• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Introduction > A New Day at the Office

A New Day at the Office

To say that Microsoft Office is the world's most frequently-used software application is the understatement of the century. In most Mac- or Windows-based corporations, anyone not using Office is considered a weirdo.

So when Apple announced Mac OS X, Microsoft began rewriting the four big, attractive, sophisticated computer programs that make up Microsoft Office for the Macintosh: Word (a word processor), Excel (a spreadsheet application), PowerPoint (a slide-show program), and Entourage (a calendar/email/address book program). These Office programs were some of the first major ones to appear in Carbonized form (that is, adapted for Mac OS X), making it possible for millions of Mac users to start spending most of their time in Mac OS X.

Microsoft Scores a X

So why is Office considered a Mac OS X program? Here are some of the ways that Carbonization makes itself known in Office X:

  • Office X looks like the rest of Mac OS X. Scroll bars and other controls appear in that soothing, shimmering blue color. The Formatting Palette (Section 3.1) "genies" its way out of the Standard toolbar when you click its button. Furthermore, when you've minimized an Office document to the Dock, choosing it from the Window menu genies it back out again.

  • As in most Mac OS X programs, Office's Open dialog boxes and Save dialog boxes (now called sheets) have a new column view, similar to Mac OS X Finder windows (see Figure I-1). They also offer options that let you convert documents in other formats from other programs.

  • In one of Office X's most highly touted features, its drawing and picture editing tools take advantage of Apple's new Quartz graphics technology. If your copy of Office is up to date (Office Up to Date), your everyday word processing text shows up with softened, smooth, antialiased edges.


Although you can apply Mac OS X-style transparency effects to images in Word and PowerPoint, as well as to charts in Excel, the transparency doesn't always show up in printouts (Section 13.2.9).

Figure I-1. Burrowing down through folders is easier than ever in Office X, thanks to the horizontal scroll bar in the Open dialog box. Another timesaver is the From pop-up menu, which contains a list of the most-used and recently-used folders. The Add to Favorites button places documents in the Favorites menu, also shown here—another standard Mac OS X feature that can pay off when you're working in Office X.

More Integrated Than Ever

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint started out as individual, disparate programs. Starting with Office 2001, Microsoft began to design the programs of the suite as a cohesive whole. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint started to look and work more alike, and even share each other's components. For example:

  • In your Entourage email, you can now use Word features like AutoCorrect and AutoFormat for bulleted lists and other fancy formatting.

  • The names and addresses entered in Entourage become AutoText entries in Word, so that you can type just a few letters of a person's name to paste in the full address when typing up a letter. In fact, the Contact toolbar lets you select, find, update, and use contacts in any Office program, without even launching Entourage.

  • Any text, picture, or table that you select can be dragged-and-dropped from any Office application into any other—or even to the desktop. If you've ever needed to put clip art in a spreadsheet, here's your chance.

  • Office X has an abundance of drawing tools and picture editing tools (red-eye removal, cropping, and so on) in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

  • The Office Clipboard is another one of those "why didn't they think of it before?" features. Finally, you can copy or cut items to a multiple-capacity clipboard and then paste them—one by one or all at once—into any Office document.

  • By clicking a new flag icon on Word, Entourage, Excel, and PowerPoint toolbars, you can set up onscreen reminders that get added to the Entourage calendar. When the time comes, a dialog box appears on the screen to remind you when to follow up on a specific document or project.

    Having it Your Way

    In the beginning, not many people bought Office X for Macintosh. Sales were far below Microsoft's expectations. Soon enough, a war of words heated up between Apple and Microsoft.

    Apple claimed that the reason for the slow sales was that Microsoft had priced Office much too high ($500). Microsoft claimed that the reason was slow adoption of Mac OS X—and that was Apple's fault.

    Following a period of public-relations tension, both sides backed down. Apple began assisting with the dissemination of Office X (by including a "test drive" version on every Mac), and Microsoft began to experiment with lower prices.

    Starting in August, 2003 Microsoft reduced the price of Office X across the board and started offering, for the first time, standard and pro versions. Here are your options:

    Standard Edition. The basic suite of four programs discussed in this book: Word, Excel, Power Point, and Entourage, plus perks like Windows Media Player and Microsoft Graph. (This book covers these freebies, as well, in Chapter 18.) The whole lot goes for $400. If you own a copy of Office 2001 or Office 98, you can save even more money; an upgrade sets you back only $240. (Prices are even lower if you shop online.)

    Professional Edition. The same as Standard, with one major addition: Virtual PC for Mac, a Windows PC emulator developed by a company called Connectix, which Microsoft purchased in 2003. (Presumably, Microsoft named it "professional" under the assumption that professionals are more likely to need to use Windows programs on their Macs.)

    Professional Edition costs $500 (Virtual PC by itself costs $250). There's just one hitch: Virtual PC doesn't include the Windows operating system itself. You have to buy your own copy of Windows before you can run actual Windows programs.

    Note: If you're thinking of buying the Professional Edition so you can play Windows-based games on your Mac, think twice. Not only do you have to buy Windows, which will run you a couple hundred more dollars, but your games will run a lot slower than on an actual Windows PC.

    Student Edition. Same as Standard, but only costs $149 if you're a teacher, student, or the parent of a student.

  • A single spelling checker looks over your Word essays, Excel spreadsheets, Power Point slide shows, and even Entourage email.

  • You can now scan or import digital camera images directly into any of the programs.

  • The new Project Gallery lets you start a new Word, Excel, Entourage, or PowerPoint document from within any of the other programs.

Rather than marketing the programs individually, Microsoft pushes the Office suite for the same reason that there's one Missing Manual that covers all four programs: If you use only one of the Office programs without the others, you miss out on a lot of timesaving shortcuts.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint