."

The Office 2008 user interface retains the traditional menus and toolbars, as well as the philosophy behind the Office 2007 for Windows ribbon with several changes to expose some of the more obscure features, making them more visible and accessible to users.

"Part of our mission with Office 2008 is to expose all the things that are already there and make the product easier to use" said Microsoft's Mac Business Unit lead marketing manager Sheridan Jones. "We wanted to make it more discoverable, to bubble up the features that people didn't always find. We also have an opportunity to have a simple UI and a more intuitive interface."

"We got a lot of customer feedback (on the UI), we've kept the menus and embedded toolbars, but I can hide rid of embedded toolbars to have a really streamlined interface."

The new Office software inherits the "Escher" graphics engine from its Windows cousin to improve art and charting capabilities, enabling all of the Office 2008 for Mac applications to produce graphics with elegant visuals -- including 3D effects, glass effects, glowing, mirroring, and shadows, according to APC Magazine.

by MacNN Staff



  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Once again

    they even admit they want to use major elements of the Apple UI. While this is an appropriate place to, where is the originality?

    Bring on iWork '08 please so we can all drop this for the newly included spreadsheet functionality and better design.

  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I am happy to see MS keeping to it's part of the deal by updating Office for the Mac.

  1. splat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    why wouldn't they update

    all my switcher friends run out and buy Office for Mac...there is no reason for MS not to update Office for mac. There's money in that product.

  1. mitchcohen

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No VBA, no go

    It can be pretty as all anything, but because it's losing VBA (Visual Basic for Applications, aka cross-platform macros), Office is a dead product.

    Other than folks who will benefit by using Entourage on Exchange servers, I can't see a reason for anyone to bother upgrading. There will be better and less-expensive options that provide similar functionality.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I just want better/native Entourage performance.

  1. luomat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    VBA matters to how many?

    I suspect that the VBA issue will be a much smaller one than initially feared. I know a lot of Mac users who have no idea what VBA even is.

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