All-new user interface coming for Office 2007 for Mac

“Microsoft’s next-gen Office suite for the Mac is being given a top-to-toe refit in readiness for its debut in the third quarter of 2007,” David Flynn reports for APC Magazine.

“On the surface is a revised interface which borrows ideas from the Office 2007 for Windows ‘ribbon’ and has already been radically changed due to user feedback. The new versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will all adopt the native XML file formats of their Windows siblings,” Flynn reports. “And, the program is of course being rebuilt as an Intel-friendly Universal Binary application.”

Flynn reports that Mary Starman, group product manager for Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU), said, “‘Typically we release about 6-8 months after Windows Office, and they’ve announced general availability in the January timeframe, so we would be 6-8 months after that.’ If her timetable holds firm, the program that will likely be christened as ‘Office 2007′ will touch down between July and September of 2007 — around three and a half years since the arrival of Office 2004 in March of that year.”

“’We will be doing a UI refresh,’ Starman confirms, ‘but it won’t be exactly like you see in Office 2007. It just wouldn’t make sense. Apple has got their own very specific set of user interface guidelines and we try to first and foremost to follow those guidelines. If we can innovate on top of that and do some interesting things to make sure that the interface is really discoverable for the Mac user, then we’ll look at doing that. We can get some ideas (from the ribbon) but it still has to fit within Apple’s UI guideline, that’s what a Mac user wants to see’ Starman says,” Flynn reports.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Free NeoOffice 2.0 Aqua Beta 3 now available – August 28, 2006
Microsoft commits to Mac Office for at least another five years – January 10, 2006
Mac users should not buy Microsoft software (or hardware) – May 16, 2003

42 Comments

  1. Office for the Mac in the third quarter of 2007? If this estimate is anything like the promised coming of Vista, think second quarter of 2012. I won’t get too excited just yet. Besides, Apple should have a more refined and integrated suite of apps to compete with Office. Right, Apple?

  2. What does it mean to say an interface is “discoverable”?

    Office 2007 for Mac will be compatible with Office 2007 for Windows. What about with other programs or even other versions of Office?

    After all, MicroSoft is all about choice.

  3. I am a die hard M$ Office fan. Like most things Apple, it just works. It also had great compatibility with the dark side. The price is sure offensive, but hey, I will always pay for quality.

    I am glad to see that the Mac BU within M$ is adhering to the Apple way of doing things. But late 2007 is too long for my tastes.

  4. All I care about is:
    – In all apps group my fonts. I keep all 48 weights of Helvetica Neue open at all times. Most programs just group all the weights together. Except Office.
    – Integrate all Apps with the MacOS X dictionary
    – Update the fonts that ship with MacOffice to OpenType fonts
    – Better HTML formatting within an Entourage message
    – Let Entouage open/save PST files just as easily as Outlook without using the import hack
    – Let Entourage support CalDAV
    – Speed up rules processing in Entourage
    – Eliminate the bug in Entourage that causes the mail cache to blow-up
    – Make it easier to freeze header rows in Excel
    – Make easier to insert carriage returns inside a Excel cell
    – Am I the only one who thinks that Word 5.1 was better than the current Word?
    – Is there anything that can be done in PowerPoint that I can’t do better using the Adobe Creative Suite?
    – I just hope M$ open sources the Access file format like they’re doing with Word/XL/PP so I could open an unencrypted MDB with any better DB program.

  5. > If we can innovate on top of that and do some interesting things

    The only times I don’t lauch when I hear the word “innovate” come from Microsoft is when it’s from the MacBU. They do an outstanding job supporting the Mac platform from within Microsoft. I hope they get to keep their iPods at work, since it’s not possible for them to get “zuned.”

  6. “What does it mean to say an interface is “discoverable”?”

    It’s one of the basic foundations of the Mac OS Interface. It’s also partly why Apple insists on a one button mouse (or nowadays a two button mouse that the developers have to assume can also be used as a one button mouse).

    Discoverabilty means that the use should be able to “play” with the interface to a fair degree and discover, just by using it, how stuff works. This means a very consistent user interface across applications, and not just throwing everything into the context menu system like Windows does.

    When you first start using OS X you figure out how something works say in itunes, and you later open up MS word or some game and find things like menus and drag and drop and other things in the same places and working the sameway.
    So when you install a new program, before you even open the box, you already have a fair amount of experience using elements of it.

    That is Discoverability. Thats is what makes the Mac a Mac and everything.. well NOT.

  7. It’s aslo good that the MacBU isnt rushing Office ’07 to market actually.
    Redmond may be slow as molasses to bring packaged hell to the masses, but the MacBU is another fish entirely, and shouldnt be blamed for its parents sins. They have a solid reputation amongst the Mac community taking the parent company’s offerings and then outclassing them. The fact the MacBu (last i heard) is just down the road from Apple HQ in cupertino says exactly which camp they are in.

    I bet they don’t get invited to the Company Christmas Party to the north. The fifth column rarely gets thats priviledge. They may be tied to mothers apron springs
    but this little sibling of Microsoft is tainted with genes from the better side of the family. Keep up the good work MacBu (if it wasnt for you I bet MS wouldnt have any profits to report).

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