Is Microsoft Office 2008 really, really terrible?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by bollweevil, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. bollweevil macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #1
    Is it just me, or is Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac really, really terrible? Here is a list of my grievances, please add to it:

    1. The menus have completely changed in the past few versions. Coming from a slightly older version, I have no idea where everything is.

    2. The UI is ugly as sin, and many of the charts/graphics/autoshapes are hideous bubbles, rounded, shaded, highlighted, overly complex and distracting to the eye.

    3. Excel has a terrible date bug. It uses two different epochs (two different dates are used as zero). These epochs are 4 years and a day apart, it seems. I can't tell when it chooses to use each epoch, but I am having a hell of a time copying data from Excel 97 .xls spreadsheets to Excel 2008 .xlsx spreadsheets.

    4. When I open an older PowerPoint presentation from my Windows machine on the new Mac, the PowerPoint file itself is immediately modified and the new version is saved, replacing the original version. Don't change my files without asking! I never clicked save or save as! If you need to convert it to a newer format, create a copy! What exactly are the changes, you ask? Why, of course the font colors are all changed, the fonts and text sizes are changed, and the arrows are made shorter and given smaller heads. Not only does the new version look idiotically stupid, but the original version is gone forever, and it never even asked if I wanted to replace it.

    5. Excel really doesn't work with Spaces and multiple instances. Often, when I click "OK" to an Excel dialog box, it automatically pushes me into the adjacent Spaces screen. I have to Control-arrow myself back into the proper space. Another problem I had: When I had two instances/windows of Excel open at once containing two different files, file A would always be in focus and on top, and file B would NEVER be in focus on top. I would click on file B, and it just wouldn't come to the top. I finally closed file A, then file B worked. I reopened file A and again, file B was made totally inaccessible. Doing Expose and then clicking on file B simply brought file A to the foreground.

    There are three improvements in Office 2008 for Mac, though. These improvements are relative to an older version of Office which was not necessarily the most recent predecessor:

    1. The insert > name > define dialog box is much better in Excel. I do a lot of working with arrays, and you define arrays in this dialog box. It works so much better now than in the past, because it doesn't autoclose itself all the damn time.

    2. You can export PowerPoints as a series of images really easily, which was simply impossible before.

    3. When typing a formula in Excel, it can now autocomplete the function name and it tells you the syntax of the function.
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #2
    Yeah, there are a lot of problems with 2008
    I prefer 2004 myself, but rumors are the next version will have a lot of fixes

    Lack of VBA is annoying

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  3. Avro macrumors regular

    Avro

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #3
    I don't use Excel so no comments there.

    PowerPoint seems improved to me.

    Word continues to ignore Mac conventions and as a writing tool is poor compared with Scrivener, Nisus Writer Pro and Pages.

    Entourage is pretty lame as an email client, better choices are Mailsmith and Mail.

    I find the 2008 UI better than in 2004. Easier to find the features you really need.

    Overall I would say both PowerPoint and Word are improved but certainly in the case of Word not for me to use it as my primary Word Processor.
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
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    "Between the Hedges"
    #4
    Just the opposite for me
    The radical change from 2004 to 2008 has been frustrating for me
    The interface is not intuitive to me... coming from 2004
    It is hard to find things and they are not where I would expect them

    Maybe I will get used to it... but for now, I am not a fan of the interface

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. thomahawk macrumors 6502a

    thomahawk

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    #5
    i enjoy everything about it
    except for the RAM hogging and slow starting process,
     
  6. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #6
    I just really hate how they decided to rename all their file types, simply because they can.

    REALLY annoying when bringing in a project to school, trying to open it up, only to remember that you saved it standard as .docx instead of in compatiblity mode.

    As far as im aware there arent any actual reasons that they changed it, other than M$ making its own new standard because it can.
     
  7. Avro macrumors regular

    Avro

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #7
    You can set up the default Save for .doc instead of .docx.
     
  8. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #8
    The UI improved slightly. Seems more like a Leopard application. I don't feel the need for VBA personally, but Spaces integration is non existent. If they fix that, it will still be subpar app, with all the other bugs it has. Spaces issue is just one of the major ones.
     
  9. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
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    #9
    And yet for me... Spaces is a non issue because I don't use it
    But I do use VBA extensively at work... but can't on my Mac

    And yet, 2008 fails us both :(

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  10. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hartford, CT
    #10
    yea i know, but what would I have to bitch about otherwise?:p

    I just dont understand why they went and set up a new type of file, when there is no added functionality (as far as im aware)
     
  11. bollweevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    #11
    So what should I do? My choices:

    1. Downgrade to Office 2004 for Mac, although I have never used it before (I came from Office 2000 for PC) and I am not sure I will like the UI better because it is still not what I'm used to. Also, this might not fix the rearranged-PowerPoint problem - that might be a Mac to PC thing, or a 2000-to-2004 thing.

    2. Get a different office productivity suite, like Open Office. I have used Open Office on Linux machines, and come to the general conclusion that all office productivity suites are pretty bad - it must be a difficult piece of software to create.

    3. Stick with Office 2008 for Mac. Over time I will get used to the new UI, and I will be using the documents from my old computer less and less often so the conversion problems won't matter.
     
  12. Avro macrumors regular

    Avro

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    Location:
    Belgium
    #12
    I would just stick with it. You will get used to it.

    Suspicions were that you had come from the other side. Windows Users are notorious for disliking change. :rolleyes:

    Anyhow, welcome to the Light.:)
     
  13. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    Apr 19, 2008
    Location:
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    #13
    I've had my copy for about a month now, and love it.
     
  14. lamadude macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Brussels, BE
    #14
    Yes there is, for example the way you can manage your references and change the bibliography style on the fly. I'm sure plenty of other things have changed as well.
    I prefer office 2008 over 2004, openoffice and pages, but I still think nothing beats the windows versions of office.
     
  15. munkery macrumors 68020

    munkery

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    #15
    NeoOffice is a port of openoffice specifically for Mac OS X.

    It opens the latest word files (docx, xlsx, etc.) and if you run leopard it can access the system wide grammar checker (which openoffice doesn't have).

    It handles headers differently that MS Office word but once you figure it out it is easy. I find it is easier to create custom paragraph styles in NeoOffice than MS Office.

    NeoOffice is a good alternative if you don't want to spend any money. I prefer NeoOffice over Pages because Pages is limited in the number of formats it can save to.
     
  16. waffle911 macrumors regular

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    Dec 22, 2007
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    ⇧⌥K = 
    #16
    Thank you monkery, I was wondering when someone would mention NeoOffice. Uses all the Mac keyboard shortcuts too, unlike OpenOffice. The document program is superb, especially with an easy document to PDF converter. Spreadsheet I find lacking, however, as it cannot recognize excel equations that may already exist in a MS Office created spreadsheet. Also, the graphing utility needs some work. I can't get it to plot multiple comparable sets of data on a line graph correctly.
     
  17. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #17
    It isn't good, but it isn't terrible. It does the job, just it is pretty sluggish and compared to Office 2007, it lacks features and Access.

    I use Word all the time and find it good enough, just pretty sluggish and bloated (like all Microsoft stuff).
     
  18. munkery macrumors 68020

    munkery

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    #18
    The freeware program "Plot" may be somewhat a solution to your problem.
     
  19. Trip.Tucker Guest

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    Mar 13, 2008
    #19
    There will never be VBA or VB within the Mac versions of Office.
     
  20. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #20
    The date difference has always been there between Mac and PC versions of Excel. If you go into Preferences and into Calculation, you can force it to use the 1904 date rather than the 1900.

    I think that the new Office (on both PC and Mac) was built for those people who use Excel to make lists in and don't use more than about 4 columns and 20 rows. The 'ribbon' makes life easier for them to format stuff etc

    If you're a 'power' user with lots of columns and thousands of rows who uses lots of formulae and pivot tables, it's a nightmare though.
     
  21. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Location:
    Pandora, Home Tree
    #21
    The default for Office 2008, should be the 1904 setting. Just checked mine, and I haven't made any changes to it.
     
  22. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    benkadams.com
    #22
    I dislike the new layout, find it very confusing, however it does run a heck of alot faster than 2004 did, and it has way more features and tools that Pages (although I do use pages for all my lecture notes)
     
  23. Izzy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    #23
    I find that complex Word documents (documents of 100+ pages or those with a lot of graphics) become very difficult to navigate in. Word will also crash frequently when working on these types of documents. The last time I had this difficulty, I imported the Word document into Pages and everything was stable and more responsive.

    Excel has been weakened with the loss of VBA. PowerPoint is acceptable, but I prefer Keynote.

    I need to collaborate on documents with Windows users, otherwise I would just use Pages, Keynote and Excel. (Numbers is just not powerful enough yet)

    Hopefully, Apple will continue to improve its iWork suite to compete more effectively with Office. Microsoft could also use more competition on the Windows side of things as well. Competition would force everyone to get better.
     
  24. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Posting a litany of issues with Office is a waste of time. Office 2008 certainly has its issues. I agree that Office 2004 has its advantages. However, many of your issues are not unique to 2008 or even to the Mac version of Office. Opening a file created using one version of Office:win in a different version of Office:win tends to be much more problematic than opening the same file in Office 2004.

    People who use Office have three alternatives:
    1. Work around its issues.
    2. Accept the changes that it makes to documents without correction.
    3. Use something else whenever possible. For example: Send a PDF version of a document if the recipient is not expected to edit it.
     
  25. t1tv5 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2008
    #25
    Not really terrible, but less stable

    I only use the Excel 2008 app, I use Keynote and Pages otherwise. Unfortunately, Numbers doesn't have pivot tables.

    As opposed to its predecessor, Excel 2008:
    Advantages:
    • No more 60k row limit, the max is now one million
    • Negligibly better default colors in charts, for the lazy or uninspired.
    • Chart customization is better and easier, doesn't default to the teeth-grinding, chart-junk ridden graphs in 2004 and earlier.


    Disadvantages:
    • Crashes A LOT. Especially when working with pivot tables, as I do. Refreshing a pivot sometimes crashes, sorting by a total field crashes, sorting by any field crashes. Crashes on SAVE (which is especially annoying!)
    • 2004 workbooks imported often look terrible, and require reformating or rebuilding. Especially charts.
    My $0.02.
     

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