Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac has launched at this year's Macworld Expo, four years after the last edition.

The new suite of productivity applications for the Macintosh operating system unveiled Tuesday is built specifically for the Mac and is tailored to feel like a native application. The software was created by Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit, which is dedicated to products on that operating system.

Microsoft says it has worked to increase compatibility between Windows Office and Mac Office applications. It is the first Office product that will run on the Mac's new Intel chips, allowing the software to work faster. It will also run natively on older Power PC-based Macs. the core, we focused on delivering reliable compatibility so that users can confidently share documents across platforms, said Mac BU general manager Craig Eisler in a statement.


The interface on the new Mac Office product differs from that found in the latest Windows Office. Gone is the ribbon interface. The traditional drop down menu has been kept but it adds a pair of new features which adhere to Mac's interface guideline.

Embedded Toolbar and Elements Gallery are located atop of the applications. Elements Gallery adds a row of tools which are meant to allow users to easily find what they need.

Other new features include three views described as a notebook, print layout and publishing views. The software includes various themes that users can select.


There are three versions of the suite. Included in all are word processor Word, spreadsheet software Excel, slide presentation application PowerPoint and a Mac exclusive e-mail application named Entourage.

- The Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition contains the four basic applications.

- The Office 2008 for Mac version adds support for Microsoft Server Exchange and Automator Actions which facilitates pre-defined actions.

- Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition adds all the previous software plus Microsoft Expression Media, which catalogs music, videos, photos and artwork for use within the suite.

The suites retail for $149.95, $399.95, and $499.95 respectively, according to prices on Microsoft's website. Upgrade prices for the last two are $239.95 and $299.95 respectively.