Mac users of Microsoft Office crave Retina support

In late July, Apple launched the Mountain Lion update for Mac OS X. On the same day, a post on Microsoft's official Office 2011 for Mac blog claimed that it was "Mountain Lion ready", adding, "We’ve been working with Apple to ensure a fantastic experience for our users."

However, not all users agree. Specifically, the people who bought the recently launched MacBook Pro with the 2800x1800 resolution Retina display. Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.

One commenter who owns the new MacBook Pro stated, "It’s an amazing machine, but the prospect of looking for hours each day at a grainy Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook app is not very appealing." Yet another said, " ... all word docs and Excel sheets look really bad at the moment."

A Microsoft rep for the Office Mac team posted up a response which said, "Outlook for Mac 2011 already supports Retina Display and the remaining apps will have the same viewing quality as on any non-Retina device. Unfortunately at this time, we cannot comment on any future updates regarding supporting Retina on Word, Excel or PowerPoint."

While the high end MacBook Pro is currently the only device from Apple with the high resolution display, it's likely that Apple will release new versions of all of its laptops, including the MacBook Air, that will have the Retina support in the future.

Via: Computerworld
Source: Office 2011 for Mac blog

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53 Comments

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It's not Microsoft's fault apple couldn't think of a way to upgrade the Mac other than giving it a useless display. Probbaly less than 0.001% own one. Why should MS run out and rework office just for a small few?

This is the reason why you should think and do some research before impulsively buying something. All Retina MacBook Pro owners are basically beta testers.

Strange Office looks just fine on Windows 7 on a 2048x1536 monitor and a circa 2007 monitor with 4096x2160...

Maybe the real conversation should be, why in the hell does Apple's crappy frameworks that have NEVER provided adequate resolution independence are so popular with people that like to buy pretty things?

This is a failing of the OS that fonts, image, and vector support is not provided properly, and the only way the OS can provide support for higher resolutions is to upscale the screen in the composer.

Apple had NO business releasing displays with higher resolutions when they did not have inherent support for the technology.

Windows scales just fine to rather large resolutions. Of course Windows can also do magical things like produce more than 8bpp color too, something else OS X cannot do.

There truly is a fundamental flaw in the way Apps are rendered on the higher resolution displays on OS X, and it is not a fault of the developers not providing support, it is the fault of Apple for not providing an OS or framework that properly flows and scales to higher resolutions without horrid resampling up the rendering bitmap.

Apple users, you really should be PO'd at Apple for selling you hardware that their own OS does NOT properly support.

Well, can you honestly say that 1) Apple's solution again beats to its own drummer and 2) that this is far too similar to Apple's MHz doesn't matter bit? I'll take DPI scaling over pixel doubling any day of the week.

If you bought the hype, you should understand the downside of going bleeding edge. Retina is a major enough change that it will have to wait till the next release. Demanding an extensive patch on a product that came out before the new hardware is foolhardy.

Dashel said,
I'll take DPI scaling over pixel doubling any day of the week.

Have you read the article I just posted? Would you prefer it to look like this:
http://images.anandtech.com/doci/6023/200pct4.png
?

By the way. I don't even own (nor plan to own in the near future) an Apple Retina product. It seems to me that some of the commenters here revel in their own ignorance though when it comes to basic facts about Apple's approach to making software work on 'Retina' displays.

CJEric said,
@thenetavenger: Good grief. Get a clue! Here, have a read: http://www.anandtech.com/show/...ith-retina-display-review/6

Considering that this is an article trying to compare the visual differences between the look of different applications in the old and new resolution formats. I'm kind of confused why the author decided to use the JPEG format (with compression turned on) to try and show the comparison between quality within the images. If your goal is to show sharpness, then surely the PNG file format would have been a better choice considering its lossless qualities.

Anyway, I'm procrastinating with my pet peeves here, sorry about that.. Although that this article is an interesting read, I would have to stand by the opinion that if a new technology comes out, people are going to have to wait a while for the rest of the software to catch up. People expecting programs to work out of the gate when a new technology arises, are simply just showing their sense of entitlement. It is up to the creator of the technology to try and use clever drivers to mitigate the effects for legacy components, until enough time passes for the widespread support of the new format to be accepted and implemented.

can't they just turn retina mode thingy off when they use office, and other programs that don't support retina?

Zeet said,
can't they just turn retina mode thingy off when they use office, and other programs that don't support retina?
Retina isn't a mode, it's a display.

The problem with programs that don't operate at a retina resolution, is much like running a LCD at a non-native resolution.. stuff look "fuzzy" because it's no longer 1px on the desktop = 1px on the screen.

Ryoken said,
Retina isn't a mode, it's a display.

The problem with programs that don't operate at a retina resolution, is much like running a LCD at a non-native resolution.. stuff look "fuzzy" because it's no longer 1px on the desktop = 1px on the screen.

And the reason OS X needs to do this is? Actually there is not a good reason. Just like there is not a good reason that Fonts are not natively rendered even if OS X is upscaling low resolution UI bitmaps, or why OS X doesn't provide a larger rendering surface in the OS properly because of the texture size issues of the application drawing area. When you consider the marketing of using display PDF in OS X, what good is it if the OS can't properly output higher resolutions in the App drawing calls?

OS X was poorly designed for graphics. PERIOD.

You aren't making sense..

If OSX rendered everything 1:1 on a Retina display, you'd need a microscope to read your screen. Their way increases the detail available on the screen. If you have ever seen a retina screen and worked with large, detailed images in Photoshop for example you'd be drooling..

I think you should do some research on the technology and the reasons before trying to talk about it.

thenetavenger said,

And the reason OS X needs to do this is? Actually there is not a good reason. Just like there is not a good reason that Fonts are not natively rendered even if OS X is upscaling low resolution UI bitmaps, or why OS X doesn't provide a larger rendering surface in the OS properly because of the texture size issues of the application drawing area. When you consider the marketing of using display PDF in OS X, what good is it if the OS can't properly output higher resolutions in the App drawing calls?

OS X was poorly designed for graphics. PERIOD.


I can't get over the fact how dumb and misinformed this post is. Unbelievable really. All default Aqua elements are scaled up properly to x2. Microsoft, in all their wisdom, decided to fill their interfaces with non-native elements. Which of course will look blurry until updated. Or do you expect OS X to have some magical API that creates its own artwork from scratch? Apparently so.

.Neo said,
I can't get over the fact how dumb and misinformed this post is. Unbelievable really. All default Aqua elements are scaled up properly to x2. Microsoft, in all their wisdom, decided to fill their interfaces with non-native elements. Which of course will look blurry until updated. Or do you expect OS X to have some magical API that creates its own artwork from scratch? Apparently so.

Bro - no use trying to post a reply to thenetavenger given that he has no desire to listen but rather spam this forum with his stupidity paraded as wisdom. He does this in every Mac related thread, he is a one post wonder and quite frankly the moderators on this site should grow a backbone and ban people like thenetavenger who post but never engage in a conversation with those who reply to him.

Should be thankful for having MS Office. But yet they always seem to want more and more...I wouldn't be surprised if MS stopped, creating things like this for the Mac. Yet that will never happen...too much money involved.

could someone clarify exactly what "Retina-ready" means?
why did Apple create the Retina display so that regular apps would look sub-normal on it? Or is it just in the users' heads?

Matthew_Thepc said,
could someone clarify exactly what "Retina-ready" means?
why did Apple create the Retina display so that regular apps would look sub-normal on it? Or is it just in the users' heads?

It's probably like looking at SD stuff on HD TVs. I actually looks worse than SD and a good SD TV. Displays are already pretty hi-res in comparison to an SD TV, so I don't see how it could be that much worse, but honestly, I haven't bothered. We did just order a Retina display MacBook for work, but only because it had the SSD, also, and price was negligible for the other features we wanted.

Matthew_Thepc said,
could someone clarify exactly what "Retina-ready" means?

It means that apps are still able to draw a sharp UI when the pixel count of each element (like a button) is forcibly quadrupled. To have the elements remain sharp, application developers need to either utilize vector graphics or include higher resolution UI artwork with their apps. If an app doesn't have a lot of custom rendering code and mostly utilizes recommended system APIs, a lot of the UI should already be retina-ready simply due to the work Apple has already invested into the UI framework.If an app is not retina-ready for some reason, its original unchanged artwork will simply be resized to four times the amount of pixels which will lead to blurriness. In theory, this blurriness shouldn't be any worse than the blurriness of any regular app on a regular display, since individual pixels on a retina display are so much smaller. With regular displays, the blurriness stems from the low pixel density of the display itself. It seems that most of us are used to that kind of blurriness though.

Just curious. Why would Microsoft Office not Retina ready look bad on a Retina display? Figured it would look the same as usual and would only be clearer on a Retina. Does it come down to the pixels alone? That would mean a lot of programs would look crappy on the Retina then-even web content?

AFAIK unless the app is designed to work in the higher resolution of the retina they can appear to be blury when stretched out.

WIth regards to website I would guess Safari is classified as 'Redina Ready" and we all know a good website will look good on any res as images and content are normally a fixed size regardless of display.

Thats only from this ( http://arstechnica.com/apple/2...ghts-retina-ready-mac-apps/ ) do i get that idea...

BajiRav said,
Retina displays are overrated at least on iPad and iPhone.

That what I've always said. Do people REALLY need twice the resolution on such small screens? Not likely.

farmeunit said,

That what I've always said. Do people REALLY need twice the resolution on such small screens? Not likely.

Yea let's go back to 640x480 TVs, too. And in black and white. Because nobody NEEDS the difference, and it's not like it's plain NICER or anything.

Fry said,

Yea let's go back to 640x480 TVs, too. And in black and white. Because nobody NEEDS the difference, and it's not like it's plain NICER or anything.

You've clearly missed their point.

Fry said,

Yea let's go back to 640x480 TVs, too. And in black and white. Because nobody NEEDS the difference, and it's not like it's plain NICER or anything.

compare resolutions where you can see the pixels at a kilometer away to pixel differences where you cant see a single pixel apart at 30cm from the device. the improvement is so small and usually not worth the loss of battery power.

Microsoft is a close partner of Apple.. obviously, as Outlook 2011 has support for it. I think their complaints come from the fact that they updated one, but not the others, and make no comment as to the others..

If they had said "Outlook 2011 is the first with Retina, updates will be released for the others as they care completed." no one of note would be complaining..

PmRd said,
It's like buying a 3D TV 2 years ago and complaining that all movies are not in 3D

Or more accurately that the 3D TV doesn't magically make the 2D DVD's into 3D when viewing them.

Office is pretty huge. I think it's pretty obvious that adjusting all graphics and interfaces to retina is quite a lot of work. Adobe's applications aren't updated either.

Ambroos said,
Office is pretty huge. I think it's pretty obvious that adjusting all graphics and interfaces to retina is quite a lot of work. Adobe's applications aren't updated either.

Not only is it a big, complicated piece of software, but also don't forget that Apple had months to use prerelease hardware to do their work to upgrade their apps. I would be surprised if Apple called up MS and offered to give them unannounced hardware so that MS could make their software (which competes with Apple software) look its best.

nohone said,
don't forget that Apple had months to use prerelease hardware to do their work to upgrade their apps. I would be surprised if Apple called up MS and offered to give them unannounced hardware so that MS could make their software (which competes with Apple software) look its best.

It really wasn't necessary to have prerelease hardware for testing. The HiDPI feature had been available for quite some time on non-retina hardware before the retina Macbook Pro was released. They should have started working on this a long time ago. The real problem, I'm assuming, is that Office in large part still doesn't use Apple's official (Cocoa) system APIs, which makes it much much harder if not simply impossible for them to implement Retina support without rewriting huge parts of the applications. If I'm not mistaken, Outlook is actually the one app that's written using Cocoa APIs.

CJEric said,
(some text I had to clip because commenting on the iPad doesn't work right)

That is not the correct way do do development. You don't write code without using the hardware that you are developing on. That would be much like writing an iPhone app in the emulator without ever testing it on a real device, but n this case you dont even have an emulator. Yes, you could put together the graphics at 2x size, but without being able to write the code, you are just guessing that what you are writing, which could easily destabilize the code causing bugs.

Yes, the carbon/coco thing could be a reason, which is funny given how people are yelling about two different development models on Win8.

nohone said,
That is not the correct way do do development. You don't write code without using the hardware that you are developing on. That would be much like writing an iPhone app in the emulator without ever testing it on a real device, but n this case you dont even have an emulator. Yes, you could put together the graphics at 2x size, but without being able to write the code, you are just guessing that what you are writing, which could easily destabilize the code causing bugs.

You don't need a retina display to write and test retina-ready apps. There's no guessing involved. Pixel for pixel, the output is completely predictable by using a regular display. The hardware apart from the display is completely generic. You'll want to fine-tune the result on a real high-DPI display just to make sure it looks great, but that's mostly something for the graphic designers to do. And support for running and developing retina apps is nothing new to Mountain Lion.

nohone said,

Yes, the carbon/coco thing could be a reason, which is funny given how people are yelling about two different development models on Win8.

What people are yelling about is two different UIs, not the fact that there are different APIs. And Carbon has been deprecated now for a really long time. In fact, Cocoa's origins are really in the NextStep days even which explains the naming of classes like NSApplication

>>Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.
>>Office 2011 for Mac is not ready
>>Office 2011

Areyouf'ingkiddingme.jpg

I'm about to email the creators of Lemmings, I don't think it's ready for Windows 8 and I am very, very unhappy about the pixelated characters.

StevenJ said,
>>Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.
>>Office 2011 for Mac is not ready
>>Office 2011

Areyouf'ingkiddingme.jpg

I'm about to email the creators of Lemmings, I don't think it's ready for Windows 8 and I am very, very unhappy about the pixelated characters.


hahaha...funny. Those Mac boys that stupidly wasted 2000+ dollars of their money on 1 laptop with 1 peculiar characteristics and demanding the whole computing industry to follow and support their brainwashed thinking are delusional.

StevenJ said,
>>Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.
>>Office 2011 for Mac is not ready
>>Office 2011

Areyouf'ingkiddingme.jpg

I'm about to email the creators of Lemmings, I don't think it's ready for Windows 8 and I am very, very unhappy about the pixelated characters.


Of course you realize that Office 2011 is the latest version available?

StevenJ said,
>>Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.
>>Office 2011 for Mac is not ready
>>Office 2011

Areyouf'ingkiddingme.jpg

I'm about to email the creators of Lemmings, I don't think it's ready for Windows 8 and I am very, very unhappy about the pixelated characters.

I know! People come on the Internet and complain about ****. It's friggen ridiculous! I hate it. Wish it would end.

a0me said,

Of course you realize that Office 2011 is the latest version available?

So what if it's the latest version available? It was still released before Retina. They have had hi-res screens for years, and now Mac people need stuff to specifically support Retina. Cry me a river.

farmeunit said,

So what if it's the latest version available? It was still released before Retina


Context. He was comparing Office 2011 with a game released 20 years ago.

Other major apps such as Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Google Chrome, VLC, AutoCad, Photoshop, and games such as Diablo III have all made the update, and this is not even mentioning smaller 3rd party apps.
In that context, it's not that unreasonable to expect a major app like Office 2011 being updated too.

Ricardo Dawkins said,

hahaha...funny. Those Mac boys that stupidly wasted 2000+ dollars of their money on 1 laptop with 1 peculiar characteristics and demanding the whole computing industry to follow and support their brainwashed thinking are delusional.

Dumbest thing I've heard all day.
I hope you like CRT monitors with 320×200 pixels and tape drives, 'cause that's what you'd have if we were all like you.

StevenJ said,
>>Comments made on Microsoft's blog site have complained that Office 2011 for Mac is not ready for the new MacBook Pro's high resolution display.
>>Office 2011 for Mac is not ready
>>Office 2011

Areyouf'ingkiddingme.jpg

I'm about to email the creators of Lemmings, I don't think it's ready for Windows 8 and I am very, very unhappy about the pixelated characters.

Microsoft along with developers have known about HiDPI for over a year with equal amount of time to test their software in HiDPI mode. Btw, the only application not to have problems is Outlook 2011 but that is due to it being written from the ground up in Cocoa rather than Carbon of which Excel, Word and PowerPoint utilise. What I think it is the result is the lack of comittment to the platform rather than any sort of malace or incompetancy. Lets be honest, with Windows 8 and Office 2013 along with Office 365 and other cloud services why would you effectively help a competitor?

Btw, read the comments section:

http://blog.officeformac.com/w...for-mountain-lion/#comments

The issues are more than just Retina support, there is the lack of right to left support, the lack of integration when it comes to reading the user system preference settings, the lack of OpenDocument support etc. all of which are available in Microsoft Office 2010.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Microsoft along with developers have known about HiDPI for over a year with equal amount of time to test their software in HiDPI mode. Btw, the only application not to have problems is Outlook 2011 but that is due to it being written from the ground up in Cocoa rather than Carbon of which Excel, Word and PowerPoint utilise. What I think it is the result is the lack of comittment to the platform rather than any sort of malace or incompetancy. Lets be honest, with Windows 8 and Office 2013 along with Office 365 and other cloud services why would you effectively help a competitor?

Btw, read the comments section:

http://blog.officeformac.com/w...for-mountain-lion/#comments

The issues are more than just Retina support, there is the lack of right to left support, the lack of integration when it comes to reading the user system preference settings, the lack of OpenDocument support etc. all of which are available in Microsoft Office 2010.

You all do know that any app written for the Mac has to be ok'd by Apple. How do you know that Apple told MS no, dont make a Retina Display support in Office 2011?

TechieXP said,
You all do know that any app written for the Mac has to be ok'd by Apple.

What? Since when? Are you confusing iOS with Mac OS X? On Mac OS X, third parties are free to release any software they want.