Office for Mac 2011 Review

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I purchased Office for Mac 2011 (Student and Home) Edition last night.

Something was really wonky with my 2008 version of Office for Mac, even after I reloaded it several times, Word just wouldn’t work correctly.  My wife and I talked it over and we decided to just go ahead and get the new version of Office.
My experiment with the iWork suite and Pages in particular showed that it works differently than I do, it just is not intuitive for me to use, yes I will keep it on the MacBook, but only for specific purposes (student work created in iWork).  Everything else will be done using Office 2011 or Google Docs.
After researching online, it came down to saving a small amount of money or going ahead and just buying it from Microsoft.  There was also a common thread, where reviewers were stating that they were having difficulty activating Office 2011 when they purchased it elsewhere.
For the relatively small amount of money that I would save by using an online store or waiting and going to a store today, I decided to pay the premium price and get the software directly from Microsoft.  I guess it was the peace of mind factor (plus a little bit of convenience too).
Purchasing online from Microsoft was quick and easy.  The download went smoothly and installation was a breeze.  All I had to do was copy the activation code from my receipt and everything worked flawlessly.  In less than an hour, I had an activated copy of Office for Mac 2011 installed and working on my Mac.  I don’t know if it made any difference where I bought Office 2011 from, but I didn’t have any of the issues that were discussed in many reviews or forums, so to me it was worth it.
Then I did something that I have never done before, I sat down and went through the How-To Videos and Getting Started with Word 2011 sites before I started using my new software.  Although I have used Word extensively for several years, including the PC versions of 2007 & 2010, watching the videos and reading some of the documentation did give me a lot better understanding of where the commands were located and a few tips that I didn’t have to find by “accident”.
I know guys aren’t supposed to read the directions, we are just supposed to jump in and “do”.  Sorry that can be such a waste of time. At this point in my life, I would rather take a little extra time up front, to learn how to use something, instead of spending a lot of wasted time using “trial & error”.
Reviewing those videos last night, paid off handsomely.  I was doing a very large project that I worked on for most of the day and actually used quite a few of the “little” things that I learned.  How did Word for Mac 2011 do on this large project?  Fantastic, it didn’t hiccup, crash, freeze and I actually enjoyed using it.  I can now stop complaining and whining about “I can’t use the Ribbon on the Mac”.
The reality is that Office for Mac – 2011 is a fantastic product!  For me it was worth the premium price that I paid for it.  Pages, Open Office and all the other Word Processors out there can do what you want quite well, but I like the Microsoft Ribbon toolbar (a lot) and it just feels right to me, so I prefer to use Office.
Below is a screen shot of the Ribbon that I missed so much.
Office for Mac 2011 will not replace Google Docs in my classroom (students don’t have it and licensing Office for the MLTI project hasn’t happened), but at home and for creating lessons or visuals I will use it a great deal.  Now if it only had that “Post to Blog” capability that Office 2007 had, I could use it to do more than just draft a blog post.  It comes down to that I first cut my teeth on Microsoft’s Word – word processor.  I just feel very comfortable with their product and this latest rendition of something I have used for a long time.
Now I have to explore Skydrive, the online synching and sharing capabilities, ummmm just something else to learn.  🙂

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