I have used Microsoft Office for a while on my Windows machines. It used to be extremely expensive so I used WordPerfect, which was far cheaper, but since Microsoft came out with the Student and Teacher edition in 2003 costing around $120, it’s been much more affordable. They followed that up with Home and Student in 2007 and 2010. I have previously tried Open Office as well but found it had compatibility errors with some Word documents.
I’m actually still using the 2003 version as it does everything I need it to. Microsoft released a plug-in that allows it to read and write .docx files (introduced in 2007) so there hasn’t been any need to upgrade. Because of that, the ribbon will be a new experience for me.
Since I’m moving my laptop over to the Mac and want to stay in OS X as much as possible, I needed an office suite. I use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Beginning with 2010, a free basic online version has been available but there are times I need it when I don’t have wi-fi so that’s not really a viable option for me. I thought of the iWork suite, which is affordable at only $60 for all three application-equivalents but after reading some reviews on them, I wasn’t sure they would really suit my needs. Micro Center is selling Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 Family Pack (3 users) for $99 so I went with that.
The standard installation takes 1.74 GB but I read a review that said that installs Outlook which this version doesn’t come with a license for. I guess the idea is to make you want it so you will buy it. I have used versions of Office that came with Outlook but I never used it so I opted for a custom installation.
The options are as follows:
- Microsoft Office 2011 (1.38 GB)
- Microsoft Word (225.4 MB)
- Microsoft Excel (57.2 MB)
- Microsoft PowerPoint (143 MB)
- Microsoft Outlook (82.1 MB)
- Microsoft Document Connection for Mac (6.4 MB)
- Microsoft Messenger (76.9 MB)
- Remote Desktop Connection for Mac (16.1 MB)
- Visual Basic for Applications (6.4 MB)
- Proofing Tools (18 languages individually selectable – 212.1 MB)
- Office Fonts (329.3 MB)
- Automator Actions (20.7 MB)
- Dock Icons (Zero KB)
Selecting the options I wanted took 1.39 GB. The CD installation took 4 minutes which was much shorter than I was expecting. On my PC, things can get out of hand with various programs automatically checking for updates, particularly at inopportune times, like when I’m the middle of a full-screen game and some notification pops up and throws me out. Because of that, I prefer manual updates on many things so I set this new installation to not automatically check for updates.
When I checked manually, it found Microsoft AutoUpdate 2.3.4 (2.0 MB). That’s an update for the update program. After installing that, it found Office 2011 14.2.3 Update (110.1 MB). That downloaded in about a minute. I found it’s Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, Service Pack 2 and would take 297.7 MB of space. Oddly, it required Safari to be closed before it would install. Much to my surprise, it took all of 21 seconds to install. Even more surprising was the fact that there were no further updates (no patches for this patch). On Windows, the installation would have taken minutes (plural) and there would have been patches for the service pack. It seems Microsoft does the right thing on a Mac; I wish they would carry that behavior over to the Windows platform.