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Beware: Mac Office issues with Mac OS Lion

- July 27th, 2011

If you’re a user of Microsoft Office for Mac then you best be aware that there are some issues associated with running it under Mac OS Lion. According to a Microsoft support document, although Microsoft has been working with Apple prior to the new OS release, there are still a number of unresolved issues, some of which are in the process of being fixed; others are being reviewed with no expected date of repair and sadly some have virtually no easy solution.

First of all, if you run Mac Office 2004 and are not prepared to move up to either Mac Office 2008 or Office for Mac 2011 you better hold off installing the new operating system. Mac Office 2004 is a PowerPC-based application and since Lion no longer supports Rosetta, you just won’t be able to launch it.

I personally run Entourage 2004 on an earlier Intel Mac – of course one of many machines I use, and I discovered by reading some of the forums and threads online that there are apparently quite a few people still running that version.  I guess if need be, one can leave it running on that old machine for now (it’s not Lion compatible either), move it to Office 2011 or even the new Apple Mail, as a few possibilities. Alternately one could create a secondary boot partition.

Office 2004’s incompatibility is the first main issue Microsoft says, that they are aware of.  The other, is with Communicator for Mac. This won’t affect everyone, since it’s a corporate product and not an application you’ll find in the consumer releases. In any event, according to a post in the Office for Mac blog, this will be fixed with an upcoming application update.

Office Mac 2008 & 2011

There are few issues that affect both 2008 and 2011 versions and some in different ways.

In Entourage 2008 and Outlook 2011, Microsoft acknowledges you can’t properly import mail from Apple Mail. According to that same blog post, they’re reviewing this issue, but actually don’t have a plan to fix it. REALLY?

In both Word & Excel in both 2008 & 2011 versions, dates may show the year as 2 digits instead of 4.

In Excel 2008, MS Query will not run. It will however, run only on the English version of Excel 2011.

In PowerPoint 2008 & 2011, the application may crash if you are in Presenter View and use command + tab to open another app.  Also, exiting a slideshow in full-screen mode may cause some windows to act erratically.

It been reported that there a few cosmetic issues with screen redrawing using reference tools, labels not appearing on charts and challenges with proper operation of the Equations Editor.

Only Office Mac 2011 a Priority

Of course how Microsoft acts or responds to some of these issues may be a function of time and how loud their customers cry.  In the meantime they do say that we should see “a few updates” for Office 2008. but actually admit that their 1st priority is Office for Mac 2011.

Glad to hear an honest comment.

Mac OS Lion Features in Office

As I mentioned in a last week’s Mac OS Lion Hands-On Review, new features like Versions, Autosave and Full-screen are not supported  in all non-Apple products unless they were designed to do so. However, I want to point out that Word 2011 does already have a full-screen mode. I mention this since in a few threads as well as in feedback left at the App Store, people have made reference to no full-screen feature in Word, but there is. It’s not Apple’s version, but it is fullscreen nonetheless.

Now while I don’t consider myself a heavy-duty Office user, I have not experienced any huge issues of course except for the Mac Office 2004 issue, which I had already known about and on 1 or 2 occasions since the upgrade had the spinning ball and had to force quit my work.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg

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