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Microsoft previews development version of Office 2008 for Mac (images)

post #1 of 48
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Microsoft Corp. at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco this week is offering attendees a sneak preview of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. Well, part of it, at least.

The Redmond, Wash-based software giant is previewing the next-generation of Word, its word processing and document creation software due as part of the combined suite sometime in the second half of this year.

Microsoft said it chose to showcase Word during the conference because it's further along in its development cycle than the other Office components, and "because it's the Office application people use most."

One of its highlights is a new user interface dubbed "Elements Gallery." It speeds up document creation by allowing users to drag-and-drop predefined templates for some of the most commonly used "Document Parts," such as headers, footers and tables of contents.

Microsoft, which embraced the concept of clutter with its gazillion Office toolbar variations during the '90s, is taking a more level-headed approach with Office 2008 and has built the template interface directly into the document window. Other template libraries cover "Charts," "Tables," "Smart Art Graphics," and "Word Art."

Additionally the new version of Word features a "Publishing Layout View" that lets users create incredibly layout-rich documents such as newsletters, fliers and brochures by uncovering desktop publishing layout tools and providing text box entry.

Elements Gallery user interface as seen at Macworld San Francisco 2007

During its presentation at Macworld, Microsoft also previewed My Day -- a stand-alone widget-like application that allows users to track priorities and stay on top of daily activities no matter what application theyre currently working in. It interfaces directly with Entourage -- another component of Microsoft Office -- offering at-a-glance schedule and task viewing without having to launch Entourage.

Though not on display at Macworld, a new version of Excel will add support for "Ledger Sheets," enabling anyone to use spreadsheet application to handle common financial management tasks. "Home and small-business users can balance checkbooks, track accounts or manage investment portfolios more easily than ever," Microsoft said in a statement earlier this week.

Microsoft Word, shipping later this year as part of Office: Mac 2008

Of course, the real push behind the new version of office will be its Universal Binary format, which will run natively on both Apple's PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

"With Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, we focused on what our users want the most -- compatibility with PCs, along with unique features for their Mac experience," Roz Ho, general manager for the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU).

My Day, shipping later this year as part of Office: Mac 2008

She said customers have requested want quick access to tools and features within Office, and that those improvements can be seen in enhancements like Elements Gallery, which draws off of the company's new cross-platform graphics engine called Office Art 2.0.

Ho said another important change is that Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac (like Office 2007 for Windows ) will be based in the Office Open XML Format -- which was approved in December by the standards body ECMA International as an international standard.

"Office for Mac users will benefit from the ability to access raw XML data within the file without having to parse the entire document, and ZIP-based container technology, allowing for easier recovery of corrupted documents and smaller file sizes," she said.

For additional photos of Word 2008, please see the Office 2008 photo gallery published separately.
post #2 of 48
May I be the first to say: looks like a nice UI!
post #3 of 48
I know and have worked with some of the guys over at MacBU, so I won't be so kind!!! ;-)

Honestly though, shouldn't these guys have learned about good applicaiton design by now? I know that the MacBU is resource deprived and a true bastard of MS (i use to give them my throw away servers if you want to know how bad it can get).

But honestly again... sure its beta... but look at the toolbar! i will excuse the cut-off bug for now... but come on guys... tabs with underlinying tabbish buttons for filters???? what gives.

Btw - anyone know if they still rape the documents folder where their garbage? for God's sake put it in your Application Support folder... or give the user full control!!!

okay... i am getting mellow again.
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

I know and have worked with some of the guys over at MacBU, so I won't be so kind!!! ;-)

Honestly though, shouldn't these guys have learned about good applicaiton design by now? I know that the MacBU is resource deprived and a true bastard of MS (i use to give them my throw away servers if you want to know how bad it can get).

But honestly again... sure its beta... but look at the toolbar! i will excuse the cut-off bug for now... but come on guys... tabs with underlinying tabbish buttons for filters???? what gives.

Btw - anyone know if they still rape the documents folder where their garbage? for God's sake put it in your Application Support folder... or give the user full control!!!

okay... i am getting mellow again.

If you're gonna play the "disgruntled former employee" role, at least do it with style.
post #5 of 48
That UI fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down!
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post #6 of 48
Fisher Price Edition.

- Xidius
post #7 of 48
In typical MS fashion, they couldn't even keep the My Day widget from getting cluttered.
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post #8 of 48
Starting to look like Pages to me ... other than the toolbars.
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post #9 of 48
Poor bastards. I really feel for them.

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post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

That UI fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down!

Trust me that is not disgruntled. A part of that was a joke, though the UI is really... words escape me it is that bad!

To be honest about the MacBU, They are the absolute pit of sewers in the corporate eye. During my tenure there, I honestly never once saw any equal treatment to the group despite the profitability. Also, I am sure things are still the same and the group does not have "permission" to truly innovate the product and bring to where it should be.


Pilya
post #11 of 48
Judging by that interface, I think they are trying to get people to switch to iWork so they can stop developing for the Mac
post #12 of 48
It looks "fine". 6 months before release, and based on 2 or 3 screen shots, it seems difficult to dicount it out of hand. For me Pages can't replace Word, I don't need to make flyers or news letters - I need to write business docments, and be able to share them with the oher 97% of the computing public. Why in the name of all that's holy did apple depend on MS for the most basic of applications in the first place? iWork is too little, too late.
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post #13 of 48
Yep. They saw Pages at work and it was this or give up. Seems they caught onto the Widget idea too. Imitation is the sincerest form...
post #14 of 48
Is Office's new "Office Open XML Format" really open? Does that mean Apple can adopt it for Pages, and have native compatibility with new versions of Office?
post #15 of 48
I'm a little confused about the "My Day" thing.

Why do I want something always floating in my face that tells me:
  • A repeat of the date and time that's always in the corner of my screen
  • My own name
  • A couple of the many things on my schedule, with confusing red and blue thingies
  • Several buttons that let me refresh windows... wha?
It's the last one that really shows the difference between Apple and Microsoft. If Apple showed off software that offered some mechanical, geeky, incomprehensible refresh buttons like that, someone would get fired.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

Is Office's new "Office Open XML Format" really open? Does that mean Apple can adopt it for Pages, and have native compatibility with new versions of Office?

Pages doesn't have anywhere near the features office does. It works for writing a report, but it won't work for high end office users. Not everything apple makes is some kind of world beater.
post #17 of 48
"Microsoft, which embraced the concept of clutter with its gazillion Office toolbar variations during the '90s, is taking a more level-headed approach with Office 2008 and has built the template interface directly into the document window. Other template libraries cover "Charts," "Tables," "Smart Art Graphics," and "Word Art.""

This is horrible, horrible. The rows of 'tools' are so tall - taking inches away from the document, so you can't even see a full page on a 20" screen. And every document has these 'tools' at the top of it. So with multiple documents open, you get multiple copies of space-guzzling buttons and tabs.

I happen to like the current Word and Excel interfaces. I can add tools to the toolbars (permanently) to cover almost every task I do regularly, and I know where every tool is. (I turn off all the automatic crap that's so annoying, because half the time the automatic stuff does something I don't want, so I have to undo it).

Look at the photos in the other AppleInsider story about this - it's horrible. I was hoping they would only do this to Windows users. (Sorry if I'm a little incoherent).
post #18 of 48
Jesus christ, toolbars gallore! My eyes!
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post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by k2director View Post

Is Office's new "Office Open XML Format" really open? Does that mean Apple can adopt it for Pages, and have native compatibility with new versions of Office?

Any text field in 10.5's Cocoa will have support for Office Open XML as well as OASIS OpenDocument. That includes iWork.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker View Post

Any text field in 10.5's Cocoa will have support for Office Open XML as well as OASIS OpenDocument. That includes iWork.

I think you and the OP have different definitions of "interopability". Sure iWork will be able to read documents created by Office 2007. But it just strips the text out of them. It won't retain most of the formatting. So the document looks like sh*t when you open it in TextEdit or Pages. iWork lacks 90% of Office's features. So whenever iWork/Cocoa/whatever encounters a feature it doesn't understand it'll just show garbage. Just because iWork can "read" the document doesn't mean it understands the document.

If you want proof, open a semi-complex Word document in TextEdit right now. Apple claimed in Tiger that TextEdit (and other Cocoa applications) can open Office documents "seamlessly". Yet when I open a Word document in TextEdit that my coworkers gave me, it looks like somebody threw up on the screen. Even the Table of Contents is mangled beyond recognition. TextEdit outright ignores most of the document and mangles the remaining 20%. You can bet that Leopard's support of Office 2007 will be the same.

So yes, you will be able to open those Office 2007 documents in Pages come Leopard. Just don't expect those documents to look anything like the Word document you received. And don't even get me started on Excel documents...
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcgann220 View Post

I think you and the OP have different definitions of "interopability". Sure iWork will be able to read documents created by Office 2007. But it just strips the text out of them. It won't retain most of the formatting. So the document looks like sh*t when you open it in TextEdit or Pages. iWork lacks 90% of Office's features. So whenever iWork/Cocoa/whatever encounters a feature it doesn't understand it'll just show garbage. Just because iWork can "read" the document doesn't mean it understands the document.

If you want proof, open a semi-complex Word document in TextEdit right now. Apple claimed in Tiger that TextEdit (and other Cocoa applications) can open Office documents "seamlessly". Yet when I open a Word document in TextEdit that my coworkers gave me, it looks like somebody threw up on the screen. Even the Table of Contents is mangled beyond recognition. TextEdit outright ignores most of the document and mangles the remaining 20%. You can bet that Leopard's support of Office 2007 will be the same.

So yes, you will be able to open those Office 2007 documents in Pages come Leopard. Just don't expect those documents to look anything like the Word document you received. And don't even get me started on Excel documents...

Hmmmm, quick thought.
Maybe Preview can "Preview" them properly in Leopard?

Sebastian
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post #22 of 48
I think the UI would like a lot better is they used a unified toolbar instead of the old pinstripes...

But I guess that would make it look like Pages. \
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmcgann220 View Post

....

If you want proof, open a semi-complex Word document in TextEdit right now. Apple claimed in Tiger that TextEdit (and other Cocoa applications) can open Office documents "seamlessly". Yet when I open a Word document in TextEdit that my coworkers gave me, it looks like somebody threw up on the screen. Even the Table of Contents is mangled beyond recognition. TextEdit outright ignores most of the document and mangles the remaining 20%. You can bet that Leopard's support of Office 2007 will be the same.

...

There seem to be two issues at play here. It is true that neither Text Edit nor Pages is 100% compatible with Word. This usually results in Text Edit's not displaying embedded graphics or a similar problem. The document is still readable. If your colleagues are giving you documents which look as bad as you describe, it is likely that they never learned to properly format electronic documents.

Back in the 1980's, there was a popular book entitled The Mac in not a Typewriter. It should be the basis of a required course for many of my Windows-using colleagues. I suspect that your colleagues need such a course, as well.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

There seem to be two issues at play here. It is true that neither Text Edit nor Pages is 100% compatible with Word. This usually results in Text Edit's not displaying embedded graphics or a similar problem. The document is still readable. If your colleagues are giving you documents which look as bad as you describe, it is likely that they never learned to properly format electronic documents.

Back in the 1980's, there was a popular book entitled The Mac in not a Typewriter. It should be the basis of a required course for many of my Windows-using colleagues. I suspect that your colleagues need such a course, as well.

And this is why everything should just be exported as a PDF to begin with.... -_-

Sebastian
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post #25 of 48
Look at the templates they demo! They are stolen right from Pages - even the Latin placeholding text!!! They even use the same phrase, "Lorem Ipsum Dolor", as Apple does in Pages!

Incredible gall.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Look at the templates they demo! They are stolen right from Pages - even the Latin placeholding text!!! They even use the same phrase, "Lorem Ipsum Dolor", as Apple does in Pages!

Incredible gall.

I hope you're joking about the "Lorem Ipsum."
post #27 of 48
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chucker View Post

May I be the first to say: looks like a nice UI!

May I be the first to say: looks a little like iPhone UI.
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post #29 of 48
Megashaft's MBU needs to realize they will not be making software within 2 years. (Or rather, will not be making a profit.)

Someone needs to tell them that Parallels just made running a contrived, ubertwitchy, bloated, 500% slower, ineffective, impaired, zombie-PDF making version of Office completely unnecessary.

MBU isn't dead; it just smells funny.

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post #30 of 48
What complete shit - is that a floppy drive they are still using for the "save" icon? Jesus, I think MS hit a new low - which is quite impressive in itself.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPilya View Post

Trust me that is not disgruntled. A part of that was a joke, though the UI is really... words escape me it is that bad!

To be honest about the MacBU, They are the absolute pit of sewers in the corporate eye. During my tenure there, I honestly never once saw any equal treatment to the group despite the profitability. Also, I am sure things are still the same and the group does not have "permission" to truly innovate the product and bring to where it should be.


Pilya

Everyone who has watched/used office:mac at all knows that the MacBU was established/kept in the mid-90s to take the heat off of MS and the anti-trust thing and the minute their current deal runs out hey will be gone from the platform.

They said like last year or mayb e 2 years ago that they were committed for 5 years, that means, assuming another 4 year refresh cycle, we may never see Office:Mac updated past '08.
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post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

They said like last year or mayb e 2 years ago that they were committed for 5 years, that means, assuming another 4 year refresh cycle, we may never see Office:Mac updated past '08.

Sounds wonderful!!

But only if Apple:
1. Does the rumored split-personality of Pages, so it can look more like a word processor
2. Allows Pages to open and save Word documents (instead of just import and export)
3. Does the same things for Keynote and Charts/Numbers/Whatever
post #33 of 48
The screenshots don't do the new UI justice. After seeing the demo at the Microsoft booth in person, i am really looking forward to the new edition of Office.

From what was shown, the new "elements gallery" is very slick. When opening and closing, it even uses a nice transition effect. The templates and "elements" can be re-arranged like icons in the Dock; the category "pills" above the "elements" can be slided to the right or left like you can with Favorites in Safari. When done using the elements gallery, you can just close it with a single click, again with the same slick transition.

While not mentioned in the presentation, it looks like Word has *finally* integrated the toolbar with the application window. This seems to be the trend these days and the results are clean. With the icon and text labels, it feels Apple-ish and makes the icons easier to understand. I'm speculating that they will go even further with the unified toolbar look if Leopard makes that standard.

I also noticed that they now feature the Inspector as does other newer programs. Again, it looks like Office is deliberately moving toward a more Mac look-and-feel.

The My Day widget looks very promising too. The screenshots show it with too much transparency so you can see too much of the background. The presentor was able to go to the preferences and change the degree of transparency, which is nice feature. Another cool feature of My Day is you can just enter a "task" into My Day and it just sends it to Entourage.

The demo at the booth was only 10 minutes but it was packed with people. Like many others I wished they showed more. In particular, i was hoping to see the presenter click on the Charts buttons. Considering what they showed is still work-in-progress, I'm sure the final product and the rest of the Office will be great! I can't wait to get the universal versions of Creative Suite and Office on my machine!
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsgn_mttrs View Post

The screenshots don't do the new UI justice. After seeing the demo at the Microsoft booth in person, i am really looking forward to the new edition of Office.

Any Idea how good it will look on my Macbook's 13.3" screen?

Sebastian
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post #35 of 48
So can anyone tell me what the three Refresh Menu buttons are and why I would want them hovering in my face all day?
post #36 of 48
How about a return to Word 5.1?
post #37 of 48
I've been using Google Docs for awhile now. Sure it's not as robust as Word or Open Office and requires an internet connection, but for my basic needs it's perfectly fine. I've never used 95% of WOrd's features, anyway.
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post #38 of 48
Quote:
"With Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, we focused on what our users want the most -- compatibility with PCs, along with unique features for their Mac experience," Roz Ho, general manager for the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU).

So "compatibility with PCs" is the reason why they are dropping support for VB macros? And how about full support for Exchange server features in Entourage? Is it the lack of these features that make their Mac experience "unique"?
post #39 of 48
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Originally Posted by TheToe View Post

In case you're not...

That is so cool--thanks for the education...
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post #40 of 48
I actually feel for the Mac devs at MS. Their apps used to be pretty good, and still are of course the lingua franca for file exchange (not that they should be, just talking about in practice). But developing in Carbon must suck and they really must reconsider that after this version. Cocoa in Xcode is where its at and where it's all going to be. Considering the farce surrounding their dumping visual basic in Mac Office (which really screws a bunch of people as talked about in comments here) and the recent antics going on with the .docx etc. converter for Office 2007 files, you'd think they realise that their long term struggle is only ever going to get worse if they keep going where they have been.

Office 2007 is an advance on the Windows side, but what I'm seeing of Word 2008 at least does not give me much hope. I do want to give the MacBU the benefit of the doubt though, because having tried Pages with some real life work, my faith in iWork is far from complete. Apple's typical secrecy around its development really doesn't help. And for all you may or may not think about MS's style of UI and so forth, their apps are going to be used professionally in a way that Apple's iWork is not for a few years to come.

Nice ideas about a file database / iTunes inspired office app by the way. A code shop out there could be well advised to take that maxim and create their own up to date, robust, and responsively developed productivity app. I know a few prospective buyers including myself. For such an old genre, there's a world still left for improvement!
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