No Plans to Make Office 2011 for Mac Retina Display Compatible

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Office for Mac 2011 No Retina Support

Microsoft has no plans to update most of the apps in the company’s Office for Mac 2011 productivity suite to support “retina” resolutions, the Office for Mac team confirmed last week on the Office for Mac blog. Only Outlook for Mac 2011 will be able to take advantage of the higher resolution.

Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is changing the way Mac users view their applications. At a stunningly high resolution of 2880-by-1800 (displayed ultra-smooth at a 1440-by-900 equivalent resolution), apps on the new MacBook Pro look amazing. But each app must be individually updated by the developer to support the resolution.

Apps that aren’t updated are pixel doubled and scaled up to compensate, resulting in a fuzzy and blurry image. It appears that Office for Mac 2011 users, who had been stuck with this fuzzy look since the computer’s launch in June, will remain so until the next major release of Office.

“Outlook for Mac 2011 already supports Retina Display and the remaining apps will have the same viewing quality as on any non-Retina device. Unfortunately at this time, we cannot comment on any future updates regarding supporting Retina on Word, Excel or PowerPoint,” the Office for Mac team posted in the comments section of the Office for Mac blog.

Microsoft has at least updated the suite, along with its predecessor Office for Mac 2008, to be compatible with OS X Mountain Lion. Users of the office software running Mountain Lion should run Microsoft’s Auto Update utility to ensure they have the latest version.

With the likely rumor that Apple is working to bring its entire computing line to “retina” equivalent resolutions, individuals considering Office should be wary of investing in the software if it will not be fully compatible with future Mac displays. While the next version of Office for Windows is close to release, Microsoft has made no mention of its plans for the next version of Office for Mac.

[via Macworld UK]

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I’m not defending Microsoft at all.  They should upgrade their apps.  They won’t, since that would make the Mac apps better than the Windows apps. 

However, to call the non-retina apps “fuzzy and blurry” is a disservice. They look the same as they do on a 1440x900 display, which looked ok BEFORE we saw a retina display.  When I looked at the new MacBook Pro with Retina at an Apple store, they didn’t look any worse than on a non-retina display.  However, once you compare them to a retina optimized app, they look worse.

I wish people would get real and say “non-retina optimized apps look the same as they do on non-retina displays.”  They look fuzzier than retina apps, for sure, but not “fuzzy and blurry”.


iWork was optimized for the MacBook Pro’s Retina Display and all of Mountain Lion’s advanced features on day one. It also costs 40% as much as Office 2011, and reads/writes Office files.

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