While it has entered the final development milestone for Office 2010 (codenamed Office 14) for Windows, Microsoft is also laboring to produce the next version of Office for Mac OS X. Users have already been able to read that the next iteration of Office for Mac is due by the end of 2010 since August 2009, but at that time Microsoft did not settle on an official moniker for the next version of the productivity suite designed for Apple users. However, this aspect has changed. On February 11th, 2010, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) revealed Office for Mac 2011
at Macworld 2010 in San Francisco.
“Together with your team — officemates, family or classmates — you are part of the community that helps shape each version of Office for Mac,” noted Eric Wilfrid, MacBU general manager at Microsoft Corp. “You’ve told us that working together across platforms is a priority to you and that’s why we are making Office for Mac 2011 the best, most compatible productivity suite on the Mac.”
As Wilfrid stated, the focus with Office for Mac 2011 is to kick up a notch the level of collaboration and compatibility available to Mac users. In this regard, Office 2011 will come to the table with new co-authoring tools allowing users to work together on Word, PowerPoint or Excel documents independent of their actual locations, or platform.
At the same time, just as it is the case for Office 2010, Office 2011 will also be expanded into the Cloud and integrate with the Microsoft Office Web Apps. With the Office Web Apps, Microsoft is providing customers with stripped down versions of the main Office components such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, enabling users to access and share documents via the browser.
In addition to Office Web Apps, Office 2010 and Office 2011 will also share the Ribbon/Fluent
graphical user interface first introduced in Office 2007, and subsequently made the default GUI for Windows 7 apps. “The new design is an evolution of the Office 2008 Elements Gallery and uses the classic Mac menu and Standard Toolbar giving you the best of both worlds. You can even collapse the ribbon and the Toolbar for more screen space or for the more advanced users who rely on keyboard shortcuts. Together these tools make it easy to find and discover new and frequently used commands. In fact, more than 80 percent of the most used features live in the default view of our new user experience so you don’t have to waste time finding the tool you need. Built using the latest Mac OS X technologies, the ribbon delivers a modern and fluid experience and also gives you a more consistent experience across platforms, which is key to productivity as 75 percent of Mac users also use a PC,” Microsoft stated.
Last but not least, with the advent of Office 2011,the MacBU will kill off the Entourage email client and replace it with Outlook for Mac. The new Outlook for Mac email client has Exchange Web Services protocols at its core and will be put together using Cocoa. As far as interoperability goes, Microsoft has worked to allow Outlook for Mac in Office 2011 to import .PST files from Outlook for Windows.