Office 2011 for Mac gets ribbon, sharing and Outlook

Office 2011 for Mac computers is set to launch by the end of the year, just in time for the Christmas 2010 holiday season.

Office 2011 for Mac will bring ribbon support for applications.  The ribbon will be similar to Office 2010 for Windows, but with the Mac theme support.

Office 2011 for Mac will not only receive cross-application ribbon support, but also sharing for documents and web application support.  Users will be able to edit the same document and share between Windows and Mac users at any time, with real-time editing on both machines.  Users will be able to make edits and changes to the same document, but not the same paragraph.  This will work for Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications.

The old practice for earlier versions of Office would prevent users from opening the same document when edits were being made, usually causing in frustration for one or more parties, if a document was left open by mistake.

Microsoft also promised to deliver a full version of Outlook in the Mac 2011 version.  the full version of Outlook for Mac will include .PST file importing, Time Machine and Spotlight support.  Users who are already familiar with Outlook for Windows should be comfortable with the Mac release.

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Interesting that you can work on files that a Windows user has open and everything. The sharing seems handy. How do you know if someone else is in a paragraph though... That I'd like to see in action...

The Ribbon in Office 2010 looks pretty good. I personally hated the interface of Office 2008 so much that I bothered to make a virtual machine of XP and shove Office 2007 on it.

Good thing 2011 is customizable.

For people who don't like the ribbon:

"We took your feedback and haven't completely rearranged what you know and love: the new design is an evolution of the Office 2008 Elements Gallery and uses the classic Mac menu and Standard Toolbar giving you the best of both worlds. You can even collapse the ribbon and the Toolbar for more screen space or for the more advanced users who rely on keyboard shortcuts. Together these tools make it easy to find and discover new and frequently used commands."

Microsoft has always kept the interface of Office unique for each platform. The Ribbon is very intuitive and efficient once you take 5 minutes out of your day to learn your way around it. But Office 2008's Toolbox for some reason just makes sense on the Mac. It's easy to get used to as well. They *could* offer users a choice between the Ribbon and Toolbox but then everyone will revert to what's familiar and never give anything new a chance. (Hence why they removed drop down menus from most Office 2007 products)

In our organization, Office 2008 has been a bit of a pain with network accounts so I hope 2011 is more network-friendly.

C_Guy said,
Microsoft has always kept the interface of Office unique for each platform. The Ribbon is very intuitive and efficient once you take 5 minutes out of your day to learn your way around it.

I agree that it is intuitive and easy to get around in. But it is still a click-click-click-click-click fest compared to Office 2003 :).

C_Guy said,
Microsoft has always kept the interface of Office unique for each platform. The Ribbon is very intuitive and efficient once you take 5 minutes out of your day to learn your way around it. But Office 2008's Toolbox for some reason just makes sense on the Mac. It's easy to get used to as well. They *could* offer users a choice between the Ribbon and Toolbox but then everyone will revert to what's familiar and never give anything new a chance. (Hence why they removed drop down menus from most Office 2007 products)

In our organization, Office 2008 has been a bit of a pain with network accounts so I hope 2011 is more network-friendly.

I'd hate the toolbox less if it wasn't completely incompatible with Spaces. Supposedly that's Apple's "fault" (according to MS), but either way an application which depends so heavily on a UI widget which simply doesn't work should be changed.

Shadrack said,
I agree that it is intuitive and easy to get around in. But it is still a click-click-click-click-click fest compared to Office 2003 :).
But previous versions of Office still required clicks: menus, toolbar buttons, dialogs.

OMG, Finally. People with the Office version on Windows will finally be familiar with the Office on the Mac. I hate Office on the Mac so much that I always find myself opening the one in Windows.

Now, what about making Project, Visio, Access for the Mac? :P

PsykX said,
OMG, Finally. People with the Office version on Windows will finally be familiar with the Office on the Mac. I hate Office on the Mac so much that I always find myself opening the one in Windows.

Now, what about making Project, Visio, Access for the Mac? :P

And while they're at it, how about a development tool to develop Silverlight applications :)

NeoXY said,
I could care less how it looks. As long as its bloody quicker.
PowerPoint. I am looking at you.

Finally surprised no one mentioned this until you. It may not look the best but I don't expect it to look great. I just want it to load/run quicker. I have to use their stuff rarely and always hate having to wait forever just to start the app. Gimme better performance and they can make the whole thing purple for all I care.

MarkusJ said,
what about more colors? :)

Got to agree the ribbon is fitting with the dull colours of OSX. I think they have done a good job fitting the ribbon in and keeping it look like OSX.

i don't know

but it feel cluttered compared to office 14 for windows

also there is no search bar in word 2010 :/

Ci7 said,
i don't know

but it feel cluttered compared to office 14 for windows

also there is no search bar in word 2010 :/

I think it looks more cluttered as the buttons have the raised borders around them. If they were flat they'd look pretty much the same as office 2010.

MarkusJ said,
I think Mac OS X needs a new UI. Transparency would definitely be nice.
- From a mac fanboy!

That's really a first. I remember hearing such outlandish comments about transparency being used when Aero demoed on Vista.

How times have changed.

I have to say though the ribbon on OS X doesn't look that bad, if there's one thing I would want to point out is that the slate metal doesn't look very consistent with the ribbon.

Edited by Motoko., Feb 11 2010, 6:46pm :

MarkusJ said,
I think Mac OS X needs a new UI. Transparency would definitely be nice.

Install Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah (may 2001) and off you go.

Apple added huge amounts of transparency to Aqua five years before Microsoft released Windows Aero. They got so much crap from its user-base that they pretty much got rid of most of the transparent interface elements in Panther.

Edited by .Neo, Feb 11 2010, 7:44pm :

Mac OS X used to have a sickening amount of transparency back in the day. It got really annoying and gimmicky at one point, so Apple did the right thing and removed it. And when Apple tried to resurrect transparency in Leopard's menubar there was an insane amount of backlash from diehard Mac users, to the point of where Apple swiftly issued an update to make the menubar opaque again.

MarkusJ said,
I think Mac OS X needs a new UI. Transparency would definitely be nice.
- From a mac fanboy!

I'd just be happy with less gray...

Rudy said,
Looks like ****.... not sure why they're trying to bring the Ribbon to the OSX version :(

Apparently innovative ideas come around once a decade. After that they get recycled until the point of hatred.

Rudy said,
Looks like ****.... not sure why they're trying to bring the Ribbon to the OSX version :(

It's called standard UI. The ability to sit at a Windows or OS X machine and still know where every option is, no need to hunt for it.

AltecXP said,

It's called standard UI. The ability to sit at a Windows or OS X machine and still know where every option is, no need to hunt for it.

Except that it break just about every STANDARD UI guidelines for OSX lol

m.keeley said,

Just like some Apple apps then!

Apple apps look like Apple apps, for the most part. This looks like something on the level with OpenOffice.

Rudy said,
Except that it break just about every STANDARD UI guidelines for OSX lol
You're essentially saying that Apple needs to license the ribbon and include it in OS X in order for Office to do so. That's just silly.

Kirkburn said,
You're essentially saying that Apple needs to license the ribbon and include it in OS X in order for Office to do so. That's just silly.
No, it needs to stay away from OSX, the ribbon fails on so many levels

Rudy said,
No, it needs to stay away from OSX, the ribbon fails on so many levels
Fortunately, unlike you, MS have the stats to back the ribbon up. It might not be perfect for everyone, but it's way better than pretty much any other approach - for Office.

Edited by Kirkburn, Feb 11 2010, 10:24pm :

Kirkburn said,
Fortunately, unlike you, MS have the stats to back the ribbon up. It might not be perfect for everyone, but it's way better than pretty much any other approach - for Office.

+1

Kirkburn said,
Fortunately, unlike you, MS have the stats to back the ribbon up. It might not be perfect for everyone, but it's way better than pretty much any other approach - for Office.

Totally agree. I'm a Mac user at home, but use Office 2007 for work on a daily basis and have to say I love the damn ribbon. I understand that people think it's "ugly", and also that people hate change in general, but the concept alone is enough - whereas previously there were two places to look for things (menus and toolbars), now there's just the one. And, let's not forget, that one is much more organised and intuitive.

what said,
Hello toolbar, welcome to half of my screen.

LOL, it's not that bad. Once you use the ribbon for a while it really makes things easier / faster. The only thing I hope is that they moved controls around in Excel. In 2007 Excel's controls were in some odd places...

Outlook for the Mac, well thats a big deal...however I have to agree the Ribbon look, not that great in OSX.

KeR said,
Outlook for the Mac, well thats a big deal...however I have to agree the Ribbon look, not that great in OSX.

Other than .pst compatibility, I wonder what features Outlook for Mac will have that MS Entourage does not have.

Also, Snow Leopard is compatible with Exchange 2007+ servers. Address Book, Mail App, and iCal will sync-up to an Exchange server. Its the public folders in the Exchange that are missing.

Shadrack said,

Other than .pst compatibility, I wonder what features Outlook for Mac will have that MS Entourage does not have.

Also, Snow Leopard is compatible with Exchange 2007+ servers. Address Book, Mail App, and iCal will sync-up to an Exchange server. Its the public folders in the Exchange that are missing.

Shadrack said,

Other than .pst compatibility, I wonder what features Outlook for Mac will have that MS Entourage does not have.

Also, Snow Leopard is compatible with Exchange 2007+ servers. Address Book, Mail App, and iCal will sync-up to an Exchange server. Its the public folders in the Exchange that are missing.

Well, Outlook for Mac should bring a lot of the features that Outlook for Windows has and should also provide Exchange 2010 support.

Shadrack said,

Other than .pst compatibility, I wonder what features Outlook for Mac will have that MS Entourage does not have.

Also, Snow Leopard is compatible with Exchange 2007+ servers. Address Book, Mail App, and iCal will sync-up to an Exchange server. Its the public folders in the Exchange that are missing.

Outlook likes playing with Outlook. We use a bog-standard IMAP/POP email server at work, but can still use 'rich' Outlook features such as meeting invitations etc. And, for anyone moving platforms, importing .PST files is a very big deal.

Serenity76 said,
How's this compare to iWork?

Microsoft Office is the business standard and iWorks is not.

I would say if you have no need for Office in Windows compatibility between files, then go with iWorks. I need cross-compatibility so I went with Office 2008.

Shadrack said,
Microsoft Office is the business standard and iWorks is not.

I would say if you have no need for Office in Windows compatibility between files, then go with iWorks. I need cross-compatibility so I went with Office 2008.

Anybody know if they're bringing back Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in 2011? They cut it from 2008, much to the disappointment of many of my customer's.

vaximily said,

Anybody know if they're bringing back Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in 2011? They cut it from 2008, much to the disappointment of many of my customer's.

According to Mactopia it was planned to be re-added in Office 2011 but that was posted ages ago, not heard anything concrete.

Serenity76 said,
How's this compare to iWork?

iWork is not an industry-standard application - that said, if you're a home user, it's probably far more capable than you'll ever need, and it's much easier to get to grips with. The thing which really stops me recommending it outright for home users is the total lack of document recovery - if, for whatever reason, an iWork app/your Mac crashes, you're back to your last save.

Yeah, it's nice they are bringing the improvements to the Mac platform, but that ribbon looks ugly. Of course, if it is customizable, it doesn't really matter.

It's under development isn't it? It could still change.

But what I don't like is that all of the tabs aren't the same as in Windows.

Meph said,
It's under development isn't it? It could still change.

But what I don't like is that all of the tabs aren't the same as in Windows.

Yeah, I guess that's because of the Mac theme? Personally I prefer some color...