Office 2008 is bad news

I was hoping that my transition back to the Mac would be complete this week. All of the hardware has been changed and it was the software that had to go. On my Windows virtual machine running on the Mac I use three programs regularly and one occasionally. The three regulars are (a) Microsoft Office 2007; (b) Mathematica and (c) Windows Live Writer. I also occasionally use Scientific Workplace. Mathematica has a Mac version and so it is just a matter of switching over. Windows Live Writer is better than its Mac substitute — Ecto — but not so much better that I would keep Windows running in the background for. The big one was Office.

As regular readers know, I am a fan of the new Microsoft Office 2007. So I was optimistic when I installed Office 2008 for the Mac. However, that optimism was quickly dashed when I discovered that it would not work with an equation editor or Mathtype. So much for academic papers. What is more, the nice ribbon interface of Office 2007 was no where to be seen. And then there were annoying omissions such as no solver on Excel and no preview on Entourage. Put simply, Microsoft have crimped their product and it is difficult to see this as anything but a break on people moving to the Mac (or at least without purchasing a version of Windows). This is a major disappointment.

What is more, while Keynote and Pages are nice for some things, they are still not quite there for the academic environment. So I am going to continue with Windows in the background and Office 2007 and hope that someone will work out how to free us from being stuck in the middle.

3 thoughts on “Office 2008 is bad news”

  1. Hi Josh,

    Do you mean that there is NO equation editor, or is it just that it won’t work with anything other than the standard MS editor?

    While you’re twiddling, have you tried the bibliography feature in Word 2008? The few reviews I’ve seen that mention this are pretty critical (no formatting freedom, limited import capability).

    I also find it a bit retrograde that they seem to have dropped the macxros editor. All in all, sounds as though they are smooching up to the 80% and ditching the 20% altogether! Still, at least soon we’ll be able to do live Yahoo! searches from Word without having to detour via Firefox, Google, etc.



  2. Word 2008 does have the equation editor.

    There is a ribbon interface but font selection/basic editing is done through the palattes – wich is much more efficent, especially if using a widescreen monitor.

    Excel does have goal seek, but since you use Mathematica, isn’t it easier to solve things through there – especially since version 6 makes it eay to link to Excel files.


  3. I installed Mac Office 2008 today as well. I can’t believe what a waste of money it was. I’m an avid user of Office 2007 and have found many of it’s new features to be innovative and extremely useful. To name a few, the easy to use built in GUI equation editor and the hot swappable styles.

    I didn’t see that many changes from Office X to 2004 but this is just ridiculous. As far as I can see the only alterations that have been made are simply aesthetic.

    If only Microsoft made a complete port of proper Office instead of the pathetic Mac substitute we have been forced to put up with.


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