updated 12:20 pm EST, Thu February 11, 2010
To integrate Outlook, ribbon interface
Microsoft has formally unveiled Office for Mac 2011, the next version of its work suite. The software makes a variety of major changes, for instance incorporating the ribbon interface now standard in Windows versions of Office. On the Mac however the interface should still incorporate elements of the Office 2008 Elements Gallery, as well as the traditional Mac menu and the Standard Toolbar. Both the ribbon and the Toolbar are collapsible.
Entourage is meanwhile being replaced with Outlook for Mac, which is written in Cocoa and supports Exchange Web Services. It can also import PST files from the Windows version of Outlook, and use locks to prevent e-mail from being read by users without the right permissions.
New co-authoring tools have been integrated for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, allowing people in multiple locations to work on the same documents. Users can set meetings, keep track of multiple versions, and learn when other members of a team are working on a file. The suite similarly integrates access to Office Web Apps, making it possible to grab files remotely.
No precise release date for the 2011 Mac software has been announced, but it should be available "later this year," according to Microsoft.