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Office software Reviews
15,449 Reviews

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac review

£99.95 (Student edition)

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Instead of drastically rethinking its Office suite, Microsoft has focused - mostly successfully - on making what's already there more accessible and easier to use. If there were features in Word, Excel or PowerPoint that you never knew about or just couldn't figure out how to use, chances are Office 2008 will either help you find them or help you use them.

It has been almost four years since the last revision of Microsoft Office for the Mac, and Macintosh users can be forgiven for getting a little impatient. We heard all the buzz about the radical interface makeover for Office 2007 for Windows, and we wondered what user-interface goodies might be waiting for us.

While we waited, alternatives presented themselves. Apple's Pages, part of the company's iWork '08 suite that arrived last autumn, challenges the standard conception of word processing by blending in a generous helping of page layout. And open-source suites such as NeoOffice have duplicated and gone beyond what Microsoft Office has to offer.

After all that, what would the granddaddy of office suites have in store?

Microsoft Word 2008 review

Microsoft Excel 2008 review

Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 review

Microsoft Entourage 2008 review

Well, it's safe to say that no one will really be startled by the way Office 2008 has turned out. The weight of history is too great to allow any really radical changes. There are established expectations of what users should be able to do with the programs, legacy documents that need to be able to opened and a world of Windows Office users whom Mac users need to exchange files with.

As a result, instead of drastically rethinking its Office suite, Microsoft has focused - mostly successfully - on making what's already there more accessible and easier to use. If there were features in Word, Excel or PowerPoint that you never knew about or just couldn't figure out how to use, chances are Office 2008 will either help you find them or help you use them.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Expert Verdict »
A Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500 MHz or faster) processor
Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later
512MB of RAM or more
1.5GB of available hard disk space
HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS Extended or HFS Plus)
DVD drive or connection to a local area network (if installing over a network)
1024x768 or higher resolution-monitor
Entourage and certain features require internet access (fees may apply). For Office 2008 for Mac and Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Editions: Connectivity to Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 or later is required for certain advanced functionality in Entourage 2008
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 6 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

From some angles, the overall question of whether you should upgrade to Office 2008 is a no-brainer. Office 2008 is as close as you can get to a universal app, and all of the changes I explored are improvements or at least potentially worthwhile additions - why not get it? Well, maybe you've never needed compatibility with Office and have found alternative programs you like better, or you're perfectly happy with one of the open-source alternatives (or you just hate Microsoft). Certainly, if you've been able to get by all this time without Office, there's little reason to buy the 2008 version. But if you do use Office, plan on getting Office 2008. I'd recommend waiting until you get an Intel Mac if you haven't yet, because of the performance hit you'll take compared with Office 2004 on a PowerPC Mac. But aside from that caveat, you'll find that Office 2008 helps you get your work done more quickly and easily than before. You're also likely to start using features that were always there but were too much trouble to bother with, such as using alternating coloured rows in your tables or graphical presentations of ideas on your slides.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Microsoft Word 2008

    Word gets several major enhancements in Office 2008, the first version of Microsoft’s productivity suite to run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs.

  • Microsoft Excel 2008

    Despite the long wait for a new version, when you launch Excel 2008, you’ll see what appears to be a slightly re-skinned version of Excel 2004 - or even of Excel v.X.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2011 review

    Microsoft PowerPoint 2011

    Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac 2011 remedies earlier shortcomings by combining compelling new features with a revamped interface that makes it easier than before to develop dazzling presentations quickly.

  • Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac beta

    Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac beta

    Microsoft has just begun to issue Beta versions of the next iteration of its Office for Mac software to testers, and claims that it’s still on track to release the new version of its productivity software in January next year. We took a look at Microsoft's next-generation Office software for Apple Macs - here's our review.

  • Ashampoo Presentations 2008 review

    Ashampoo Presentations 2008

    Ashampoo Presentations offers most of Microsoft PowerPoint's functionality, at a fraction of the price. Ashampoo Presentations forms part of the Ashampoo Office suite.


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