I received a review copy last week - yes, we do have a couple of Apple Mac machines here at home, believe me we are not all Windows fanboys 100% of the time as some of you like to think - and it looks quite good.
Installation was really easy and the installer had no problems with the previous copy of Office for Mac already in the system. At the end of the install the old copy is automatically removed (if you select the option) and your old Identity files are automatically imported. This is quite important if have a huge email archive and connects to an Exchange Server.
Here's a list of things new and improved (long list):
• Elements Gallery has been introduced as part of Office 2008 for Mac’s new user interface (UI). This new feature emphasises discoverability and gives users quick access to tools and Mac-specific features within applications in an intuitive, visually appealing and simple way. A Mac first!
• OfficeArt is a powerful graphics engine — also used in the Windows-based Office 2007 products — that provides great cross-platform file fidelity and easy access to stunning visual and graphic effects. The OfficeArt engine runs all the graphics and image manipulation across the Office suite. From the Formatting Palette, users can realise a multitude of professional image effects, such as shadow effects, glows, reflections and stunning 3-D effects. Distortions, blurs, halftones, style and colour adjustments can polish pictures and presentations alike.
• The Toolbox has been revamped to be a true one-stop destination for some of the most useful tools in Office for Mac. Incorporating the original Office for Mac Toolbox and Formatting Palette into a single user interface, this Mac-only feature will continue to give users instant access to the tools they need, including Object Palette, Animation Settings, Citations and Formula Builder.
• Modern Themes and Styles in each application help users consistently apply a professional look and feel to documents and presentations.
• Help Viewer makes it easy to get answers to computing questions.
• Compatibility Reports allow users to confidently share information and ideas with nearly anyone on any platform. This feature analyses issues that may be problematic on another platform or version of Office and enables automatic fixes for them.
• Scrapbook provides image and information storage, advanced searching, and direct input into a document. Through cut-and-paste or drag-and-drop functionality, the Scrapbook offers easy access to the most often used information and can be accessed from all four Office 2008 for Mac programs.
• Unicode support enables input and display of approximately 50 languages in Office 2008 for Mac.
• Microsoft AutoUpdate notifies users and enables for automatic Office updates when new patches or service releases are available.
• Microsoft Error Reporting Tool enables users to immediately and anonymously report crashes to Microsoft for analysis and potential fixes.
• AppleScripting improves and expands the AppleScript dictionary to allow better AppleScript programmability.
• Document Elements simplifies and automates some of the most common but often difficult and tedious document tasks to help users easily build professional reports and papers. Cover pages, tables of contents, headers, footers and bibliographies can be chosen from a convenient thumbnail gallery, and added with a simple mouse click. A Mac first!
• Publishing Layout View is a new specialised work space in Word that lets users easily create and edit content-rich documents such as newsletters, flyers and brochures by uncovering desktop publishing layout tools. A Mac first!
• Dozens of new templates in Word 2008 give users a jump-start to great-looking documents.
• New WordArt will help users make text more beautiful and artistic.
• OpenType Ligature Support has been improved to support OpenType in Word 2008 and dramatically improves the text display on many fonts that support ligatures (e.g., Zapfino).
• Citations is a new function that makes it easy to create citations and bibliographies by allowing one-click switching between styles.
• Notebook Layout View enables users to quickly take notes, search and flag relevant information, and record audio directly into a Word document designed to look like notebook paper with new customisable work spaces and notebook appearance. It also enables users to add colour-coded tabs for a new level of organisation.
• A more streamlined Mail Merge process makes it easy to quickly prepare and distribute newsletters, flyers and mailings.
• Ledger Sheets enables everyone to use Excel to handle common money-management tasks. Home and small-business users can balance cheque books, track accounts or manage inventory more easily than ever with the help of pre-formulated cells. A Mac first!
• Increased rows and columns make Excel spreadsheets virtually limitless, with up to 16,000 columns and more than 1 million rows.
• Formula Builder, found in the Excel 2008 Toolbox, walks users through the steps needed to create the perfect formula for any occasion. A Mac first!
• Formula AutoComplete provides a drop-down menu for formula options that users can choose from once they have started typing a formula.
• Building Charts help users easily create modern charts and modify their look and feel with the click of a button. New chart templates utilise the new OfficeArt graphics engine.
• SmartArt takes users’ PowerPoint slides from bulleted text into the modern world of graphics to communicate their ideas visually.
• The Object Palette gives users quick access to shapes, art, symbols and pictures, including iPhoto files.
• Design templates, animations and transitions include more than 100 design templates, as well as smooth slide transitions and animations.
• The Custom Layouts tool enables users to create and save customized slide layout templates to the PowerPoint Elements Gallery.
• Dynamic Guides help users quickly align text and graphics for a crisp, clean slide design.
• Thumbnail View provides a condensed look that makes it easier to ensure design consistency and improve the flow of a set of slides.
• Improved Presenter Tools now feature both elapsed and actual time indicators, as well as a notes pane and thumbnail view of the entire presentations — all viewable only by the presenter.
• New integration support lets users share presentations from a Mac to an iPod by saving as a PNG or JPG file.
• PowerPoint 2008 takes full advantage of Apple Remote Control technology, allowing users to use the simple six-button functionality to control presentations.
• My Day enables users to track priorities and stay on top of daily activities no matter what application they are working in. My Day is a compact stand-alone application that offers at-a-glance schedule and task viewing without launching Entourage, and lets users colour-code everything to visualise daily priorities. A Mac first!
• To Do Lists give users an easy way to manage time and tasks more efficiently by displaying all items in one place.
• Improved Entourage Calendar user interface includes colour-coded categories, status indicators and flexible to-do list management.
• Junk e-mail and phishing protection is enhanced with new filtering capabilities.
• Project Centre provides one simple way to view and stay on top of all e-mail messages, files, contacts, meetings and tasks related to a particular project. Users also can share project information with others to help keep them just as organized.
• Improved Exchange support. Office 2008 for Mac and Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition feature the following updated features for users in an Exchange environment:
o Out of Office (OOF) Assistant enables Entourage users in Exchange environments to configure their Exchange account to send a custom auto-reply message to senders of incoming e-mail.
o Kerberos Single Sign-on Authentication automatically recognizes and authenticates new network passwords.
o Managed Folders gives IT managers additional tools to help them meet corporate archival policies by supporting Exchange 2007 document retention policies.
o Calendaring improvements include the following:
– Accept, Tentative and Decline from the calendar. Calendar management actions are more straightforward and consistent with Outlook.
– Meeting Update and Cancellation Improvements. Organizers will be able to choose whether to update attendees about a change or cancellation and include comments.
– Meeting Reply, Reply All and Forward. Using Reply, Reply All and Forward, organizers can quickly correspond with meeting participants through e-mail without opening or changing the meeting.
– Out of Date Invite Detection. Old invites are labelled “out of date,” and the Accept, Tentative and Decline buttons are disabled, leaving only the current invite active.
– Invite Conflict and Adjacent Banners. When an invite comes in, its banner will indicate if there is an event conflict or if it runs up against another meeting.
– No Response Requested Support. Entourage 2008 respects No Response Requested invites and will simply create the event on the calendar without sending a response.
– Support for Availability Web Service. Entourage now takes advantage of the Availability Web Service to allow meeting organizers with permissions to see full free/busy details (location, subject, and status) when scheduling meetings.
– Exchange 2007 Resource Booking. This new feature enables clients to book resources without requiring additional client overhead and UI complexity.
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