Category Archives: Office:Mac 2011

Macworld: Make a smooth switch to Outlook

Joe Kissell wrote an article about how to make a smooth switch to Outlook from Entourage for Macworld.  He also published a guide to Outlook keyboard shortcuts.  They’re both pretty useful articles, although I have to admit that I’ve been using Outlook for so long that my muscle memory has been reprogrammed for changed keyboard shortcuts for ages.

I am surprised that he calls Outlook’s Scheduling Assistant a new feature.  While the Entourage one wasn’t as easy on the eyes, nor as easy to use, as the Outlook one, it did exist.  My colleague Amir wrote a blog post titled How does Entourage work? that includes a screenshot of the free/busy information that’s provided by the scheduling assistant in Entourage.

Joe’s list of Entourage features that you might miss includes NNTP support.  Even though I’m an old-skool Usenet user myself, I can’t say that I preferred having it in Entourage to using a separate client.  That said, my preferred Usenet newsreader is still tin, so I think it’s fair to say that my usage isn’t representative.  Not that I’m sure that there’s really any representative Usenet usage left out there.

looking forward to Exchange Connections

Amongst everything else that’s going on in the past few weeks, I realise that I’ve completely forgotten to mention that I’m speaking at the Exchange Connections conference!  I roped Bill Smith, one of the Outlook:Mac MVPs, into giving two talks with me: Administering Macs in an Exchange Environment, and Outlook:Mac 101.  Both talks are on Thursday morning.

Sadly, this is a super-busy week for me, so I’m not going to be able to spend as much time at the conference as I had originally planned.  If you’re there, say hi!  Feel free to email me, or just catch me on twitter for my current whereabouts.

the design of the new Office:Mac icons

Along with all of the other changes, Office:Mac is sporting new icons for all of the applications.  We worked with Frog Design to create these visual elements.  Frog posted about redesigning an icon to talk about what went into creating the new app icons, and Fast Company Design has a discussion of it too: How Frog created the Mac icons for Microsoft Office 2011.

App icons are important.  They’re one of the first things that you see when you install an application.  They live in your Dock, and you see them every day.  It’s important to get ’em right, and I think that Frog did an awesome job.  I’m terribly biased, but I especially like that lovely goldenrod O that has been a constant companion in my Dock for months.

Office:Mac 2011 is available in stores today!

Today is an awesome awesome day, for Office:Mac 2011 is now available at your favourite local Apple retailer.  I’m in an airport right now, but I’m going to see if I can make some time to check out an Apple Store to see my product on their store shelves.

If you don’t have your copy yet, you can purchase and download it online from us.  The Apple Store and other retail stores have it today, and the fine folks at Amazon are happy to set you up too (either the single-license or three-license version of Home and Student Edition, or the single-license or two-license version of Home and Business Edition — and since you simply must have Outlook:Mac, you really want the Home and Business Edition!).

Eric Wilfrid, our GM here in MacBU, has written a blog post to kick off today’s retail launch: It’s here – get your copy of Office 2011 Today! Once you’ve gotten it and had a chance to try it out, I’d love to hear what you think!

identities in Outlook:Mac and Entourage

In the comments thread for Q&A: where can I buy Office:Mac 2011?, a commenter named Mark discussed the differences between identities in Entourage and Outlook, and said that the changes would mean that he won’t upgrade to Outlook.  Here’s part of his comment:

I, as well as others I know, share a computer with a partner. The main reason we use Entourage instead of Mail, was the ability to easily switch identities, so that each of us can separately check and view the various personal and business accounts we have.

In Entourage, the identity is where all of your data is stored: accounts, preferences, your data, everything.  The identity is an implementation detail that most applications wouldn’t expose, since most people have little reason to care about how this kind of thing is stored.  However, back when Entourage was first introduced, there was another purpose for exposing the concept of the identity: multiple people who share the same computer.

Longtime Apple users will know that the ability to quickly switch between accounts wasn’t originally part of OS X.  So in the case of email, if multiple people wanted to share a computer but keep their mail separate, it was pretty difficult.  Entourage’s identities allowed for this to happen.

But the introduction of fast user switching in Panther changed things.  Instead of having a single user account, it’s very easy now to have multiple user accounts for different purposes.  Each of those different user accounts can then run Entourage or Outlook to get their mail.  Switching between users is quick and easy.

As we worked on Outlook, we made the decision to continue to support multiple identities, but not to make it quite so obvious.  We don’t need to expose this implementation detail to the world.

Personally, I also have a shared Mac at home, for me and my husband.  For our shared Mac, we have a shared account (named Tipsy) which has all of our shared stuff on it: Netflix, Quicken for our joint finances, iTunes (and then we have playlists for syncing with our individual iPhones and iPods), iPhoto, etc.  Then we each have our own personal accounts for storing our own information.  For us, this is more about ease of access than privacy; he has his own organisational scheme and I have mine, and so we don’t force each other to figure out the other’s scheme.  If I need to access my stuff on our shared computer, I just quickly switch into my user account to get it, and then I usually return it to our shared account when I’m done.  We use different desktop backgrounds for the individual accounts so its easy to see which account is currently the one that has focus.

For my work computer, I also maintain different user accounts.  I have my primary user account, which is where I spend most of my time.  I’ve also got a demo user account, which I have populated with a bunch of demo documents and a couple of test Exchange accounts.  I often use my demo account when I’m giving presentations too, so that I don’t have to worry about whether I’ve logged out of Communicator.  If I’ve got Outlook running in both of my user accounts, it feels faster to switch between my user accounts rather than the old Entourage model of switching identities.

Q&A: Can I import my .PST files into Outlook:Mac?

Dean asked:

I am converting from Office:Windows 2010. Do my current .pst files work on Outlook:Mac 2011? If not, how do I convert from Office:Windows to Office:Mac?

Yes!  If you have a .PST file from Outlook for Windows (created using Outlook 2003 or later), you can import it into Outlook:Mac.  Just transfer the .PST file from your Windows computer to your Mac (such as putting it on a thumb drive), and then go to File -> Import in Outlook:Mac.

For full instructions for how to import your .PST file into Outlook:Mac, read this help file: Import a .pst file from Outlook for Windows.

Q&A: does Excel:Mac 2011 have pivot tables?

Via email, I got this kinda perplexing question:

i heard that the new excel doesn’t have pivot tables – why are you keeping macs out of business???

I’m trying to figure out where this came from, and I’m not quite sure.  Excel 2008 already had pivot table support (to get started with pivot tables in Excel 2008, check out Create a pivot table report in the Excel help, and there’s a tutorial for it too).  My only guess about this confusion is that someone might have misunderstood Walt Mossberg’s review, in which he noted that Office:Mac 2011 doesn’t have all of the features of Office 2010 for Windows, such as pivot charts in Excel.

In Excel:Mac 2011, we made a big investment in improving matters for our power users, which includes some great improvements to pivot tables.  If you’re an Excel guru, check it out and tell us what you think.  I think that Excel gurus will especially appreciate the performance improvements.

Q&A: why do I have to quit my web browser when I install Office:Mac 2011?

Via email, I got this question:

I installed Office 2011 last night.  I had Safari and Firefox open, but was forced to quit them during the Office install.  Why?

During the installation of Office:Mac, we install fonts.  Web browsers, since they’re heavily reliant on fonts, don’t particularly like it when you change fonts out from under them while they’re running.  If you install a font that the browser is using, then it’s likely to not display that font properly until you restart your browser.  To avoid this kind of issue, we simply ask you to close down your browser for a couple of minutes.

On a related note, Jim asked this in the comments thread in my post about latest Office 2008 and 2004 updates:

Why does the update to Office insist that I quit Safari????

Our updater uses some of the same code as our installer, and that’s one of the pieces we reuse.  We reuse that particular piece of code because an update could include font updates.