Microsoft announces Office for Mac 2011: New UI, Web-based tools, no Entourage

At Macworld 2010 today, Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its Office productivity suite for Mac OS, which brings a new UI design, new collaboration tools, and replaces Entourage with Outlook for Mac.

Microsoft today said the new look of Office for Mac is based on Office 2008 Elements Gallery, and combines the standard Mac menus with Office toolbars, so the design is peculiar to the Mac, but stays true to the Office ethic.

The design, however, really isn't the crucial improvement in Office for Mac 2010, but rather it's just one of the new bits of information about the suite that Microsoft showed off today. Office for Mac 2010 will also be enabled with the collaborative features of the Windows version of Office. They include the ability for multiple users to work on a single Word, PowerPoint, or Excel document from different locations, and the ability to share documents over Office Web apps, or save them to a SkyDrive account.

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And as Microsoft announced last August, Entourage will no longer be Office for Mac's e-mail client. It has been replaced by Outlook for Mac, a unique version of Microsoft's popular e-mail program built in Cocoa, the development layer for OS X primarily written in Objective-C. Today, Microsoft announced that Outlook for Mac will be able to import .PST files, the files also known as Personal Storage Tables which are used to save messages and events in the Windows version of Outlook.

Microsoft said that Office for Mac 2011 will be available "later this year," and some have estimated that it will be before the 2010 holiday season.

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