Product: Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011
www.microsoft.com/mac Retail price: Starts at $99; volume licensing available.
By Carol S. Holzberg
Office for Mac Academic 2011 artfully blends the familiar
Office suite tools with several new features and improvements
to deliver a robust tool kit well worth the price of
Quality and Effectiveness: Important new components
for 21st-century students include support for collaborative
work through online cloud-based document sharing over
Microsoft Windows Live Drive or Microsoft SharePoint. In
Office 2011, you can also create and broadcast a PowerPoint
presentation to anyone anywhere over the Internet.
Designated viewers do not
have to have PowerPoint 2011
installed to see the slide show.
Embedded audio and video
content does not broadcast.
Links to online movies and
Web pages continue to work,
however, and viewers can
click those links to access
content outside the show.
Ease of Use: The userfriendly
interface of Office 2011 combines the best of
both Macintosh and Windows worlds. There’s a recognizable
collection of drop-down menus at the top of each
application window, the familiar Standard and Formatting
toolbars, plus a manageable Ribbon that replaces the old
Formatting Palette. Unlike Office apps for Windows, the
Ribbon interface in Office for Mac 2011 adds to rather than
replaces familiar features. For example, teachers will appreciate
being able to turn tracking on with two simple clicks
(Review tab/slide Track Changes to “on”).
Another ease-of-use feature is the new Word
Document Gallery for quick access to documents
and templates, like calendars, flyers, newsletters, and
posters. An improved Find and Replace command
now includes a search box on the Standard toolbar in addition
to a quick preview of text search matches in the search pane
of the sidebar to the left of the document window. Finally,
PowerPoint for Mac 2011 supports layers, offering more control
over the way objects such as text boxes, graphics, and
shapes are positioned on a PowerPoint slide.
Creative Use of Technology: The latest version
of Office supports Visual Basic scripting, enabling users
to record and edit time-saving macros and share them
across platforms. A new feature built into Outlook 2011 for
Macintosh lets users preview the contents of email using
Apple’s Quick Look capability. You can also choose to display
email messages grouped by threaded conversations,
so it’s easy to locate topic-related messages.
¦ The new Ribbon interface is
nonintrusive, as users can continue to
rely on familiar drop-down menus.
¦ Documents can be shared, viewed,
and edited online in a browser using
Microsoft Web apps and Windows Live.
¦ Compatibility across platforms for files
created in Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
and Outlook allow users to view and
edit documents regardless of which
application created them.
Office 2011 for Macintosh makes sense in school settings
where students are encouraged to collaborate on
projects or complete work assignments outside class.
Applications load quicker. Files created in Office 2011
are fully compatible with files created in Office 2010
for Windows, so users can complete work assignments
regardless of the platform that does the work.