Microsoft was committed to making Office for Mac 2011 a significant improvement over previous versions. To that end, the company focused on collaboration, compatibility, and ease of use, and laid out a four-pronged approach:
• Incorporate features from Office 2007 that were not added to Office 2008 for Mac.
• Incorporate Office 2007 features that did not get added, as well as the latest updates to those features that were made in Office 2010.
• Incorporate the new features introduced in Office 2010 for maximum compatibility. • Add new features to Office for Mac 2011 that are unique to it.
Additionally, Microsoft had the goal of making Office for Mac truly Mac-like. Mac BU (Mac Business Unit), the Microsoft team responsible for developing Office for Mac, consists of team members who are really Mac users. They personally know and understand what Mac users want and consistently seek out and use customer feedback to identify, prioritize, and improve Office specifically for Mac users. In my opinion, Microsoft met and exceeded its goals with this release. It achieved a high degree of parity between the PC and Mac versions while integrating uniquely Mac functions, such as the Spotlight. Users who must switch between platforms will find the majority of the tasks they need to perform on a daily basis to be nearly identical.
If I had to point to the most outstanding achievements in this release of Office, I would name Outlook and the return of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). Although the Mac version of Outlook doesn't have every single feature as the PC version, at least Mac users are fully integrated into systems that use Exchange Server now. Programmers who use VBA to design full-blown applications that sit on top of Office are ecstatic about VBA's return. Office 2008 for Mac dropped VBA completely, making all previously designed VBA applications useless.