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After buying my Macbook and trying the free trial of IWorks (Apples version of office), I decided that i wanted to stick with Microsoft Office. As Microsoft Office is what was used on all the computers at school, I am familiar with this package and will be able to use it a lot better than I could use IWorks. I also prefer the way that this program looks, its all very formal and professional, and all the tools and functions are laid out very nicely.
The location of many of the tools and functions is different in the Office for Mac. This can be quite confusing to start with, and you will have to hunt around for a bit to find the thing your looking for. There is a manual provided in the box which can help you get to know the programs, also there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet.
The programs that come with the home and student package are Ms Word, Ms Powerpoint, Ms Excel, Ms Entourage and Ms Messenger. These are all easy to install, just insert the disk, agree to terms and conditions and then away you go!
Microsoft Word is a word processing package. This program is easy to use on windows and even easier on Mac, because everything is laid out far more simply and makes it easier and quicker to use. The tool bar appears as a separate window so you can drag and drop it wherever suits you best, so it's out of the way and easy to access.
The Microsoft Powerpoint is a piece of presentation software. This one is more similar to the windows version than the Ms Word. It still uses the detached tool bar, which is even more handy to move in this program I find. This program is easy and quick to use, making presentations is enjoyable with this program.
Microsoft Excel is a Spreadsheet piece of software. This was the main thing that i did not like about this Office package. I find it so much harder than the windows version to use, as they have changed it quite a bit. Its so hard to find all the tools (which in Excel there is a lot) and to make the page appear the way you want it. They should have kept this program more similar to the windows version, which can be confusing enough as it is.
I have not used Entourage, mainly because I have never heard of it or know what it does. When I feel brave enough to try it, I will update this review.
The version of messenger is very basic on the Mac and does not have webcam or video calls. This was a big disappointment as the Macbook has such a great built in iSight. It does look good though and couldn't be easier to use!
So overall I really like this package, and use it on a very regular basis. Also as i got it for a cheap student price of £35, I am very happy! Only disappointments were with Excel and Messengers lack of webcam use.
Office 2008 is Mac's equivalent of Office 2007 (for windows), by the name of the software you can see that it was released about a year after it's window's counterpart, but despite this extra development time I feel that it still doesn't appear to be a completed product. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase my copy using an education discount, meaning it was only £35. Had it cost anymore I would not have purchased, since there are plenty of superior & free options out there (OpenOffice.org).
Word is probably the application which I use most often, it is distinctly different from the window's version, so newcomers to it may initially be a bit put-off by this strange new interface, although once you get used to it I find it more intuitive than the "ribbon" in Office '07. But, despite this, it doesn't feel completely "Mac". It is hard to explain, but if you try out iWork '09 (Apple's own office suite) then you will know what I mean ... Microsoft's efforts don't seem to blend in with the elegancy of OS X, with toolbars ending up all over the place, not unified with the rest of the computer.
Excel has a quirky little feature whereby it split's up the worksheet into A4 pages. Which, is useful when you have a document that you wish to print, but when working with large set's of data (i.e. to create a graph) it's a right old pain, I have been unable to find anywhere to turn this "feature" off, other than a workaround whereby if you open a document created with the windows version then all is normal. Other than this Excel is substantially better than Word, it seems to have the Mac "just work" along with Apple's nice interface, still not perfect ... but it'll do.
I haven't had much use for PowerPoint, although when I have used it I have found it similar to it's windows counterpart, although along with the common "Toolbox", other than that it would make a pretty nice piece of software.
Overall I'm not too impressed with this software, for the following reasons. Firstly that it is awfully slow. I expect for Word to open near-instantly to let me start working straight away, instead I have a silly little splash screen telling me what I have chosen to open; given that most other applications on my Mac are able to open quickly, I'd expect a "simple" word processor to be able to do the same. Secondly all applications have what is called the "Toolbox", a small window that allows for you to control the formatting of your document, very useful, but when you launch Exposé it becomes lost, and seems to just confuse your computer.
Another point is updates, I seem to be running an out-of date version of Office, with a "critical" update available to download, but when I try to install this update it is rejected by telling me that I do not have Office installed ... very confusing to me, and since I do not want the hassle of re-installing everything I will have to live with it.
Finally, Microsoft's dreaded anti-piracy measures ... Activation. Throughout the installer there seems to be no mention of it (I didn't bother to read the ToS), but every now and again (with Mac firewall) enabled a little dialog appears telling me that a Microsoft application is requesting a network connection. I am running a perfectly legal copy and do not want some computer to tell me that, so every time I have denied it (and it won't go away). So what I assume is that Office is trying to activate, but I am blocking it's connection. This is something which annoys me about software in general (not just Microsoft), Apple (and many others) are capable of creating excellent software without bugging the genuine people who purchase software to "activate" or "authenticate" it, it's one little problem, but I thing that it is very annoying that companies feel the need to track everything that we are doing now based on anti-piracy laws.
I've had my Mac laptop for nearly a year and was worried when I first got it how I would do my work. The programs on the laptop are not as easy to use, especially when you have only ever used Windows. Then I found that you can get Windows programs on the MacBook so I bought it. It was fairly expensive but the advantages definitely outweigh the cost. You can put the software on three seperate machines from the one package which is useful. All the main Windows programs are included, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint. As a student I use Word and Power Point and have no problems with using them. At first they are slightly different to the programs on a Windows PC, however it doesn't take long to get used to it. I know have problems when using a Windows PC. All the programs have the same features and in my opinion, even look better on the Mac. I would definitely recommend this product for anyone using an Apple machine and having problems with applications.