Office for Mac Gets Organized

SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit has unveiled the next major upgrade to the company's Office suite of products. The applications included in the Office suite will get some major updates, but users won't be able to get Office 2004 until sometime in the first half of 2004.

The update, shown at the Macworld Conference and Expo here this week, is available in three editions. Office v. X for Mac Standard Edition is priced at $399 ($239 as an upgrade) and comes with Word X, Excel X, PowerPoint X, and Entourage X.

Office v. X for Mac Professional Edition costs $499 ($329 for the upgrade) and adds Virtual PC for Mac Version 6.1 with Microsoft Windows XP Professional, which lets you run Windows-based applications on your Mac. Also available is Office v. X for Mac Student and Teacher Edition, priced at $149 for qualifying buyers.

Information-Handling Enhanced

Microsoft identified three areas its customers wanted improved in a new version of Office--managing information, creating files so they look the same on paper as they do on the computer, and the capability to share information with others--says Tim McDonough, director of marketing for the Macintosh Business Unit.

To allow users to better manage information in Office 2004, Microsoft has created Project Center as a part of Entourage. Project Center allows you to view e-mail messages, files, contacts, meetings, and tasks related to a particular project all in one place.

Users can set up projects and define criteria for the information they want to include in each project through a setup wizard, and then view each project separately. Information or criteria for a project can be added or deleted at any time without deleting the actual e-mail message or file. Entourage simply points to each file, but doesn't copy the file to the project.

Application Updates

Word will come with a new view called Notebook, which will resemble ruled notebook paper. The Notebook view will not only enable users to jot notes but also to include calendar events and priorities. It supports unlimited tabs to help organize information. The Notebook view will also allow you to record audio directly into the notebook--for instance, if you're in a meeting taking notes, you can click the record button to record the meeting and attach it to a note to listen to later.

A new Scrapbook feature will allow users to save text, logos, pictures, and other types of media in a central location that can be used in a project at a later time.

The Excel Page Layout view will show you on screen exactly what you will see on paper when a spreadsheet or chart is printed, including margins, headers, footers, and page layout. The layout view in Excel also allows for manipulation of the information or media.

This story, "Office for Mac Gets Organized" was originally published by MacCentral.

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