Office For Mac

HighTechDad on How to Own the Office with Office for Mac 2011

Today, we’re excited to share a blog post from technology blogger, social media pundit and avid Office for Mac user, Michael Sheehan. Otherwise known throughout the inter-webs as “HighTechDad,” he has personally blogged about technology for many years, providing product reviews of hardware and software, as well as writing fixes, tutorials and other tips and tricks. Read on as Michael discusses his favorite Office for Mac 2011 features and how improvements to the suite’s compatibility and Exchange connection allow him to be more productive in the workplace…

Owning the Office with Office for Mac 2011

Working in the technology industry, it’s important that the documents I create and share with my teammates are compatible. Compatibility with my workflow allows me to integrate with the services my company uses like MS Exchange and for my colleagues to open and read the docs the way I created them. I’m happy to say, for me Office for Mac 2011 gives me the Office experience I’ve needed without compromise.

When I started using Office for Mac 2011, the first thing that got my attention was the fact that Entourage was no longer part of the mix and had been replaced with Outlook. Outlook has been in the PC side of the Office Suite for years and Mac users either had to use some sort of a virtualization solution to use Outlook for the PC or some other type of client to hook in to Microsoft Exchange server. And those “hooks” frequently were more like “hacks” and didn’t give you true Exchange integration. You couldn’t look up schedules, do full calendaring or address book lookups and in many cases, your IT administrator had to enable IMAP so that you could do a kludgy folder mapping. It was not a good integration. That was pre-Office for Mac 2011. Now with Outlook, which was built from the ground up for the Mac, you don’t have to worry about not being able to manage your calendar for starters, and the integration is pretty extensive. And there are a lot of other nifty features to make Office for Mac 2011 very compelling in the workplace. 

One feature in Outlook that I particularly like is the conversation threading of email messages. While I tend to leave many of my emails in my inbox, sometimes, when I’m really inspired, I actually do file some emails in folders, especially if they are related to a big project. In the past, it was quite difficult to truly follow the conversation threads. That is to say, you may have some auto-filtering and filing rules that move some messages to particular folders based on their sender or subject or the content of the message (e.g., I have all emails from my boss automatically go into a folder with his name on it). Well, if there is a particular thread or conversation that has emails filed in a variety of folders across your email environment, in the past, it was very difficult to find all of those related emails. Now with Office for Mac 2011 and Outlook, you simply set up your view to have Conversations enabled and when you click on a particular conversation, you see ALL emails related to that conversation, regardless of the folder it may be in (e.g., SENT folder, INBOX, named folder, etc.). Essentially, Outlook does the organization for you. This is such a great feature for me as I sometimes organize my emails when I’m so inspired and other times, when I’m lazy, I simply leave them in the Inbox.

So, for me, the completely “created from the ground up” version of Outlook is a huge reason for doing an upgrade. But my reasons don’t stop there. Next to Outlook, Microsoft Word is my second most used application within the Office suite. And it too has gotten a pretty good rework. One thing that I particularly like is the new visual styles. With this feature turned on, I can quickly look through a document to see all of the sections that have similar styles or formatting applied. Frequently I am the guy at work who receives documents to make them look “nicer”. Visual styles lets me get consistency in the document much faster, quickly creating professional looking documents. 

Another feature of Office for Mac 2011 that made some heads turn in my workplace was the full screen view in Word. When I click a button, all of the potentially distracting toolbars and menu bars just fade into the background and the full focus of your attention is the content of your Word document. This is something that many Mac users will feel much more comfortable with as it is becoming more popular in many applications that are on the Mac. Otherwise known as the “lightbox effect”, your focus is intentionally set on the work at hand and not at the distracting peripheral items that frequently get in the way when you are working. Allowing for a clutter-free environment helps you focus on your work and not on getting distracted by other times. 

Also, when I use Excel now, I can enjoy many of the features that are currently available in its sibling, Office 2010 for the PC. Conditional formatting, Sparklines and an enhanced charting feature bring all of my Excel documents up to par with my PC counterparts. Creating budget graphs, for example, now really leap out on the page as those happy green areas bounce out at you while the red ones (e.g., when the numbers are negative), unfortunately shout out as well. And if you don’t want to create a full-fledged chart, that is where Sparklines come into play, allowing you to create mini-graphs in-line with your data sets.

Lastly, PowerPoint’s make-over allows me to create even more compelling presentations. While content is king, you always have to have a way to keep your audience attentive and listening to what you are presenting. Animations and transitions within the Mac version of PowerPoint allow me to get my points across in style, and I really couldn’t live without the revamped presenter practice function which lets me set my timing and practice my delivery to truly fine-tune my pitches.

There are some other great features of Office for Mac 2011 that I discuss in this post as well. Office for Mac 2011 has allowed me to increase my productivity through its solid integration with Microsoft Services and overall performance updates. I realize I’m preaching a little, but when you find something that helps with your daily tasks, you can’t help but talk about it!

-Michael Sheehan, technology blogger,

December 14th, 2010
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  1. Want Sync Now says:

    “you don’t have to worry about not being able to manage your calendar for starters” — That’s because calendars are useless without sync capabilities.

  2. Larry says:

    Are you a luddite or the only one in the world that isn’t shocked by the fact that the calendar doesn’t sync? I fell sorry for anyone that reads your blog, spends their hard earned money on Office on 2011, wastes 4 hours trying to get the calendar to sync and then realises MS shipped a product without a key function. Without calendar sync, Office 2011 is junk. I regret buying it. You must be on the MS payroll to be participating in this cover up.

  3. Michael Sheehan says:

    I just thought that I would give some background to my post, I have only used Outlook in conjunction with a business environment and not with personal account so I haven’t encountered the issues with calendar sync. This post is focused on my personal experience in a corporate environment and integrating with Exchange Server so I realize your experience may differ. However, I know Microsoft is working on a solution. I’m definitely going to watch how this evolves. Thanks for the comments.

  4. Larry says:

    I am running a business too. By choice, I don’t use Exchange. The lack of sync is a major, major omission. MS should have worked on the solution before they shipped. I run a consulting advisory business. If I provided services like Office 2011 to my clients, I would go broke! Don’t buy into the MS is working on a solution story. It sounds like it was a surprise. They knew it was an issue, but shipped anyway. Reviews like this that ignore the major fault only perpetuate the crime.

  5. Office for Mac Team says:

    Hi Larry – Thanks for your comments. Michael’s review is based on his own experience and is not intended to reflect the opinions of other user Office for Mac users. We appreciate you sharing your feedback, that’s what the blog is for. As a reminder, our current plan for adding Sync Service capabilities can be found here:

  6. Helen Crozier says:

    The problem with reviews like this is people may do what I did – and I am not a ‘luddite’…. I read some reviews of MAC Outlook 2011 and was so excited at the thought of being able to finally use it again since changing to my far more productive macbook that I blindly omitted to see any information about it not syncing the calendar to anything unless you are on Exchange.

    This is completely outrageous and all reviews like this one should have noted in a prominent place that this product is basically useless in it’s current form until the update provides sync. Thousands of small businesses and individuals who do not run Exchange will be affected by this omission and I believe that anyone who bought it with the intention of being able to use Outlook should be compensated for – like Larry I spent half a day in disbelief scouring the internet for a solution only to find that we will get that ‘some time in the future’.

    Please anyone who comments on this blog continue to voice your concerns in as many places as possible if you are dissatisfied with the product. I do not wish anyone in our situation to be purchasing a product that should not have gone to the shelves.



  7. Lou says:

    Top five outlook huge blasts:

    1) No possibility to request a receipt (entourage option: Disposition-Notificatio-To)
    2) No option: ”after send move the message to folder….’
    3) No address book name matching with incoming (and outgoing) email messages
    4) No scripts availability: (File Reply in Same Folder X, Same Names Finder, Set Reply Category, Set Sent Message Category
    5) no calendar syncing!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Michael Sheehan says:


    I totally agree with you. However, please understand my situation. My goal with my review was not to write a end-to-end analysis of each and every feature and function that was new or updated. That would take pages and pages of writing. Also, when I write reviews or commentary on software or hardware, I try NOT to read what others have written so that I can write completely unbiased by other people’s opinions.

    To that end, as I already have a different solution to sync and I ONLY use Outlook within a corporate environment where everything is handled through our Exchange Server, I had no way of knowing about the sync issue. Granted, had I made Outlook my primary email/calendaring/contacts option for my Mac, I definitely would have encountered that. But again, there was just one use case that I was pursuing in doing my article, that of within a Exchange-enabled workplace.

    I do think it is important for all companies to be transparent when there are issues similar to these. Take the Gawker password fiasco that is going on. While a real pain in the butt, they are disclosing what happened and other companies who are proactive, are advising their customers to change their passwords. While I don’t know what Microsoft is doing to address the sync issue in terms of timing, I’m sure it will be resolved and they have made it clear that they are resolving. Whether it should have been disclosed from the beginning is another topic altogether.


  9. Octavio says:

    I have outlook 2011. I was importing my .pst file and an error ocurred.
    Outlook program closed and since then I cannot open it anymore.
    Can someone help me?

  10. BASEL says:

    Thank you for the program

  11. Office for Mac Team says:

    Hi Octavio – Sorry to hear you’re having issues. Can you provide a little more detail so we can try to help you out? Maybe these tips will help on our Help & How-To site on importing PST files:

  12. Lissam Chang says:

    Hi guys if i want to learn mac office 2011, how can i find some resources. because i can’t find any books in this web site

    Any input will be appreciated.
    If you need more information , please let me know.

    And you can send sms in my ocs

    Best regards,
    Lissam chang

  13. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Lissam Chang We saw your post on our Facebook wall and have answered you there. But you can find plenty of helpful resources on the How-to section of our site, here: Also, It’s worth checking out our blog for updates on the new suite as well:

  14. Lissam Chang says:

    @Office for Mac
    if i want join “http://autogroup/” inside web.
    i need search for groups or people and the keywords is?

  15. Jake Cobra says:

    Please, give us Calendar Sync and OneNote!!!
    Why didn’t MS port OneNote to Mac?

  16. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Lissam Chang Do you mind clarifying your question a little? Are you trying to join a group on our website?

  17. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Jake Cobra We hear you. We’re expecting to bring you calendar sync in the first half of 2011, but are just focusing on the new suite at this time which does not include OneNote. We’ll let you know when we have more to share.

  18. JRP says:

    Really like the new Office for Mac 2011, but hugely disappointed that OneNote is not part of the suite. Notebook view just does not compare with OneNote. Office for Mac 2011 is a great improvement [well done, Mactopia team] but in terms of productivity and integration it won’t be complete or completely useful unless OneNote is included. You have a whole Mac market out here just waiting for that to happen. No Mac product competes on the same level as OneNote in Windows suite.

  19. Hany says:

    Why don’t you guys support Arabic Language in Office?

  20. Barry says:

    How do I create a simple project folder in outlook for mac that I can slide emails, word docs, images, etc. into. The folders ONLY RECEIVE EMAILS, which is not acceptable.

    I have been using outlook for years, as have millions of others that use these folders for their projects. This edition is bogus if it does not allow everyone to make folders to work with on a daily basis.


    Thank you!

  21. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Hany Office for Mac 2011 doesn’t fully support RTL because of technology limitations on the text input tools.

  22. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Barry Unfortunately, the same Project Center that was included in Entourage is no longer in Outlook for Mac 2011. However Outlook has multiple features that you can use to organize projects check them out here:

  23. Robert says:

    can someone please explain why the reviews of Offic 2011 for Mac on the Mac forums are excortiating (meaning: they say the product is terrible)? I’d like to purchase a mac, but am concerned necessary support for Word, Excel and especially archived Outlook folders will fail. How can I be confident?

  24. alexander degwitz says:

    I recently migrated from PC to mac, bought a macbook air that comes without a DVD drive. I bought Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 at the same apple store assuming that I could install the program from the web. As per instructions I went to in search of office for mac 2011 download, to find that the only way to download is to buy it again and now i am with a mac which I can not use and am not close to a store to buy the external drive. Can anyone help me figure out how to install this application from the web? I need help!

  25. Roy Emperingham says:

    I am so frustrated with MAC Office. I have loaded it a couple of times and Outlook will not open on my MAC pro. Why????????????????? The Excell, Powerpoint and word work.

  26. Roy Emperingham says:

    I also want to add that the Microsoft support for this product is does not exist at all.

    There is not way to get support from them unless you are prepared to pay a lot of money. Terrible dissappointed

  27. afp says:

    Re.: The Office Suite for Mac 2011
    I believe it was released a bit early. The Word portion of the suite is horrible; it does not do what it needs to do compared to the previous version. I cannot ‘group’ images (it just won’t highlight the option), I cannot insert an basic line arrow (I don’t want a cartoonish arrow on my figures). And, it crashes. I want my toolbox back! I can only imagine the problems I’m going to have with the PPT and Excel suite components.

  28. Simon says:

    I have just purchased Office for Mac 2011, I can send emails but cannot receive them. The Mac is new and so is the software.

    I can send and receive from my Laptop that runs Windows XP.

    Any clues?

  29. Jeannie G says:

    I recently bought a new Mac Air and erroneously thought I could continue sharing calendar events with my office assistance who is running a PC. It has taken me days to discover that there is no syncing possibilities for the calendar now between the two machines. I am forced to go back to a PC environment to keep my business appointments up to date. How could Microsoft and the Mac team eliminate such an important part of the program without offering a solution???????? Not all offices function the same way so not everyone uses the same features, but to arbitrarily eliminate one without another option is irresponsible. And in typical MS fashion….release an incomplete product and try to fix it later. I thought I could get away from MS by getting a Mac. What a myth that is.

  30. Chris says:

    I just upgraded to Word 2011 v. 14.0.2 and I am still unable to insert a custom footnote! I go to Insert -> Footnote -> Custom mark -> Symbol and choose, for example, the + sign. However, Word inserts the number 1, not a + sign.

    Please help. I’ve reported this error 2 months ago and it has still not been fixed!

  31. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Roy Emperingham Did you purchase the Home & Student or the Home & Business edition? Unfortunately Home & Student doesn’t come with Outlook, but you can step up from within the software to purchase Outlook for only $99.

  32. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Simon We’re here to help. Do you receive an error message when you can’t receive mail? Take a look at this thread from our forum for helpful tips and let us know if that helps:

  33. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Chris Have you tried changing the number format? Try our tips here and let us know if you’re still having trouble. If so we’ll start a thread on our forum for you to receive help:

  34. Rob Calhoun says:

    @alexander degwitz: to install software from a DVD onto a MacBook air, you need another computer with a DVD drive.

    If that computer is a Mac, go to System Prefs -> Sharing and enable “DVD or CD Sharing”. Put the disk into the machine with the drive; if it and the MacBook Air are on the same subnet (same local network) the DVD will mount on the MacBook Air.

    If that computer is a Windows machine, you need to install software from Apple. See .

  35. Chris Hutcheson says:

    Let’s see…if I owned the office with Office 2011, specifically Outlook, I’d be out of business. Crashes regularly, doesn’t sync calendars, can’t handle IMAP, loses some of the most useful features of Entourage, takes ridiculous amount of time to display new messages, and I’m sure there are more little “ownership” issues I haven’t discovered yet.

    Too bad nobody beta tested this thing.

    And to top it off, this site doesn’t seem to work with Firefox, and I get a 500 internal server error when I try to post this message, Quality all around!

  36. Chris says:

    @Office for Mac Team: The Number Format is independent of Custom Footnotes. In other words, Custom Footnote doesn’t rely on the Number Format. Please try to replicate this problem yourself. Everyone I know with Office 2011 (other 40 people), have the exact same problem! All of them have different Macs.

  37. Chris says:

    @Office for Mac Team: Here is the forum thread regarding this unresolved, critical bug:

  38. Chris says:

    @Office for Mac Team: Here is an email from Microsoft Tech Support from 3/3/2011.

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for requesting support for Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac. My name is Paul and I will be working with you to address your questions.

    Your case number is xxxxxxx774. Please keep this number for your records in case you need to reference this request in the future.

    As I see from your original email, when you create a custom footnote the symbol is being turned to a number.

    I was able to test this issue and I have received the same results. I then tested this issue on multiple computers running different versions of the Mac OS and received the exact same results. Thank you for reporting this issue to us. Our developers have been made aware of it. We don’t have any information whether this will be resolved and when. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

    Thank you,
    Paul B
    Microsoft Technical Support

  39. Mike says:

    My Two Questions and Feedback for a users questions.

    1. Mac MS Outlook 2011 edition – TASK data entry problem looking to see if anyone has an answer to my problem.

    2. Are there any MS Outlook users groups, forums in Boston, NE Area ?

    – I have tried multiple times entering – NEW TASKS in Mac Outlook 2011 but I can’t see any of the entries.

    What I done so far -

    - Entered 20 (twenty) – NEW TASKS with no luck.
    - Used the Help SEARCH from MS Outlook to no avail.
    - The Internet search couldn’t solve my problem, unable enter- NEW TASK entries.
    - Tried calling MS Technical Support a second time but are closed.

    Does anyone have any NEW suggestions I haven’t tried ?

    Feedback to follow up on previous a users problems.

    I to recently purchased MS Outlook 2011 for Mac Business edition.
    Primarily for an address list and enter TASKS, to do list.

    I originally had the same problem as described by another user not see and able to open up & view Outlook.

    I could view and enter data in Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

    I called MS Technical Support – FOR FREE – (today) 01-16-11, MS technical support was extremely helpful and as mentioned by user incorrectly by the user MS technical support did NOT asked for any money. If you have little patients as I have in the past then consider inviting a computer person friend to try helping you out as I did when calling MS technical support so that two head are better than one.

    Hope to hear back for my TASK questions and forum question ?

    Thank You !

  40. Mjbiber says:

    Status of fixes to office?
    And why continue to sell a program that does not work as advertised?

  41. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Mike Thanks for all your feedback. We’ve started a thread for you on our forum here: to address your “New Tasks” question. Let us know if you’re still having problems.

  42. Jerard says:

    just implemented Mac Office 11 on a new Mac Pro; have not been able to resolve how to successfully migrate my XP-based Outlook Contacts list (which is quite extensive). Tried export vcf files, imports only name and phone # – nothing else. Cannot import .msg or oft files either.

  43. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Jerard We’ve started a thread for you on our forum here: Please check there for support from the MVPs and other users.

  44. Don R says:

    Why did MS drop the Journal component of Outlook? I’ve used the PC version of Outlook in my work for many years and the Journal has become an integral part of our record-keeping. Can’t understand why the Home-Business version of Mac Office 2011 does not include it!

    Also, why was the “resend” e-mail option dropped?

  45. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Don You can leave a note for our developers here: and let them know you’re missing Journal and “resend”.

  46. Terry Harris says:

    I generally have no problem transferring files by email attachment using Office for Mac. I have one odd exception, however, and that is when I send files to myself from one of my Dell laptops running Office for Windows. Whenever I email a file attachment from my Dell it shows up on my MacBook Pro as a “.dat” file that I then am unable to open. Be it a Word, an Excell, an Acrobat pdf document, it doesn’t matter. All documents emailed from my Dell to myself end up converted on my MacBook Pro to a “.dat” formatted file.

    What’s odd is that I can email that very same document to a third party, who in turn emails it back to me, and it will retain its original format when I then open it on my MacBook Pro.

    I am running the most current version of Office for Mac (2011) on my MacBook Pro, as I just bought it a month ago. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks!!