Office for Mac 2011 Brings Outlook Integration, Coauthoring, Photo Editing

Microsoft has officially released Office for Mac 2011, touting such key additions as Outlook integration, Office Web apps, coauthoring, the Ribbon, a new gallery of templates, photo editing, full screen view, the ability to broadcast slideshows, and more.

Probably the most important addition in Office for Mac 2011 is the integration with Outlook, a first for the Mac version of Microsoft’s productivity suite.

Outlook is described by Microsoft as being “the all-in-one application for e-mail, calendars, contacts, and tasks.”

With the app, users can collapse multiple e-mail threads into one quick view, see all their inboxes in a single view, and manage their workload from virtually anywhere.

One noteworthy feature is the ability to instantly preview email attachments, much like Mail on the iPad.

Those who have a license for SharePoint Foundation 2010 for business use or a free Windows Live ID for personal use can now employ Windows Live SkyDrive to store and edit their documents and presentations online, for free.

“Then, use Office Web Apps to access your documents from almost any computer. Just use your Web browser to sign in to, and go to work. Now you can be productive wherever life takes you,” Microsoft says. Supported browsers include Safari 4 or later, Firefox and others.

The Office for Mac ribbon and toolbar put commonly used commands at your fingertips., while photo-editing includes options like in-document photo finishing, color-corrections, background removal, and more.

Users can coauthor documents in real time or add audio and video to chats.

“As someone who works at Microsoft and deals with Apple often, I acknowledge that our companies compete,” said Eric Wilfrid, general manager of the Microsoft Office for Mac team.

“Some people choose Windows, and some people choose Mac. That conflict tends to get a lot of attention, but I deal in the reality that there are customers who love their Macs and also love using Office,” Wilfrid added.

System Requirements for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 include a Mac computer with an Intel processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard) or later, 1 GB of RAM, 1.8 GB of available hard disk space, HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS Extended or HFS Plus), 1280 x 800 or higher resolution screen, DVD drive or connection to a local area network (if installing over a network), and Safari 5 (recommended).

Additional services required to use some features include: a Windows Live ID, for certain online features; Internet access; connectivity to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or later for access to files stored on a SharePoint server; and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 or a Windows Live ID for coauthoring.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 comes in two editions: Home & Student, which retails for $149.99, and Home & Business, which costs $279.99.

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