SAN FRANCISCO - At Macworld 2010, Microsoft's MacBU announced Office 2011, the next version of the office productivity suite for the Mac. Office 2011 will introduce new connections to Microsoft services to make working together more effective, an updated user interface making tasks easier, and essential compatibility to ensure documents look the same when shared as when created.
On Thursday, Microsoft said: "The new co-authoring tools in Office 2011 give you and your teammates the ability to work on a file from Word, PowerPoint or Excel from different locations, brainstorm ideas, and stay on the same page regardless of time, geography or platform. Co-authoring improves the processes of working together, removing the pain and frustration of multiple versions, lost edits, or even trying to set a time for the group to meet. With this new feature you can keep track of your team with the Presence Everywhere feature that gives real-time status updates on who is working on the document directly in the application.
"Office 2011 also delivers a connection to Microsoft Office Web Apps from the application, giving you a simple way to access and share Office documents from any machine with an Internet connection. Similar to the experience in Microsoft Office 2010 for PC users, the Office Web Apps make it easy to get your work done virtually anywhere."
Notable in Office 2011 is the new Mac Ribbon based on extensive user feedback. The goal is to make functions more accessible to users as well as help discover new ones.
Migration and Searching
Another notable item is one that actually will help Mac users migrate away from PCs. The Mac BU added: "Along with the updated user interface and quick access to the Office Web Apps, the MacBU announced last August that Outlook for Mac is coming to Office 2011, replacing Entourage. Outlook for Mac is a new application that leverages the Exchange Web Services protocol and is being built using Cocoa, allowing for improved integration with the Mac OS. Today we are also announcing that Outlook for Mac will import .PST files from Outlook for Windows — a top customer request." [Emphasis added by TMO.]
Finally, "Outlook for Mac features a reliable, high-speed, file-based database with Spotlight search and back-up support from Time Machine. Outlook for Mac also provides Information Rights Management to help prevent sensitive information from being distributed to or read by people who do not have your permission to access the content."
The MacBU said that Office 2011 for Mac will be available later this year. The Office for Mac team can be followed on Twitter ar @OfficeforMac and on Facebook at (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Office-For-Mac/272026096667).