Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
Microsoft office 2008 logo.png
Office 2008.png
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac applications
: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage; plus Word Publishing Layout and Word Notebook Layout views.
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release January 15, 2008 (2008-01-15)
Stable release 12.3.1 / September 13, 2011; 2 months ago (2011-09-13)
Written in Carbon
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Office suite
License Proprietary EULA

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is a version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite for Mac OS X. It supersedes Office 2004 for Mac (which did not have Intel native code) and is the Mac OS X equivalent of Office 2007. Office 2008 was developed by Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit and released on January 15, 2008. Office 2008 was the last version of Office for Mac to support Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.9 or higher) and Macs with a PowerPC processor (G4 or higher) as well as newer Macs with Intel processors [1]. Office 2008 was followed by Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 released on October 26, 2010, requiring a Mac with an Intel processor and the version 10.5 Mac OS X Leopard or 10.6 Mac OS X Snow Leopard of the Apple OS X operating system. Office 2008 is also the last version to feature Entourage, which was be replaced by Outlook in Office 2011.



Office 2008 was originally slated for release in the second half of 2007; however, it was delayed until January 2008, purportedly to allow time to fix lingering bugs.[2] Office 2008 is the first version of Office for Mac supplied as a Universal Binary.

Unlike Office 2007 for Windows, Office 2008 was not offered as a public beta before its scheduled release date.[3]


Office 2008 for Mac includes the same core programs currently included with Office 2004 for Mac: Entourage, Excel, PowerPoint and Word.

Mac-only features included are a publishing layout view, which offers functionality similar to Microsoft Publisher for Windows, a "Ledger Sheet mode" in Excel to ease financial tasks, and a "My Day" application offering a quick way to view the day's events.[4]

Office 2008 supports the new Office Open XML format, and defaults to saving all files in this format. On February 21, 2008 Geoff Price revealed that the format conversion update for Office 2004 would be delayed until June 2008 in order to provide the first update to Office 2008.[5]

Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications is not supported in this version.[6] As a result such Excel add-ins dependent on VBA, such as Solver, have not been bundled in the current release.[7] In June 2008, Microsoft announced that it is exploring the idea of bringing some of the functionality of Solver back to Excel.[8] In late August 2008, Microsoft announced that a new Solver for Excel 2008 was available as a free download from Frontline Systems, original developers of the Excel Solver.[9][10] However, Excel 2008 also lacks other functionality, such as Pivot Chart functionality, which has long been a feature in the Windows version. In May 2008, Microsoft announced that VBA will be making a return in the next version of Microsoft Office for Mac.[11] AppleScript and the Open Scripting Architecture will still be supported.


Error message in Microsoft Excel showing features that are not supported

Office 2008 for Mac lacks feature parity with the Windows version. The lack of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support in Excel makes it impossible to use macros programmed in VBA. Microsoft's response is that adding VBA support in Xcode would have resulted in an additional two years added to the development cycle of Office 2008.[12] Other unsupported features include: OMML equations generated in Word 2007 for Windows,[13] Office "Ribbon", Mini Toolbar, Live Preview, and an extensive list of features are unsupported such as equivalent SharePoint integration with the Windows version. Some features are missing on Excel 2008 for Mac, including: data filters (Data Bars, Top 10, Color-based, Icon-based), structured references, Excel tables, Table styles, a sort feature allowing more than three columns at once and more than one filter on a sort.

Benchmarks suggest that the original release of Office 2008 runs slower on Macs with PowerPC processors, and does not provide a significant speed bump for Macs with Intel processors.[14]

A data-compatibility problem has also been noted with CambridgeSoft's chemical structure drawing program, ChemDraw. Word 2008 does not retain the structural information when a chemical structure is copied from ChemDraw and pasted into a document. If a structure is recopied from a Word 2008 document, and is pasted back into ChemDraw, it appears as a non-editable image rather than a recognized chemical structure. There is no such problem in Word 2004 or X.[15] This issue has not been fixed in the SP2 (version 12.2.0, released in July 2009).

On May 13, 2008, Microsoft released Office 2008 Service Pack 1 as a free update. However, there have been many reports of the updater failing to install, resulting in a message saying that an updatable version of Office 2008 was not found.[16] This appears to be related to users modifying the contents of the Microsoft Office folder in ways which do not cause problems with most other software (such as "localizing" using a program to remove application support files in unwanted languages), and which do not affect Office's operations, but which cause the updaters' installers to believe that the application is not valid for update. A small modification to the installer has been found an effective work-around (see reference).[17]

Another widespread problem reported after SP1 is that Office files will no longer open in Office applications when opened (double-clicked) from the Mac OS X Finder or launched from other applications such as an email attachment. The trigger for this problem is that Microsoft in SP1 unilaterally and without warning deprecated certain older Mac OS 'Type' codes such as "WDBN" that some files may have, either because they are simply very old, or because some applications assign the older Type code when saving them to the disk. Users have seen the problem affect even relatively new Type codes, however, such as 'W6BN'. Microsoft is apparently looking into the problem, but it is unclear if they will reinstate the older Type codes, citing security concerns.[18]

Another problem with cross-platform compatibility is that images inserted into any Office application by using either cut and paste or drag and drop result in a file that does not display the inserted graphic when viewed on a Windows machine. Instead, the Windows user is told "QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture". A user presented one solution as far back as December 2004.[19]

A further example of the lack of feature parity is the track changes function. Whereas users of Word 2003 or 2007 for Windows are able to choose freely between showing their changes in-line or as balloons in the right-hand margin,[20][21] choosing the former option in Word 2004 or Word 2008 for Mac OS also turns off all comment balloons; comments in this case are visible only in the Reviewing Pane or as popup boxes (i.e. upon mouseover).[22] This issue has not been resolved to date and is present in the latest version of Word for the Mac, namely Word 2011. [23]

The toolbox found in Office 2008 also has problems when the OS X feature Spaces is used: switching from one Space to another will cause elements of the Toolbox to get trapped on one Space until the Toolbox is closed and reopened. The only remedy for this problem is to currently disable Spaces, or at least refrain from using it whilst working in Office 2008.[24] Microsoft has acknowledged this problem and states that it is an architectural problem with the implementation of Spaces. Apple has been informed of the problem, according to Microsoft.[25] The problem appears to be caused by the fact that the Toolbox is Carbon-based.[citation needed] Using Microsoft Office with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard solves some of the problems.[25]

In addition, there is no support for right to left and bidirectional languages (such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, etc.) in Office 2008,[26][27] making it impossible to read or edit a right to left document in Word 2008 or PowerPoint 2008. Languages such as Thai are similarly not supported, although installing fonts can sometimes allow documents written in these languages to be displayed.

Moreover, Office 2008 proofing tools support only a limited number of languages (Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss German).[28] Proofing tools for other languages failed to find their way to the installation pack, and are not offered by Microsoft commercially in the form of separately sold language packs. At the same time, Office applications are not integrated with the proofing tools native to Mac OS X 10.6 Leopard.

Microsoft Visio is not available for Mac. This means that not only are Visio documents not editable on the Mac, but also any embedded Visio diagrams in other Office documents (e.g. Word) cannot be rendered on the Mac. Embedded Visio diagrams appear as a low-quality bitmap both in the WYSIWYG editor and upon printing the document on the Mac.


Applications and services Home & Student Standard Business Edition Special Media Edition
Word Included Included Included Included
PowerPoint Included Included Included Included
Excel Included Included Included Included
Entourage Included Included Included Included
Exchange Server support Not included Included Included Included
Automator Actions Not included Included Included Included
Office Live and SharePoint support Not included Not included Included Not included
Expression Media Not included Not included Not included Included

See also


  1. ^ Macintouch Special Reports, Microsoft Office 2008 (Review), §-Compatibility, by Robert Mohns, January 23, 2008
  2. ^ "It's Coming: Mac BU Announces Intent to Deliver Office 2008 for Mac". Microsoft. 9 January 2007. 
  3. ^ "Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac delayed until January 2008". TUAW. August 2, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Microsoft starts testing Office 2008 for Mac". Cnet. 02 April 2007.,239035383,339274629,00.htm. 
  5. ^ "MS Office Mac Discussion Board". 2008-01-15. 
  6. ^ "Saying goodbye to Visual Basic". 2006-08-08. 
  7. ^ "MS Office Mac Discussion Board". 2008-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Excel 2008 and Solver". 2008-06-26. 
  9. ^ "Solver For Excel 2008 Is Available". 2008-08-29. 
  10. ^ "Solver is Back for Microsoft Excel 2008 on Macintosh". 2008-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Microsoft Office Update, and Visual Basic for Applications to Return - Mac Rumors". 2008-05-13. 
  12. ^ "MS Mactopia Blog". 2008-03-13. 
  13. ^ Known issues in Word 2008 – Equations saved from Word 2007 for Windows do not appear in Word 2008 for Mac
  14. ^ "MS Mactopia Blog". 2008-03-13. 
  15. ^ "CambridgeSoft Website". 
  16. ^ New installer for 12.0.1 (The Entourage Help Blog)
  17. ^ MacFixit article: More Fixes for Problems Installing
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "IT training - IT training - IT Services - Administrative and academic support divisions - Services and divisions - Staff and students - Home". 2010-05-07. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^
  24. ^ Bugs & Fixes: Office 2008 and Leopard’s Spaces don’t mix, Macworld, 2008-12-08
  25. ^ a b Office 2008 for Mac and Mac OS X Spaces, Microsoft
  26. ^ Help and How-To for Microsoft for Mac Office Products | Mactopia
  27. ^ Higgaion » It’s official: no RTL support in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac
  28. ^ Proofing tools that are available for each language

External links

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