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Office 2008 nears 'gold' (RTM), sneak peek

updated 01:20 pm EST, Tue December 11, 2007

Office 2008 goes 'gold'

As the MacBU's Office 2008 nears its release to manufacturing (RTM), meaning that the code is completed for final release next month. Simultaneously, the company is offering its final sneak peek into the product suite, which will officially launch at Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The final preview provides a look at the Excel 2008 improvements that cater to spreadsheet novices and experts alike with helpful new formula tools and a significantly increased grid workspace.

Formula Builder, found in the updated Excel 2008 Toolbox, walks users through the steps needed to create a formula for various tasks. Formula AutoComplete allows users to start by typing the first part of a formula in the Formula Bar, and a dynamic drop-down menu of functions and names appears, with the most recent ones at the top. Select an item to insert from the list and let the computations begin. Excel 2008 also introduces increased rows and columns. This expansion matches the Windows Office System 2007, so all Excel spreadsheet users on Macs and PCs will have access to up to 16,000 columns and more than 1 million rows.

Office 2008 for Mac requires an Intel, G5, or G4 computer rated at 500MHz or faster, with Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later. For an in-depth look at Office 2008's key features, see our first and second glimpses into what Microsoft has released thus far.

The Office 2008 for Mac core suite ($400) includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage along with Microsoft Exchange Server support and Automator tools, while the Office for Mac Special Media Edition ($500) combines Office 2008 applications with the Microsoft Expression Media digital asset management system. The special education and consumer version, Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition ($150), provides the basics of Office 2008 for Mac for home and school users: it includes three user licenses for use by consumers and students but does not include connectivity to Microsoft Exchange Server or support for automated workflows.

See our first look at Office 2008 for further details.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Exchange server support??

    Where has there been mention of any new Exchange Server support? Is this just the same crappy Exchange server support we have in Office 2004? I imagine it is.

  1. zaghahzag

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it breaks endnote

    Endnote and other apps that use macros from old word won't work. M$ takes one step forward and 5 steps back. did they improve the UI? Whenever I use office, I feel like I'm using software designed by someone who hates my guts.

  1. phillymjs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Exchange support

    The only thing I've heard they've improved is the addition (finally!) of Out of Office Assistant... so no more having to use Outlook Web Access to set that up.

    The fact that they've been talking up everything BUT Entourage's Exchange support makes me think it's otherwise going to be just as craptacular as it was in Office 2004.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    of Entourage data will be painful as usual, since they are staying with the monolithic Entourage database format (as far as I know).

    This means, you receive an email, and the database is changed. The entire database is flagged for backup.

    If you maintain a 6 gig (lucky it hasn't crashed unrecoverably) database of email, as some users I know, then the entire database will be backed up on the next Time Machine backup. :P

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I guess

    good reason to seriously consider Apple's mail, instead of Entourage. I'm so ready to rip these guys a new one at Macworld.

    If only Apple provided a means to synchronize iCal to Exchange, via iCal server.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: backups

    YES.. GOD YES! This is the most idiotic thing about Entourage. Yes.. lets put ALL of the users info into one HUGE file! if it gets corrupt.. bye bye data!

    What a moronic way to do things. Keep all of your eggs in one basket! Brilliant thinking MS!!

    Not to mention live backups are near worthless anyways. if you recover the file (either with TIme Machine, Retrospect or other backups) you have to rebuild the entire database after recovery..

    Then you get the 12 hours or more of "your database is corrupt, please rebuild" message.. AFTER you have just rebuilt it!! Not to mention the "recovered files" which are emails that were deleted or drafts that were long since sent.

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You do realize

    Nudge your IT guys to get out of the POS that is Exchange. Notes is light years more reliable, scalable and supports most OS's, unlike the POS That is Exchange.

    And you thin the monolithic file is bad on Enterouge, that's how Exchange functions. Put EVERYONE'S Email on a database (that's a descendent of JET/Access) and hope it all works.

    That's why most Exchange Admins lament about the time they almost lost (or did loose) everyone's mail. Most Notes admins think of ways to extend functionality rather than worry about database corruption. That's because Notes uses a database for each user.

    MS loves monolothic files - the Registry is another prime example of this. And another MS "innovation" that must die.

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I do not know much about Excel, Exchange or Entourage. However, I have tried out the new Word and unfortunately really like it over the old 2004 version. As far as Entourage goes, I have always enjoy using Mail better. Mail is simpler in the terms of features, but sometimes that is better.

    I am not sure I fault Microsoft for not including Macros support especially if the rumor is true that Microsoft itself will be getting rid of the current scripting language in the next version of Office for Windows. For Microsoft's perspective it likely didn't make sense to put in the crazy amount of work necessary to update Office 2008 to use Macros that relied on a language that would be killed in Windows too eventually.

    Microsoft essentially had to rewrite every line of the old version of Office. It also had to adapt to Apple's less functional set of developer tools when Microsoft last used Code weaver. Most developers know changing developer tools in the middle of a OS build can be a nightmare.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Excel Problem

    I read some time ago on the Microsoft web site that this version of Excel will no longer be cross compatible with PCs or backward compatible with previous versions. Beware

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    FUD again

    "I read some time ago on the Microsoft web site that this version of Excel will no longer be cross compatible with PCs or backward compatible with previous versions. Beware"

    Even MS says it is fully compatible with PC.

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