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Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview: Office file viewing, new text and signature annotation

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
In Mac OS X Lion, Preview 5.5 gains the ability to view Excel, PowerPoint and Word documents and expands its PDF annotation features.

Mac OS X's Preview app originated as a way to view graphics and PDF documents without needing to install third party Reader software from Adobe. Apple has continuously made minor improvements to the app, and Lion's updates reflects the overall goals of the new operating system.

For example, Preview is now a Full Screen app, and it also drops its nonstandard "bubble" toolbar icons reminiscent of Mail.app to adopt the new squared-off, monochromatic iPad-like buttons of other Lion apps (including the new Mail).



Expanded Previews

A key new feature of Preview is the ability to open and preview Microsoft Office documents, sparing users from having to obtain and install Office or iWork just to play a slideshow or work with spreadsheet. In Lion, Preview is now the default app for presentation and spreadsheet documents until you install something else. Word documents continue to default to open in TextEdit.

The new support for Office documents appears to connected to Quick Look, which already previews Office documents from the Finder. In Preview, documents that can be viewed in Quick Look can be opened in a fixed window, or even Full Screen for quick reference via Mission Control, something the temporary Quick Look window can't do.

Documents opened in Quick Look now sport a button that launches Preview and opens the document for more permanent perusal, changing the app from being just an Adobe Reader substitute into a full fledged, general purpose document viewer.

A new Magnifier tool in Preview works similar the loupe in Aperture, blowing up an area of graphic files for closer examination.



Enhanced PDF annotations

Creating annotations on PDF documents is also significantly expanded in Lion's Preview, with annotation tools now presented in a more sensible (and iPad-like) location below the toolbar, rather than at the bottom of the window. In addition to simple text, colored lines, arrows and rectangles or circle outlines, Preview now supports filled shapes, outlined text, and cartoon-like speech or thought bubbles.



Another new annotation feature is the ability to capture and add a handwritten signature. From preferences, Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.



post #2 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



Another new annotation feature is the ability to capture and add a handwritten signature. From preferences, Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.


Technically, a picture is not line art. It is a bitmap image. Line art is vector art using paths with strokes and fills. This is not a trivial distinction in the world of high quality print, though it's probably irrelevant when talking about something that is only viewed on-screen.
post #3 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Preview allows users to hold up a handwritten signature that is captured by the system's camera to yield a line art signature that can be digitally added to PDF documents.


All cool stuff, but for seven bucks, doesn't this signature do the same, but with more features and options?
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post #4 of 62
Quote:
adopt the new squared-off, monochromatic iPad-like buttons

sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?

Steve, what the hell is going on with interface design these days? Itunes has become a grey atrocity, including (shoot the guy in the foot who thought of that) itunes preferences for some reason. On the dock the app store is blue, itunes is a similar shade of blue, quicktime is pretty much the same shade of blue, and mail, safari, and finder are essentially blue. Some of the most commonly used apps of the os, are virtually indiscernible, you can only quickly tell settings, ical and address book... and now you guys are making buttons, side bars etc. monochromatic too? Wtf is going on? Is this progress? Greying out, embossing, making monochromatic... what' the upside to this? That they are not distracting? I haven't seen anyone getting distracted by the os's buttons. So what's it for? Change for changes sake? Oh look great now we have these amazing colour accurate displays and we are going to turn everything monochromatic.

Just because windoze looks like some fisher price shit, doesn't mean you guys have to go the other way, and iron out and obliterate colour coding from the os buttons. Every neuropsychological paper on this is clear that we (and I can quote many) as humans are much faster in telling colours apart than either monochromatic drawings or words. So what exact purpose are you serving here? Making it harder to tell each button apart? Slowing down os usage?

Good job in making opticians rich... put the horrid glass as standard on the macbooks too so they can become billionaires. Boy would it be great to look on glare-filled screens at embossed monochromatic buttons....

EPIC fail.

edit: Dan what's your take on this btw? Do you like this? Do you find it conducive to a better interface?
post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Technically, a picture is not line art. It is a bitmap image. Line art is vector art using paths with strokes and fills. This is not a trivial distinction in the world of high quality print, though it's probably irrelevant when talking about something that is only viewed on-screen.

The system cant convert a bitmap image to a vector image so it can scaled more effectively when used? Thats what I thought they were getting it, but I know almost nothing about image tech.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

All cool stuff, but for seven bucks, doesn't this signature do the same, but with more features and options?

Ive used that with and without a stylus. The results werent much better than using a paint app to do the same thing. This inclusion into Preview lets me use a nicely written signature from a proper writing instrument.
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post #6 of 62
Not sure if MS Office file conversion/rendering is improved but I just hope some of that love comes over to pages/numbers for iOS and OSX cause currently it is quite bad.

The only hope outside MS Office itself on OSX is OpenOffice. Perhaps Apple could throw in behind that lot and give it a slick interface... not much chance there I suppose.

On iOS pickings are even slimmer if you want to make an edit

(to word/excel files)
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post #7 of 62
For the record, from apple's very own human interface guidelines:

Quote:
Making each toolbar icon distinct helps the user associate it with its purpose and locate it quickly. Variations in shape, color, and image all help to differentiate one toolbar icon from another.

So, no variations in color anymore, chucked out of the window...

and more:
Quote:
Designing Icons for Capsule-Style Toolbar Controls
Icons that look good in capsule-style toolbar controls are simple, colorful images that don’t have lots of detail. As you design an icon for a capsule-style toolbar control, keep the following points in mind:
(...)
Consider using bright, clear colors

So, I guess these guidelines stemming from years of refining the os, were wrong all along, and now color coding is rubbish....

This is probably the most mind boggling backward step from apple in the os's interface in a long time...
post #8 of 62
Well said myapplelove. I couldn't agree with you more. I have no idea what is going on with Apple's design team these days, but this mono color scheme has got to go. I hate it!
post #9 of 62
I totally agree on the lack of proper use of colours in the GUI. I'm scratching my head on that one.

Overall, though, I'm liking a lot of the features coming out in Lion.

As for line art, it was around a LONG time before the digital age and we were deciding whether it was bitmap or vector.

One colour. No shading. LINES.
post #10 of 62
I'm really liking the changes in Lion as well. One change that occurred in SL was in Preview, you could crop a PDF and it would delete the section that I wanted removed. In SL, the section is not deleted, only hidden from view. I don't understand why this is the case. I delete portions of a PDF all of the time and used Preview in Leopard, but in SL they got rid of it and in Lion, it's not back.
post #11 of 62
Even in their color machines, the Next UI was almost monochrome, except for some subtle color here and there. It was praised for its UI. On the other hand, even though I like the color, OS X has been panned because of its heavy use of color. apple has been cutting down on that use with every upgrade.

Meanwhile, Windows goes the other way, using too much color and flash in its UI.
post #12 of 62
Great to see Preview develop. I use it every day for scanning, screen grabs, PDF handling Inc annotations. Love it. Not sure about the value of viewing ms office files. Quick View does a great job. Unless Preview will allow you to generate pdf's from office files.
post #13 of 62
i switch between Windows XP on my Boot Camp partition and OS X every day.

Each time I switch back to OS X in the evening I'm actually struck by how monochromatic and washed out it looks. Pale grey against slightly less pale grey. I'm pretty disappointed that Apple appear to be further accentuating this approach in Lion.

I adore the usability/functionality of OS X but the grey on grey look is starting to lose me.
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post #14 of 62
I hope Apple adds support for ePub as well. Preview is a great light weight document reader and it's good to see it grow.
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post #15 of 62
Looks really awesome, once again apple is pushing the envelope and making a "desktop" is sound interesting again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinwalia View Post

I hope Apple adds support for ePub as well. Preview is a great light weight document reader and it's good to see it grow.

Totally agree, not being able to read epubs inside iTunes has long struck me as a bit silly, hopefully new preview will be able to take care of that.
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post #16 of 62
Taste and design change with the times. Nothing stays the same.

There is a movement in current software design that is about simplicity and minimalism. A belief that the OS and Application should be minimal and give focus to the content being presented.

"By "chrome" I don't mean Google's browser of that name, but all the pseudo-solid, pseudo-3D visual cruft that infests user interfaces in modern computing."

".......chances are your browser program is designed to look like some sort of machine. It will have been crafted to resemble aluminium or translucent plastic of varying textures, with square or round or rhomboid buttons and widgets in delicate pseudo-3D gradients, so they look solid, and animate with a shadowed depth illusion when you click them."

AGAINST CHROME: A MANIFESTO


Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?
post #17 of 62
Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ameldrum1 View Post

Each time I switch back to OS X in the evening I'm actually struck by how monochromatic and washed out it looks. Pale grey against slightly less pale grey. I'm pretty disappointed that Apple appear to be further accentuating this approach in Lion.
post #18 of 62
Hope they improved quick looks rendering of office documents as, at the moment, it's a bit shit and barely usable. Ok, it gives you a very rough idea of the files contents but doesn't pickup any styles or correct formatting.
post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.

Absolutely and I agree because I fit that description to a "T".

However... considering that Apple has made huge strides and is catering to the "everyday user and consumer", I do think they should "finally" allow a few more choices other than "Aqua or Silver".

I as well as most "pros" would have no problem with Apple doing the "full-color rainbow pony" as the default install, as long as we're able to turn it all, or some of it, off by choice. Or even "mod" it? Nah... that would be expecting too much from Apple to give us that type of control.

I'm not complaining, but I do see (pun intended) where many people are coming from, and their complaints in this regard.
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post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

sorry guys at apple but this monochromatic hell a la the new itunes you are forcing upon us is SHIT, and it goes against any interface guidelines, including apple's own. Can we please drop this?

oh shut up about interface guidelines. Long dead.
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post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

oh shut up about interface guidelines. Long dead.

gotta love a man with a good argument, who's also a gentleman in his responses.

@melgross Windows is a monstrosity of indiscriminate use of color, we agree there. But as you said subtle use is very much desired AND required. If adding a few touches of colour to differentiate toolbar buttons isn't subtle then what is? I am not asking for anything more.

@tenobell, like I said I am with, and I will gladly abide with the "chrome manifesto", every time I use a windows machine it's as if I am in la la land or some fisher price fantasy and I hate it. But, there's a grand canyon of a difference between that and turning most or all toolbars and sidebars monochrome. Some of you might have better eyesight than us, but I have ended up spending more time actually reading (eg) the sidebar in itunes instead of spending a split second based on a visual cue to make a choice.

This isn't my impression (or the impression of other users such as myself) it's reality. Do you really believe that content and minimalism are affected based on a few subtle cues on a toolbar or sidebar? Has anyone complained that they find os x's toolbars distracting? Find me one person who has. I am all for change but not to a cost of functionality, and not when it goes against every research that has been done on visual perception and ease of use. I am not pulling this research out of my ass, it's there. It's also like I said verified with usage, I do take more time when there are no color cues whatsoever to hunt down buttons.

And let me ask you this, the inane choice of blueing out dock icons, is that a matter of taste and change too? Because I would think it's a matter of huge oversight. Here you have the three most used apps mail, safari, and finder all a shade of blue mostly. You have quicktime a deeper shade of blue and itunes completely different. Then what do they do? Enter itunes as blue as quicktime, then enter the app store AGAIN blue, and of course software update is blue too. Now try differentiating these on an 11" air with the icons on the side...good luck with that. And what's worse itunes is circular, as is quicktime, and is itunes... Essentially what I am saying is that apple designers might be great (they are) but they are not immune to mucking it up, as Steve said they are not infallible.

Well, that's why we are here, to point these out for our benefit, and for apple's benefit, and that's why I urge everyone to leave feedback to apple on these matters. They do read it and they do that it into account. That's why we had matte back to the macbooks, that's why the orientation/mute switch is now an option on the ipad, that's why the air got two usb ports, etc. etc. There are many examples where apple has taken in the feedback from the apple community, as they should have. Cause it's their job to create products we love, and it's ours to pinpoint to them if anything is not as we 'd like it to be IF it goes against some very real, tangible usability need.
post #22 of 62
One is trolling macrumors about how Apple screwed PPC people and now there is one just like it on appleinsider whining about damn colours. Grow up.

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post #23 of 62
Every day I'm amazed at how huge the step backward was in Snow Leopard.

In Leopard, Preview.app was the world's best PDF viewer:
- I could double-click on Spotlight results in Finder, and the PDF would open with the search term already filled in and searched.
- Searching in Preview.app used Spotlight's index to make the search nearly instantaneous
- Search results in Preview.app could be reviewed in the sidebar with context.

In Snow Leopard:
- Double-clicking on Spotlight results in Finder just opens the PDF, no prefilling of the search term, let alone starting the search.
- Searching in Preview.app is no longer indexed. Searching a 100-page PDF now takes ~30 seconds!
- Results can only be viewed in per-page view, where you have to review each page in order to find the search results you were looking for. No textual context in the sidebar.

It has been my hope against hope that Lion would fix this disaster.

Any luck?
post #24 of 62
The love for gray themes at Apple is nothing new. They've had a "graphite" theme on Macs since the OS 8.6 days. The explanation given at the time was that the color gray is a neutral gray that allows graphic artists to compose their work without UI elements affecting their eye's preception of the colors they are using in their creative works.

The graphite theme has been available on all Macs since at least the 8.6 era, including Mac OS X.

In regards to Preview, I look forward to these new features. I'll assume the new Office compatability is simply a way for Windows switchers to not freak out when trying to launch their non-Word Office files without having Office for Mac installed. This makes for a much better experience versus activating the Office "Test Drive" bloatware.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by slpreview2 View Post

Every day I'm amazed at how huge the step backward was in Snow Leopard.

In Leopard, Preview.app was the world's best PDF viewer:
- I could double-click on Spotlight results in Finder, and the PDF would open with the search term already filled in and searched.
- Searching in Preview.app used Spotlight's index to make the search nearly instantaneous
- Search results in Preview.app could be reviewed in the sidebar with context.

In Snow Leopard:
- Double-clicking on Spotlight results in Finder just opens the PDF, no prefilling of the search term, let alone starting the search.
- Searching in Preview.app is no longer indexed. Searching a 100-page PDF now takes ~30 seconds!
- Results can only be viewed in per-page view, where you have to review each page in order to find the search results you were looking for. No textual context in the sidebar.

It has been my hope against hope that Lion would fix this disaster.

Any luck?

Dude, you just have messed up your system...

I'm on Snow Leopard. Searching in Preview app and opening a PDF from the Spotlight results works the same. I.e you get query prefilling, search results can be viewed in the sidebar, searching is indexed and instantaneous etc.

Did you just close the sidebar view and don't know how to reopen it? Though it sounds more like you disabled Spotlight for that volume or you have a corrupted spotlight index.

Check: https://skitch.com/stest/r52yj/orson...page-20-of-249
post #26 of 62
@vandil

I wonder what their potential explanation might be this time, though I hope we don't get to the point where this is finally implemented without an option to turn it off. thanks btw for the history lesson I wasn't aware of what you said, and it's always good to know a bit of tech history of how things used to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Povilas View Post

One is trolling macrumors about how Apple screwed PPC people and now there is one just like it on appleinsider whining about damn colours. Grow up.

I d tell you what to go do with yourself, regardless of infractions, but these are holly days for christians and we like to refrain from such actions, however deserved they might be. Seeing you visit macrumors best stick to it so you ll be with your ilk since there people are habituated to refrain from arguments and go directly to personal attacks and you are a poster child for this. A couple more things, since we are talking about interface design, yes we are going to talk about damn colours cause that's a large part of what colours are about...but I guess that's too hard for you to understand. As for ppc, wtf has that got to do with anything here?
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For example, Preview is now a Full Screen app, and it also drops its nonstandard "bubble" toolbar icons reminiscent of Mail.app to adopt the new squared-off, monochromatic iPad-like buttons of other Lion apps (including the new Mail).

The bubble buttons we see in Preview and Mail today are nowhere near nonstandard. The bubble style (it's actually called Capsule) is one of the many Apple-supplied styles available for NSSegmentedControl in Apple's own Interface Builder - any Mac developer could use it.

Apple needs to work on the new style they're distributing throughout the OS. The selected state of such a button looks just horrible (inverted gradient) and I'd be amazed if they let that slip into the final release.
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post #28 of 62
The ability to view an MS document, read-only, in a separate app window, is very smart.
Lots of people need to read, but not everyone needs to edit with full MS Office.

I wonder if cut&paste from the doc will work, that would be useful too.

I'd like it if I could have MS documents and spreadsheets open in Preview first for reading, with a clean interface, hopefully nice and quickly ( and safely! ), then click an EDIT button to go into edit mode using whatever is available.

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post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

I wonder if cut&paste from the doc will work, that would be useful too.

I'd like it if I could have MS documents and spreadsheets open in Preview first for reading, with a clean interface, hopefully nice and quickly ( and safely! ), then click an EDIT button to go into edit mode using whatever is available.

PDFs open in Preview as read only with the ability to copy so I'd think so.
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post #30 of 62
I'm sure as you know that is not Apple's style. They want a uniform look across OS X.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

However... considering that Apple has made huge strides and is catering to the "everyday user and consumer", I do think they should "finally" allow a few more choices other than "Aqua or Silver".
post #31 of 62
You don't like the monochrome UI and that's fine. You are free to your opinion.

The problem is that you work so hard to position your sense of aesthetic functionality as "fact". Seeing that every OS is designed very differently there obviously is no consensus on a right way to do it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

This isn't my impression (or the impression of other users such as myself) it's reality.
post #32 of 62
I thought that Preview also supported unlocked PDF for filling out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

PDFs open in Preview as read only with the ability to copy so I'd think so.
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.

Agree. Perhaps if your life revolves around working with office memos, Word docs and the only thing you see all day is black text on a white background, you might complain that more color is needed. However, if like me, you work with full color documents, video, photo editing, and web design, etc, then a gray or neutral UI is much better. I have so much art on the walls, scenic views of lush landscaping and color everywhere in the office, I do not need color in the OS to brighten up my day. If you are stuck working in a boring corporate cubicle, It is not Apple's fault. You need to get a life.

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post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by iTuomas View Post

The bubble buttons we see in Preview and Mail today are nowhere near nonstandard. The bubble style (it's actually called Capsule) is one of the many Apple-supplied styles available for NSSegmentedControl in Apple's own Interface Builder - any Mac developer could use it.

Apple needs to work on the new style they're distributing throughout the OS. The selected state of such a button looks just horrible (inverted gradient) and I'd be amazed if they let that slip into the final release.

Thank God I'm not the only one who thinks the inverted gradient used for the slider buttons in Lion are just plain wrong.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by foljs View Post

search results can be viewed in the sidebar...Did you just close the sidebar view and don't know how to reopen it?...Check: https://skitch.com/stest/r52yj/orson...page-20-of-249

I stand corrected on the query prefilling. (Although, I just saw it not prefill on one of 3 files that I opened.)

Thanks for the link -- yes, I have the sidebar open, but in Snow Leopard only gives you the option to view results grouped by page (either ordered by rank or page). (Your screenshot shows the page that hit ordered by rank.)

In Leopard you could see each individual result in the sidebar, as text, with surrounding context. That was crucial for finding the right hit in a long PDF where a keyword might show up multiple times. You could just scroll through the list looking for the right phrase, instead of having to "flip" through dozens or hundreds of pages, looking for the context around each yellow block (additionally harder on a small laptop screen). In Leopard, viewing search results by page was an option. In Snow Leopard, it's the only thing available.

Quote:
Though it sounds more like you disabled Spotlight for that volume or you have a corrupted spotlight index.

Maybe...Spotlight is able to find the matching files quickly, though. Is there a way the index could be corrupted such that the files are found quickly but Preview's performance is terrible?

It just took 15 seconds to search an 8-page 450KB PDF. But then subsequent searches were nearly instantaneous -- so maybe it was indexing during the first search and that's why it was so slow? Is there some way to convince Spotlight to do this additional indexing in the background?

Hey, if you manage to solve 2 of my 3 complaints about Snow Leopard's preview, you'll have made my day.

(But I still miss the text view in the sidebar -- heck, even iBooks provides textual search results! Why is it gone from Preview?)
post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Photographers, graphic designers, film/video editors appreciate the gray UI. Various colors in the UI contaminate the color of the work you are looking at.

One of the subtleties of NeXTStep was with such a UI one never got distracted from their work. The distinctions between applications menus [active menus were a darker gradient overlay] and the content of the actual Drawing/Spreadsheet/Document work space was so subtle you never got distracted from being productive.

The more you worked in the environment and it's efficient and liberal use of Services the more you realized 3rd party developers worked in tandem to provide those Services to make you even more productive. Efficiency at work actually happened.

Working at NeXT had me extremely efficient, whether in Engineering or Professional Services. Working became fun, not a weight slowing me down.

You feel less burned out on the eyes when the focus of your work is center and not the window views distracting you with color themes.
post #37 of 62
Sorry guys I don't object to the toning done of the GUI in Lion. The evolution of has been a gradual refining in my opinion and not a sudden jolt towards a more minimalist look. Having colorful easy to spot scroll bars are really not that important today with all the gestures built into Mac OS X and of course iOS. How many times do you mouse to the scroll bars to scroll a webpage or other file? Comparing what was good for users 20 years ago in a GUI is ridiculous as well. There are situations in everyday life when we interact with a non Mac OS interface, such as a bank ATM, your TV's remote or making a credit card purchase. We are all more interface savvy today than when Apple was defining what a consumer computer looked like and how we interacted with it.
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PXT View Post

The ability to view an MS document, read-only, in a separate app window, is very smart.

I think it's a really BAD idea. It will promote the continued use of proprietary MS formats for document interchange, instead of PDF. Why do people assume that everyone has a copy of Word or Powerpoint or Excel? When I get documents in these formats I inform the sender in no uncertain terms that these are not appropriate distribution formats, and request the document as PDF.
post #39 of 62
Actually both .doc and .docx are open file extensions that anyone is free to use. MS developed them but they are not proprietary to Office. PDF does not fully replace what Office XML can do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by The-Steve View Post

I think it's a really BAD idea. It will promote the continued use of proprietary MS formats for document interchange, instead of PDF. Why do people assume that everyone has a copy of Word or Powerpoint or Excel? When I get documents in these formats I inform the sender in no uncertain terms that these are not appropriate distribution formats, and request the document as PDF.
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

gotta love a man with a good argument, who's also a gentleman in his responses.
.

I think Apple knows what they are doing, I would hold off your personal opinions until the final version of Lion is on your computer. These are beta's for a reason.
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  • Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview: Office file viewing, new text and signature annotation
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Inside Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Preview: Office file viewing, new text and signature annotation