I know, I know, Macworld Expo was last week, and I should have written this up earlier. I had every intent of taking a break on Thursday after my shift in the booth and my talk, but it just didn't end up happening that way. Forgive me: the show was awesome, and I'm only now recovered enough to be able to write complete sentences.
Now, on to the top Office:Mac questions that I fielded this week at Macworld Expo:
When is the next version of Office coming out? It's coming late this year, in time for your holiday shopping pleasure.
And what's it called? It's named Office for Mac 2011.
Office 2011? But I thought you said it's coming out this year ... Think of our naming kinda like how car models get named. If it comes out in the first half of the year, it gets labelled with that year; if it comes out in the second half of the year, then it gets labelled with the next year.
What's in it? We haven't announced all of the features in Office:Mac 2011 yet, but here's some of what we are sharing ...
Outlook on my Mac? Yes. We announced last year that we're bringing Outlook to your Mac, and we've added some details at Macworld Expo. Here's everything we're sharing so far about Outlook:
When will you tell us more about Office 2011? Look for us to post more to our blog, Mac Mojo, in the upcoming months as we get closer to launch.
There's more details available in our press release, and there's a screenshot of Word 2011 in a blog post on Mac Mojo. Got more questions? Leave 'em in the comments!
Why are interfaces like the ribbon being designed when most of the Mac displays are widescreen? The ribbon takes up so much valuable real-estate of the screen.
I love the Toolbox/Formatting Palette on Office 2008 for Mac, as notebook computer screens are widescreen and documents are generally portrait format. By using the toolbox, and collapsing the toolbar, I can maximise the space available for my documents.
Having used Office 2007 quite extensively (and running the Office 2010 beta on Windows 7 on Boot Camp), I like how the toolbars were completely re-thought, and how the Office team did away with the menu bars. In a way, the way Microsoft rethought the entire user interface with Ribbon isn't all too different from how Apple is now following this year with iWork on the iPad – iWork on the iPad looks like it completely removes the traditional menubar too.
I'm not too convinced by what I've seen on the single Office 2011 for Mac screenshots so far – the Ribbon doesn't replace the menu bar, the Ribbon doesn't replace the toolbar, and looking on the toolbar, there appears to be an icon for the Toolbox/Formatting Palette as well! I'm all for new ideas for Office, and really look forward to Office 2011, but I would want the Office 2011 for Mac team to be REALLY confident about their new UI that they'd be completely happy about ditching the traditional UI –– in the same way the Office 2007 team completely re-did the Office user interface on Windows. A half-baked attempt would be worse.
Can you confirm whether or not Word 2011 will provide right to left formatting for languages such as Hebrew or Arabic? This is something that has been available in the Windows version of Word for a while and promised for the Mac version, but has not yet been realized. I have hope for Word 2011.
Ribbon questions - This is big enough that I should write a whole blog post. I'll try to find some time to do that this week. If not, it won't be until the first week of March, 'cause I'm going on holiday. :)
R. Mansfield - We haven't yet announced language support for Office 2011, so I can't answer that yet.
The biggest question in my mind is: will Office 2011 support visual basic for excel?
I like the 2008 interface, please don't change it TOO much! I think its quite elegant.