Product Type: Microsoft in Office Suites
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MS Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition
Member Name: f1ndl0w
MS Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition
Advantages: It's office, so advertised as "the" way to work with office documents on your Mac.
Disadvantages: Very buggy & unreliable ... far better alternatives.
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 Exposť 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.
Summary: Take a look at OpenOffice.org & iWork '09 before you commit to the traditional Office.
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