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The world’s leading productivity suite is coming to a Mac near you late October and it will surprisingly save you an arm or a leg. Three editions will be available upon its venture onto store shelves: Mac Home and Business, Mac Home and Student, and Mac Academic 2011.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Messenger, and Outlook, the most notable addition to the productivity software, which replaces the current Entourage mail client. Not to be outdone though by itself is the price at $199, down substantially from its $399.95 forerunner. A two-installation license will cost $279.

The Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 version will feature Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Messenger and will cost $119 for a single license, down 20% over Office 2008’s $149.95 tag. A family license package of three installs will be available for $149.

Mac Academic 2011 will be available for $99, but will only be available at authorized academic stores for purchase by higher-education students, staff, and faculty. The affordable option for the classroom setting provides everything seen in the Office for Mac Home and Business at a drastically more affordable price. While it was left unclear as to what specific version, Microsoft noted that anyone purchasing Office 2008 between August 1st and November 30th will receive an upgrade to Office 2011 at no additional charge.

The software will also be available in 13 languages, including Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish, with Polish and Russian new to this version.

Office 2008 for Mac was met with mixed reviews, many users citing cross-platform compatibility as one of the more glaring issues bogging down functionality. It seems as though Microsoft has listened, with other additions including a new template gallery featuring thousands of document designs, support for Microsoft’s information rights management (IRM) content protection, Visual Basic support, and a new ribbon interface, built from the ground up.

The ribbon interface was first introduced back in Office 2007 as part of the software’s new “Fluent User Interface”. Its purpose was to increase functionality by bringing the most frequented portions of the software to the forefront, saving users the time of having to dig through menus to find specific functions. Each ribbon is separated into tabs, housing relevant commands and providing a truly streamlined experience compared to earlier incarnations of the software. As with all Office products on a Mac, time will be the true test to see if its implementation is problem-free.

An official October date has yet to be set.

Edited by WASDted: n/a

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