It is similar to the Ribbon user interface in Office 2007, but designed specifically for the Mac and to make it easier for customers to find the features they need in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, she said. For example, in Word there are document elements allowing users to snap together cover pages and easily create bibliographies. Word 2008 also comes with a new Mac-only tool known as Publishing Layout View, which lets users easily lay out rich types of documents, drop in images and apply effects using a range of templates provided.Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, believes that Office 2008 for the Mac actually showcases the Mac operating system better than Office 2007 for Windows showcases
"This is one of the weird things about this product in that the collaboration between Microsoft and Apple, as tortured as it is, often seems better than the collaboration inside Microsoft between the Windows and Office teams, Enderle said.
"What slowed this product down a lot was the lack of heads up when Apple moved to Intel, which meant the Mac Office team started very late in the process and was likely forced to redo a great deal of work. Still, what resulted is stunning, and one of the best Apple showcase products," he told eWEEK.
Excel 2008 includes Ledger Sheets in its Elements Gallery, which are pre-formulated worksheets to help users accomplish common budget and financial management tasks.
The core Office 2008 for Mac comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. It is also Microsoft Exchange enabled, and includes some Automator tools.
It is priced at $399.95 for a single license, while an upgrade version costs $239.95 and allows an upgrade from any version of Office for the Mac, as well as from any stand-alone application like Word.
Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student edition does not include Exchange support or the Automator tools, but does have three licenses for home use at a price of $149.95.
Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition, which is priced at $499.95, or $299.95 for an upgrade, has all the features of the core edition, but also includes the Expressions Media digital asset management tools, Lefebvre said.
Another Mac-only tool is the My Day stand-alone application found in the personal information manager known as Entourage, which allows users to manage their day, schedule meetings and add tasks, and that runs even when Entourage is closed.