Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 comes at no cost and will be relatively easy to deploy. That said, end users will find little in the way of improvements to the productivity suite, with the "biggest" changes focused on PowerPoint.
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
Service Pack 2 is a no-cost upgrade that provides only modest improvements to
the productivity suite.
Microsoft's service packs for Office
are primarily evolutionary, and this one is no exception. IT managers should
have little problem deploying the SP; indeed, during my tests, installation was
no problem. However, there is no uninstall option, so I advise thorough predeployment
testing in environments that use heavily customized Word templates, forms and
Office 2008 for Mac SP 2 focuses on
the PowerPoint component of the suite. Microsoft Entourage for Mac 2008-the
suite's much-maligned e-mail client-gains automated features for connecting to
Mobile Me and Windows Live Hotmail accounts, while SharePoint users will be
able to use the new Document Connection tool to ease file
access. Microsoft has made some bug fixes to Word, and has tweaked Word
and Excel for improved performance.
Compared with Keynote, Apple's slide
presentation application in its own iWorks suite, Office for Mac PowerPoint
just barely keeps up.
I was able to change the default
theme in PowerPoint, but that's just a basic boon for presentation mavens. Also
new in PowerPoint is the ability to add path animation to a slide. Making text
and other elements fly around the screen adds a little pizzazz to
presentations, but it is hardly the kind of sizable advance in product features
I expected. That said, adding the path animation element is simple to do, and
anyone with a passing familiarity with slide production will be able to master
the feature in less than 5 minutes.
During tests, PowerPoint for Mac was
able to retain the formatting of a slide presentation created in PowerPoint
2007 on my Windows XP system. Significantly, both slide decks correctly
displayed text in Arial font-previous versions of the Mac version sometimes
converted text to Calibri.
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Word
now retains the formatting of numbered lists. From Microsoft Office 2007 for
Windows running on a virtual PC, I opened a numbered list created in the Mac
version of Word, and everything displayed correctly. Aside from this minor
change, Word is relatively unchanged from its previous state.
Entourage, the Outlook equivalent in
Office for Mac, has new account creation wizards to help with Mobile Me and
Windows Live Hotmail integration. During tests, the wizard helped me create an
account linked to Windows Live Hotmail service. SP 2 is required for
organizations that intend to use the Web-based edition of Entourage.
Technical Director Cameron
Sturdevant can be reached at email@example.com.