Pros:Visual Basic Support
Outlook has returned with business domain support
Works better than older versions.
Cons:Lack of customizability
Lack of comparable features to Win Office 2010
Klugy toolbar interface
Lack of XML support
The Bottom Line: Buy this suite of programs because it's better than the old versions, but don't expect it to be the quality and standard of Win Office 2010.
There was a lot of secrecy surrounding the development of the Mac versions of Office 2011. It was impossible to sign up for beta testing and even the software underground seemed unable to get copies of the product. It was interesting that open beta testing was not allowed like it was for the Windows version, but there was a reason and I found that out when the software released and I got my copy.
Recommend this product?
I waited anxiously. I had already transitioned to Windows Office 2010 and because much of my work is done on the Mac, I needed that upgrade. According to Microsoft, this version of Office for the Mac was comparable to the Windows version. That was exciting, since I actually liked the Windows version and all of its features. It took a while to get used to, but once I did, it was very nice.
The day finallly arrived. Installation was easy with no problems whatsoever. The first app I opened was Word, the portion of Office I use the most. I looked at the interface. On the Windows version there are tabs across the top and when you click on those tabs, it opens a horizontal selection of features associated with each tab. Ok, so the tabs were there. They were more like little bars rather than actual tabls, but clicking on them worked the same as Windows. The horizontal feature set is actually called a Ribbon. On Windows, it's called the Fluent Ribbon. The Fluent term is because it is completely customizable. You can add and remove commands and you can even create custom tabs with sets of your most-used commands all located in one convenient place. Very Nice...at least on Windows.
I decided to customize a tab, but couldn't find where to do it. So I called Microsoft Support and was told that this feature was not available on the Mac. Excuse me? A feature as important as custom tab configuration? I asked why and the support person said that Mac Office was not developed completely by Microsoft--it was written by another company. This was a big disappointment because I really liked the customizability of Win Office.
Ok, I decided to check out the features and do a comparison with Win Office. Keep in mind that Microsoft had indicated this version was comparable to Win Office. I take comparable to mean "the same" with some interface difference because of the different platform. Win Office has a huge number of commands. You can add or subtract commands in your custom tabls. Unfortunately, I could not find the complete command list in Mac Office. I called Microsoft Support again and asked where they were. They didn't know. I asked to talk to someone who did. The next person I talked to indicated that those commands were not available on the Mac version. Excuse me? How can a company advertise a comparable version when much of the program is different.
This was the same for many of the other features. Some of the same options were there, but not all. My biggest gripe was the lack of customizability.
I continued my evaluation. In Win Office you can use XML to create custom tabs with your own commands. I had written one and decided to try and use it with the Mac version. It didn't load. I called Microsoft Support and was told that there was no XML support for that version.
This was the same for all the other apps in the Mac Office Suite. The customizability was simply not there. I can say that Microsoft did one positive thing. They added Visual Basic support back into the program. I was able to load apps written in VBA in the Mac. Previously, there was only Applescript support. Also, Outlook, although it does not have all the features that Win Outlook has, works very well and does work properly with company domains.
So, would I buy this suite of programs? Well, yes, because it does work better than the old versions. Am I disappointed? Extremely. I don't understand how Microsoft can advertive a comparable program and then put out something that is a much lower version.
If you use a Mac for work, you need Office 2011, but if you're a cross-platform person like I am, you'll find the program set lacking, compared to Win Office 2010.