General Info about Office X

By: Mikio Moriyasu - Revised: 2006-06-21 devin


Microsoft has set pricing for Office X at:
  • $499 for the full version.
  • $299 for the upgrade.
  • $229 for academic purchases.
The company, however, is offering a special upgrade price of $149 for users who are already running Office 2001 applications for Mac.

The Apple online store is selling both the full version and the upgrade for a little less.
  • $459.95 for the full version.
  • $279.95 for the upgrade.
  • $199.95 for academic purchases. is also selling the full and upgrade version for Office X for even less
  • $449.99 for the full version.
  • $269.99 for the upgrade.
A quick look at the cnet price comparison site showed that that most online retailers are selling the full version of Office X between $499 and $350.

For those who work at the University of Utah, the Office of Software Licensing (OSL) is offering single user license for $53 and $4 for the media.

Office X Overview

Rather than start from the ground-up, Microsoft opted to make their first Mac OS X Office suite a superior carbonization that completely and effectively integrates it with OS X environment. The principle advantage to this strategy is that Microsoft is able to integrate into Office all of the benefits and features that are unique to OS X while maintaining a significant degree of continuity. As a result, Office X does feature a few new OS X based features and gimmicks but more importantly, it largely remains a familiar product to most regular users. Launch any one of the four applications and the Office 2001 based Project Gallery window appears.

Select either Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, and be greeted with the familiar Office 2001 user interfaces.

Word X

Excel X

Powerpoint X

While the basic operation, features, functions, and overall layout of the three principle components of the previous Office suite has been carried over, The influence of OS X can be clearly seen in:
The use of Aqua Based User Interfaces: Office X components feature new Aqua based active user interfaces built around controls and icons that sport a more colorful, rounded look. One new visual result of this is how the applications draw more attention to themselves when a user changes from one interface to another. When hiding or revealing sections of the Formatting Palette, for example, the sections slide smoothly into or out of view. When dragging a tool palette to an edge of the screen to make it into a tool bar, the document window and other tool bars slide out of the way to make room.
The use of Quartz: All Office X applications take advantage of the Mac OS X Quartz drawing technology to set the opacity of drawn objects or pictures. In PowerPoint, Quartz's text manipulation is used to anti-alias text on slides to produce cleaner presentations.
The use of Sheets: All Office X dialog boxes are now displayed as semitransparent sheets that are attached to the active document window. Like all Mac OS X applications, the sheets allow users to switch from one document window to another document or application without having to first dismiss a Save dialog box.
Improved Stability & Responsiveness: Office X uses key components of the Mac OS X architecture for greater stability and responsiveness.

The most significant changes in overall application function and feel have been made to Entourage X. The combination e-mail/calendar program features an all-new, highly graphical, user interface that makes it easy to navigate among mail, address book, calendar, and notes displays.

Entourage X

What's New

PDF Support: PDF can now be used as a graphic format in all components of Office X.

Cross-Platform Compatibility with Office 2001 for Mac, Office 98 Macintosh Edition, and Windows Office: Office X components share files freely with Office 2001, and Office 98 for Mac. In addition, Office v. X uses the same file formats as Windows Office XP/2000/97 so users can easily exchange files across platforms.

Improved Address Book: Users can store extensive information about contacts, and view it all at a glance in the Preview pane. Improved international support allow users to better manage international contacts. Users can also quickly locate an address on a map by using

Office Notifications: Office Notifications help users to manage calendar events, tasks, and Microsoft .NET Alerts from MSN Messenger 2.1 for Mac in one window. Notifications appear on top of any open programs.

Project Gallery: Users can easily access customizable templates for resumes, catalogs, newsletters, calendars, and more from the Project Gallery. In addition, a new "Based On Recent" category has been added which displays copies of Office documents that have been recently created or worked on. Selecting a copy creates an new document that includes the text of the original document. In this manner, the original document remains untouched as all changes are done on the copy.

Formatting Palette: All formatting tools throughout Office X are centralized on a single, improved, context-sensitive palette making it easier for users to find desired commands and functions without searching toolbars and drop-down menus.

Full-text search engine for Help: Office X now provides a full-text search engine for Help topics for both the Office Assistant balloon or the Help Viewer. Help topics can also be printed.

Office Tools on the Web: " Tools on the Web" is allows users access to free updates, templates, downloads, clip art, and third-party offerings for Microsoft Office X. The Template Gallery, for example, offers selections of professionally-authored templates formatted especially for the Mac. eServices allow convenient access to a variety of reference, directory, and communication resources. For example, you can use the directory services to look up information and add it to a contact in your Microsoft Entourage Address Book, or use the reference services to import a map to a Word document. Link to articles and tips that will help you learn about and master Office X program features. To access Tools on the Web, click Tools on the Web on the Tools menu in any Office X program.

Anti-Piracy Security: When an Office X application is launched, it looks for other Office X programs with the same serial number running on other computer on the ethernet LAN network. If a match is found, the application will not run. The Macworld Lab confirmed that the security check is contained within the LAN. No information is sent over the Internet to Microsoft.

Revised Keyboard Commands: In order to comply with Apple's Aqua user-interface, keyboard commands have been changed throughout the suite.

Speed: Unlike other Carbonized applications which are slower than their classic counterparts, the Office X applications open quickly (5 or 6 seconds) and most operations are at least as fast they were in Office 2001. Many tasks are actually faster and a few are substantially faster.


Ordering Difficulties: Several individuals have reported problems ordering from Microsoft both from the online store as well as over the phone. Others have reported excruciatingly long delays in getting either the full install or the upgrades from various sources including Microsoft and Apple.

Installation Problems: People have reported that the installation Key Code numbers that they received with their products do not work. These people also report that Microsoft customer service has been very good about giving them new ones that work. According to one Microsoft representative, the Key Code shipped with Office X upgrades are ones that should have been applied to another Microsoft product.

Startup Issues: Several people have reported that some or all of the component applications crash before the Project Gallery appears. One individual was told by Microsoft that it is related to an font conflict. Apparently for some, OS X tries to read the OS 9 font folder with bad results.

No Embedded Postscript Printing: Several individuals have reported that Office X applications will not properly print documents with embedded Postscript figures. The problem is big enough that Microsoft has posted a "top issue" with Office X on the Mactopia support site, regarding postscript printing. See the following link for more information:;en-us;Q312234&id=kb;en-us;Q312234
Inconsistencies: All Office X components apply anti-aliasing to icons, buttons, Excel chart text, and all text but there does not appear to be any consistency with how it is applied. Some test and fonts appear jagged while other do not. Entourage, for example, does not anti-alias text in email messages, and while Excel smoothes out text in the row, column, and formula field headers, it leaves text within the cells rough around the edges. It should be noted, however, that Word does not anti-alias document text. If it did, the smoothed, on-screen text would not look like the same text on the printed page.

Office X vs Office XP: Office X does not have a number of features that are specific Office XP. Office X does not support for Microsoft's "Smart Tags" feature which offers links to Web content and other information stored in a user's computer from within the desktop. When contacted about this, Michael Connolly, group program manager for Microsoft's Mac division answered that Microsoft goals for Office XP were different from those for Office X and that a direct comparison was not appropriate.