Unboxing: Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac (and macros fell out)

Office 2008 for Mac arrives!

Just in case you’re still waiting for your copy of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac (see 10 things), I can show you what to expect. Just two discs and two quick guides. I received the package today courtesy of Ian and Evelyn of Microsoft Singapore (thanks!).

My friends seem impressed with the Office 2008 packaging, which has a nice emboss over prismatic pearl card stock. I personally like how it’s smaller and thus more environmentally friendly than the Office 2004 packaging as compared here.

As you’ll see, the Special Media Edition basically comes with Microsoft Expression Media (formerly iView MediaPro). You can think of it as an alternative to media cataloguers like iPhoto, with its ability to import and search more than 100 different formats of photos, videos, music, and artwork.

Installation was simple enough, but I’m keeping Office 2004 just in case, especially for macro support which Microsoft stripped out in the 2008 edition. I have certain Excel spreadsheets which use macros to guide in form-filling (e.g. employee timesheets) which will no longer function in Excel 2008. I heard that Microsoft MacBU took user feedback about bloatware seriously and as a result, scaled the office suite down to make it speedier.

Michael Miller of PC Magazine seemed hear a different story…

When I pressed the Microsoft representatives as to why they took macro support out, I was told it would have taken two more years to rewrite VBA for the Intel environment. Given that Apple announced its plans to move to Intel two and a half years ago, and that Microsoft has a fair amount of experience with Visual Basic on Intel with Windows, I have to say I’m skeptical. Perhaps Microsoft just wants business users to run Windows.

Is the Mac still not taken as a serious business platform?
We’ll have to see how the power users workaround with this.

10 thoughts on “Unboxing: Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac (and macros fell out)

  1. Actually, the employee time sheet works just fine (at least the hour calculations and the date/time stuff does)
    The only macro that is in the timesheet is the printing one, and since I export to pdf and print that way, I don’t miss it.

    I removed Office 2004 a few weeks ago and haven’t had any problems.

    With regard to running VBA on intel, its interesting to note that VB6 (with which VBA shares a lot of similarities/run time libraries, etc) was actually able to be compiled to native code, or pcode which alowed it to run on different architectures through an interpreter. it’s possible that VBA on the mac leveraged this capability, and that the wrappers around COM inside pcode relied heavily on the signedness of architectures other then x86. So theoretically, not only would they have to port the compiler itself to x86, but all their runtime wrappers and libraries to make vba work. Which is a lot of work.

    Also, the entire object model in office on the mac is exposed via apple script, and using the Open Scripting Architecture, you can access those same object using perl, ruby, or python. Personally, I would rather use any one of those languages then VBA (even python!).

  2. Shady: As you pointed out, I forgot to mentioned the new Applescript support they gave in place. You’re the first person that I’ve heard who supports the Applescript route. Perhaps I’ve only talked to those who wrote in VBA, which polarizes my opinion of its removal.

  3. I am sure that Applescript/Automater are fine for many needs, and I agree that VBE is pretty crude and ancient.

    The big issue, however, is compatibility. Many people buy MS Office because they have to exchange files with other MS Office users. If Office 2008 for Mac can’t handle Office files containing macros, then the compatibility is lost, so the user might as well buy a better office product from Apple, OpenOffice, etc., unless they are sure that they will never receive MS Office files containing macros…

  4. I do know of at least one Office 2008 user who uses nothing even close to anything as complex as a macro.

    I know this one in particular simply had always enjoyed using Word and continues to do now she has fully switched to a Mac.

    The fact that she could use her favorite application was the main reason she took the plunge and as a result there is another very happy Mac user out there. ­čÖé



  5. So…what does one do in Office 2008 to automate a standard multiple-keystroke routine like reformatting or sorting a spreadsheet?

  6. What crap that I’m cottoning to this now. What minority of Office users – the ones who work in offices cranking out documentation and financial spreadsheets, as opposed to my one or two buddies blasting 15GB powerpoints of their pr0n collection – can work without Macros, and without a way to bind keys to a series of office functions. This is “retardted.”

    Tims last blog post..Robyn Hitchcock ‘I Often Dream of Trains’ program

  7. How to make Macros work on Excel 08. Any files that can be changed or altered to make it work? Please Help.

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