Office For Mac

Office for Mac 2011: A Step-up in Performance

Now that Office for Mac 2011 has been available for a little while, I wanted to talk about some of the work we put into the product that you don’t see but experience every time you use it.  You should have noticed by now that Office 2011 is significantly faster than previous versions. There’s a lot of work that went into the product to achieve these performance gains and I thought I’d share some details on what we did and why.

The first thing to ask is “what is performance?” When it comes to software, we’re not talking about interpretive dance.  Rather, it’s the perception of how fast the software reacts to user input. Perception is the key factor here – although absolute raw time is a critical part of measuring speed, as I’ll discuss later it’s not the primary target result.  We measure performance relative to human expectations. Although it’s handy to measure relative to previous versions of the product and to competitor products, those comparisons simply feed into our overall goal of meeting, or better yet, exceeding user expectations.  We don’t tie performance expectations to things like hardware upgrades – a lazy approach to performance is to say “well, it’s fast enough on a new system and everyone is upgrading anyway” – the demands of modern software experiences are continually rising and hardware never quite catches up!  We’d rather say “If you want a faster version of Office, buy this new version for $149, not a whole new Mac for +$1000.”

Research has shown that there are several key characterizations of performance – “instantaneous” (0.1 – 0.2 seconds), “immediate” (0.5 – 1 second), and “longer” (2-5 seconds or more).  Human beings expect actions to generate results within these groupings.  For example, we’re conditioned to expect results from clicking on a button to happen instantly, so things feel slow if a button click doesn’t provide a result within a few tenths of a second.  “Longer” response times cover the threshold by which we expect some kind of response – anything longer than a few seconds with no measurable response and we start to imagine that the computer either didn’t register our command or is perhaps in a hung state.

Have you ever clicked on a button, gotten no visible response, clicked on it again, and suddenly had the computer react to two clicks?  That’s the “perception” and “expected response” conditioning taking hold in your brain. You may have already seen ways that various parts of the Mac OS or iOS provide visible feedback to indicate or smooth over delays. When you launch an app in OS X, the app’s icon bounces in the dock to indicate that the OS is in the process of launching the app and it may take a little while.  In Mobile Mail in iOS, when you delete an email message the screen visibly squishes and drains the message to the trash can. That small animation is a cue to you that the OS is acting on your command; the OS can also do some processing in the background while the animation is occurring, like talk to your email server.

With Office for Mac 2011, we had a team-wide effort dedicated to improving the raw and perceived performance of the suite.  We started off defining what we called “KPIs” or Key Performance Indicators.  These were a series of procedures such as boot time, Excel recalc time, Word page rendering, Outlook message syncing, where our raw performance and visual cues were mismatched – the operations took longer to complete than the cues successfully communicated and so users had the perception that Office was slow. We focused on reducing the raw amount of time that each key performance scenario took to run and worked out the sort of visuals necessary to communicate the operation status. Our focus was to get the features working correctly and then work on optimizing the code.  We didn’t simply guess at what areas were slow or try to optimize for a theoretical scenario; instead we used a variety of tools from the crude accuracy of a handheld stopwatch to detailed performance logs in Apple’s Instruments app to start/stop markers in the code to measure performance over and over and over again throughout the development cycle for Office 2011.

All these investigations pointed to key areas across the suite where we should invest in improvements.  We generated ordering files to tell the linker the best order for code so that the OS could load and run boot-time code in a straight line, rather than seeking all over the hard drive to find each function as it was needed. We built a cache for commonly used strings to avoid having to seek through thousands of strings for commonly used controls. We identified code that wasn’t needed in most scenarios and made it load on demand instead of linking to it directly, thereby avoiding having the OS page it in on boot.  We added threading to parallelize tasks, and pushed more PowerPoint animations and slide-show rendering to hardware-based operations.  We even replaced specific bits of compiled source code with handwritten assembly to eliminate processor stalls due to less-than-optimal code generation from gcc.  Some individual changes cut over 2 seconds from launch time, but we tracked things as small as a few tens-of-milliseconds – as we got the big issues fixed each smaller performance optimization made a larger percentage gain in boot speed.  Fixing ten issues at 30-40ms each removes a full third of a second of time spent doing an operation and that can make the difference between whether an action feels instantaneous or not!

So, how did we do?  Let me show you!  Here are two simple videos of Excel 2011 launch and recalc as compared directly to Excel 2008. (Pardon the rather low production quality; I took these with my iPhone this afternoon with the help of Olof, another developer in MacBU.)  These tests were run on identical first-generation 17” iMacs with 2GB of RAM and OS X 10.6.5:

We ran lots of profiles ourselves, but for the final release our friends over at MacTech Magazine ran some benchmarks, and I think they pretty clearly demonstrate the across-the-board performance gains.    We are excited with the improvements we’ve made in Office 2011. However, we’re not done yet.  For 2011 we focused on some of the highest impact areas such as boot but we see performance improvement as a permanent mission for us – we’ll be continuing to invest time and tools into making Office the fastest productivity suite on the Mac as we continue to deliver on our commitment to the platform.

Erik Schwiebert – Senior Development Lead, Microsoft MacBU 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
November 17th, 2010
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54 Comments
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  1. Enrique Garcia says:

    Hey… no need to show me! I can feel the performance all over the product!

  2. Janice says:

    This version is great! For the next round, how about Publisher compatibility and a simple database (not Access, please, a simple one!).

  3. Henri Langeveldt says:

    I purchased Office for MAC 2008 in August and loaded the program. I have no downloaded my 2011 upgrade. Can I now delete the 2008 version, since it is taking up a lot of storage space?

  4. Chief Magua says:

    How about a real improvement and get sync “really” working in Outlook? Yup, I had to ask…

    Chief

  5. Chief Magua says:

    How about a real “improvement” and get iCal sync working in Outlook? Without that it really is a crippled program. Just for discussion sake, how many Office 2011 users use an Apple iPhone as a mobile personal organizer/calendar Ap? Lack of a reliable, quick and easy sync makes upgrading from 2008 to 2011 problematic – and yes, I know you can “drag and drop” from Outlook to iCal – but not quick and easy and without issues.

    Chief

  6. Raffi says:

    All these optimizations are appreciated, and I definitely noticed improvements with 2011, but any word on when the whole suite will go native Cocoa? From my understanding, right now only Outlook was written from the ground up for this release, while the rest of the suite is still on Carbon.

    • Mac Mojo Team says:

      Hi Raffi – Apple’s frameworks require us to complete the move to Cocoa before we can build a 64-bit version, find out more from our blogpost on Cocoa use in Office for Mac 2011 here: http://bit.ly/c2b3ob

  7. services office says:

    services office

  8. Wayne says:

    All good and well BUT when can I sync my calendar with my iPhone???

  9. Debojyoti Das says:

    Erik,

    Just heard that Office 2011 is written in Carbon instead of Cocoa. Just wanted to ask, what prevents Microsoft from Cocoa? And where’s the 64Bit support? The afore-mentioned techniques do well, but won’t 64Bit be much more cost effective and Apple’s standard compliant?
    Best, Debojyoti.

    • Mac Mojo Team says:

      Outlook for Mac 2011 and the new user interface elements in Office for Mac 2011 such as the ribbon are built on Cocoa. We like using Cocoa because it makes it easier to do what the MacBU specializes in: marrying Microsoft software and services to the look and feel Mac users want. Unfortunately Office 2011 is 32-bit only, you can find out more on our blogpost about the use of Cocoa in Office 2011 here: http://bit.ly/c2b3ob

  10. cremes says:

    My business partner and I do quite a bit of work in Excel. He created a very complex spreadsheet in Excel 2007 (Windows) that contained thousands of rows, complex formulas and cross-linked worksheets. On his machine, changing a “master cell” causes a complete recalc of everything. The recalc is essentially instantaneous.

    On my Mac Pro, I was running Excel 2008. Modifying the *exact* same spreadsheet resulted in a recalc that took upwards of 40 seconds. This made double-checking his work very difficult and tedious.

    I recently upgraded to 2011. The recalc now takes about 2 seconds which is fantastic. I *really* appreciate the effort and look forward to performance parity with the Windows versions. Thank you!

  11. Jim Thomforde says:

    Office 2011 is quite an improvement on the MAC and most welcome. My frustration comes with the limited sync capabilities with Outlook. When can we expect improvements with the Calendar, Tasks and Notes.

  12. Michael Osterman says:

    I have actually found Outlook 2011 to be a bit more sluggish than Entourage 2008 in a couple of ways: a) email takes longer to download when first starting up Outlook (~3 minutes in Outlook vs. 10 seconds in Entourage), and b) dragging and dropping seems a bit slower in Outlook.

    Also, I have noticed what I think is a bug: I can drag and drop an attachment into a new email message, but cannot do so when replying to an email.

    Overall, Office 2011 is a very nice upgrade, but my Outlook experience is slightly disappointing.

  13. Jay says:

    Lack of sync capability with ical/ google calendar is disappointing.

  14. ROBERT says:

    I disagree with most of the posts. While Excell and Word did improve, Powerpoint keeps crashing constantly and Outlook ’11 is the worst piece of software I have ever owned. I switched back to the already crippled entourage because I have been forced to rebuild my database on a daily basis and no to mention the fact that the transition from Office ’08 to Office ’11 was a pain in the neck!
    Every day with “office” is a constant reminder of why I LOVE my Mac!

  15. Steven says:

    Office for Mac 2011 is the most half baked version of a software product I have ever seen released. I was using Outlook 2003 on my PC and recently bought a Mac. I was also using a Black Berry with Outlook 2003 and was happy with the sync of the contacts, calendar and email and tasks. I moved my Office PC .pst file over to my Mac and this is where the nightmare began. Calendar entries do not sync because Microsoft has not set it up to do so. The formatting on the notes associated with my contacts lost the hard breaks and formatting. The task list now has a handful of emails in it. My tasks are gone. Emails did not sync in the contacts.

    The customer service reps finally admitted that the this version of Office for Mac had huge deficiencies. I think this boarders on consumer fraud. This product was advertised as Office for Mac. One would assume the capabilities would be similar to the PC version. The is a blatant misrepresentation and warrants examination by a consumer fraud attorney. Perhaps a class action suit.

  16. Michael Riley says:

    Please issue an update for Entourage 2008-Mac 12.2.7 It seriously crashes every 10minutes…I am ready to walk away forever

  17. Jane says:

    I agree with Robert – this software has caused me nothing but grief. It didn’t copy over all my Entourage data and I had to rebuild all my signatures, it started to crash a couple of times, then wanted to rebuild the database about a hundred times before I gave up and had to get someone in to fix it for me costing me time and money. It is slow, has made my other programs run slower and is so anti-intuitive, it is driving me nuts – why can’t I do a soft return in my emails? I tried to register with Mactopia to find an answer but I couldn’t even do that – the registration window just kept popping back a gazillion times.

  18. Matthew says:

    I find it ironic that you “Microsoft”, would take the credit for this product ,”Office 2011″ being so much faster. The ONLY reason that it is faster is you finally provided a product built on the same code base as the OS it is intended to run on. If you really want to impress instead of just operate under the same Microsoft Agenda, you should have not released this product without full support for iCal and contact syncing with MobileMe and other products. I mean you made the product for MAC users and you forgot that a majority use MobileMe and other services besides exchange, are you kidding me? This is the very reason why you are loosing so much market share to Apple in the first place, how about provide a product that is worthy of it’s users base instead of the same of thing. A little innovation goes a long way and it would benefit you to pay attention to the customer base or the customer base will stop paying attention to you and your bottom line.

  19. HankF says:

    Performance of the software is good, as long as you don’t want to sync to Iphone, Ipad, or Google calendar or you don’t want to use footnotes or end notes. Seems like the software performs better than the programmers, testers, and managers who let this software out in an unfinished state.

  20. Chris says:

    Launch speed of Outlook is still very slow. Word, Excel and PowerPoint have improved. MacBook Pro with 2.5 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB of RAM and at 500 GB 7200 rpm HD. Mac OS 10.6.5

  21. George Stein says:

    I have MS Office for Mac 2008, v12.2.6, on my MacBook — bought with the MacBook back in the Spring of 09. Just bought Office for Mac 2011 Home & Business.
    Curious whether the new version, with Outlook, will access all my Entourage contacts (8,000+) and e-mails (11,000+) by itself or is there some sort of migration that has to be performed. If so, does the system prompt for it? If not, how does one accomplish it? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
    And, assuming this is all done and I’m working on the Office 2011, what happens to Office 2008? I’m reluctant to get rid of it without knowing I’ll never need it again.
    Cheers,
    –George

  22. David Donaghy says:

    In Office for Mac 2008, I have vast workbook with 25 worksheets, tens of thousands or cells with complex formulas all interlinked, using Lookup tables, conditional formatting etc. When I try to Copy & Paste more than about 100 cells, I get and out of memory error. This is dispite having over 3 GB of RAM unused.
    Will Office 2011 allow me to utilize that extra RAM?

  23. Jeff Steinmetz says:

    I too don’t understand why drag and drop of files (as attachments) onto an email does not work. It worked fine in Entourage (as well as most other email apps).

    Please fix a feature that previously was available.

  24. btrobertson says:

    I installed Office for Mac 2011 a couple of weeks ago…

    The splash screens pulled my old Company data from somewhere (strange, because I did not own this Mac there).

    Is there a way to edit the data on the splash screen ? It is VERY annoying, especially since that Company was not my favorite.

    Also I have been working with Comcast … Outlook does not work with their exchange servers and I have to use it as IMAP client, which defeats the purpose of Outlook

  25. MB says:

    I bought Office 11 for mac and have an annoying problem that didn’t exist in 2008, and that is for right to left languages. It works properly in the individual words, but the next word is in the wrong position (ie as though it were being read left to right). Please help. I now have to reinstall the 2008 so that I can use word.

  26. MK says:

    While office 2011 offers some minor performance increases over the very slow office 2008, on the whole it is still markedly slower and bloated compared to native mac applications. Having even the fastest mac pro available does not offer any performance increase over basic macbook performance when running this program suite.

  27. HP12C says:

    Two issues with Outlook:

    1) The UI is too cluttered, especially for laptops with limited vertical space. Please allow the “ribbon” to be customized and offer more customization on the toolbar.

    2) Stability. I’ve to rebuild the database several times per week.

    Thanks.

  28. Kristen says:

    Our entire office is experiencing significant performance issues with Excel, Outlook, and Word. In Excel, It takes forever to go from one open spreadsheet to another (both are open, simply using the mouse to click to the other one), to the point that it is so laborious and infuriating, and then Excel randomly, and frequently, quits. In Outlook, the app quits constantly. In Word, the app quits constantly, especially when working on documents with tracked changes, which is typically how we use word.

    We’re running OS 10.5.8, and either Office 10.0.0 or 10.0.4

    Any suggestions?

  29. Mark says:

    in excel 2011 when using placing a border around a cell and selecting the thinnest (hairline) style the line shows up on the screen and prints like a bunch of dots. This is much different from 2008. Yet in Word 2011 there is an added feature for box styles and line widths to allow for 1/2 or 1/4 hairline widths which works quite fine. Why is this feature not provided in excel to allow for hairline borders/lines, etc.

    definitely missed.

  30. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Kristen When the applications crash, are they giving you error messages or codes? If you can provide a little more information, we can help set up a thread on our Office for Mac product forum (found here: http://bit.ly/beJUaP) to get to the bottom of your issues. Also, make sure you’re using the most updated software possible. To find out if you need an update, click here: http://bit.ly/hxqyjc. Sorry you’re having trouble!

  31. Thomas says:

    Word 2011 for MAC is constantly crashing……. Especially checking recently used files or clicking on the “Help” menu item in the toolbar.
    Here are the error codes

    Microsoft Error Reporting log version: 2.0

    Error Signature:
    Exception: EXC_CRASH (SIGTRAP)
    Date/Time: 2011-01-19 13:55:04 +1100
    Application Name: Microsoft Word
    Application Bundle ID: com.microsoft.Word
    Application Signature: MSWD
    Application Version: 14.0.2.101115
    Crashed Module Name: merp
    Crashed Module Version: 2.2.4.101115
    Crashed Module Offset: 0x00003ce2
    Blame Module Name: MicrosoftComponentPlugin
    Blame Module Version: 14.0.2.101115
    Blame Module Offset: 0×00060551
    Application LCID: 1033
    Extra app info: Reg=en Loc=0×0409
    Crashed thread: 0

    Thread 0 crashed:

    # 1 0x46caece2 in _MerpCreateSession + 0x000015E3 (merp + 0x00003ce2)
    # 2 0x94ac046b in __sigtramp + 0x0000002B (libSystem.B.dylib + 0x0006746b)
    # 3 0xffffffff in ( + 0×00000000)
    # 4 0x4681b551 in _McpMruDisplayInitialize + 0x00000AA8 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0×00060551)
    # 5 0x4681b298 in _McpMruDisplayInitialize + 0x000007EF (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0×00060298)
    # 6 0x4681ac42 in _McpMruDisplayInitialize + 0×00000199 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x0005fc42)
    # 7 0x4681ab2c in _McpMruDisplayInitialize + 0×00000083 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x0005fb2c)
    # 8 0x448f5c4a in __mh_execute_header + 0x002DDC4A (Microsoft Word + 0x002ddc4a)
    # 9 0x4467668b in __mh_execute_header + 0x0005E68B (Microsoft Word + 0x0005e68b)
    # 10 0x44675ea7 in __mh_execute_header + 0x0005DEA7 (Microsoft Word + 0x0005dea7)
    # 11 0×44675722 in __mh_execute_header + 0x0005D722 (Microsoft Word + 0x0005d722)
    # 12 0×44674946 in __mh_execute_header + 0x0005C946 (Microsoft Word + 0x0005c946)
    # 13 0x46f797e0 in _MsoFDocSumGetBool + 0x0000026F (MicrosoftOffice + 0x000577e0)
    # 14 0x467d99ae in MHILayoutSubView::~MHILayoutSubView() + 0×00001104 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x0001e9ae)
    # 15 0x467d8f8d in MHILayoutSubView::~MHILayoutSubView() + 0x000006E3 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x0001df8d)
    # 16 0x467db990 in _MsoPwchStripWtz + 0x00000C4F (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0×00020990)
    # 17 0x467db8c4 in _MsoPwchStripWtz + 0x00000B83 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x000208c4)
    # 18 0x4a55e786 in MenuLib::TMenu::CallPopulationProcs(unsigned char) + 0x0000048E (MicrosoftMenuLibrary + 0x0000d786)
    # 19 0x4a55e396 in MenuLib::TMenu::CallPopulationProcs(unsigned char) + 0x0000009E (MicrosoftMenuLibrary + 0x0000d396)
    # 20 0x4a559df3 in MenuLib::CurrentMenuBarCreateIfNecessary(MenuLib::MMLMenuType) + 0×00001025 (MicrosoftMenuLibrary + 0x00008df3)
    # 21 0x4a559bff in MenuLib::CurrentMenuBarCreateIfNecessary(MenuLib::MMLMenuType) + 0x00000E31 (MicrosoftMenuLibrary + 0x00008bff)
    # 22 0x90e92ecf in DispatchEventToHandlers(EventTargetRec*, OpaqueEventRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x0000061F (HIToolbox + 0x00007ecf)
    # 23 0x90e92196 in SendEventToEventTargetInternal(OpaqueEventRef*, OpaqueEventTargetRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x0000019B (HIToolbox + 0×00007196)
    # 24 0x90e91ff5 in _SendEventToEventTargetWithOptions + 0x0000003A (HIToolbox + 0x00006ff5)
    # 25 0x90ededd6 in SendMenuPopulate(MenuData*, OpaqueEventTargetRef*, unsigned long, double, unsigned long, OpaqueEventRef*, unsigned char*) + 0×00000164 (HIToolbox + 0x00053dd6)
    # 26 0x90ede698 in SendMenuOpening(MenuSelectData*, MenuData*, double, unsigned long, __CFDictionary*, unsigned char, unsigned char*) + 0x0000010A (HIToolbox + 0×00053698)
    # 27 0x90ede1b7 in DrawTheMenu(MenuSelectData*, __CFArray**, unsigned char, unsigned char*) + 0×00000107 (HIToolbox + 0x000531b7)
    # 28 0x91086b91 in OpenSubmenu(MenuSelectData*, MenuData*, unsigned char, unsigned char*) + 0×00000102 (HIToolbox + 0x001fbb91)
    # 29 0x90edcf42 in TrackMenuCommon(MenuSelectData&, unsigned char*) + 0x0000080C (HIToolbox + 0x00051f42)
    # 30 0x90ed52bf in MenuSelectCore(MenuData*, Point, double, unsigned long, OpaqueMenuRef**, unsigned short*) + 0x0000013B (HIToolbox + 0x0004a2bf)
    # 31 0×91087997 in _MenuSelect + 0x000000BE (HIToolbox + 0x001fc997)
    # 32 0x468c19ef in _McpDispatchPendingEvents + 0x0000012E (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x001069ef)
    # 33 0x90e92ecf in DispatchEventToHandlers(EventTargetRec*, OpaqueEventRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x0000061F (HIToolbox + 0x00007ecf)
    # 34 0x90e92196 in SendEventToEventTargetInternal(OpaqueEventRef*, OpaqueEventTargetRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x0000019B (HIToolbox + 0×00007196)
    # 35 0x90eb4a07 in _SendEventToEventTarget + 0×00000034 (HIToolbox + 0x00029a07)
    # 36 0x90ec65e3 in ToolboxEventDispatcherHandler(OpaqueEventHandlerCallRef*, OpaqueEventRef*, void*) + 0×00000589 (HIToolbox + 0x0003b5e3)
    # 37 0x90e93320 in DispatchEventToHandlers(EventTargetRec*, OpaqueEventRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x00000A70 (HIToolbox + 0×00008320)
    # 38 0x90e92196 in SendEventToEventTargetInternal(OpaqueEventRef*, OpaqueEventTargetRef*, HandlerCallRec*) + 0x0000019B (HIToolbox + 0×00007196)
    # 39 0x90eb4a07 in _SendEventToEventTarget + 0×00000034 (HIToolbox + 0x00029a07)
    # 40 0×46801255 in McpAutoreleasePool::McpAutoreleasePool() + 0×00002977 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0×00046255)
    # 41 0x467fe8a4 in _McpRunApplicationEventLoop + 0×00000494 (MicrosoftComponentPlugin + 0x000438a4)
    # 42 0x4461b48a in __mh_execute_header + 0x0000348A (Microsoft Word + 0x0000348a)
    # 43 0x491d50db in __WlmMain + 0×00000061 (WLMKernel + 0x000090db)
    # 44 0x4461a845 in __mh_execute_header + 0×00002845 (Microsoft Word + 0×00002845)
    # 45 0x4461a7f6 in __mh_execute_header + 0x000027F6 (Microsoft Word + 0x000027f6)

    X86 Thread State:
    eax: 0x46caecd8 ebx: 0x46caebe5 ecx: 0xbfffbd1c edx:0x94a6d11a
    edi: 0x46cb8c08 esi: 0×00000007 ebp: 0xbfffbd98 esp:0xbfffbd50
    ss: 0x0000001f eip: 0x46caece2 cs: 0×00000017 ds:0x0000001f
    es: 0x0000001f fs: 0×00000000 gs: 0×00000037 eflags:0×00010206

  32. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Thomas We’ve started a thread for you on our forum here: http://bit.ly/glD7WO. Please check back there to see what our MVPs have to say about your error codes.

  33. Paul says:

    Echoing point above re need for re-introduction of soft-return in email text. This is really needed when there’s a long list with bullets, to distinguish bullet points. Otherwise Office 2011 generally a grreat improvement.

  34. Kristen says:

    @OfficeForMac team — typically we don’t receive any sort of code, rather just an error message that the application closed unexpectedly.

    I did poke around at some other forums and found some “fixes” that I’ve since applied, which include deleting various com.microsoft plists in Home/Library/Preferences (I have to re-install Office 2011 afterwards), as well as deleting my normal template.

    The plist tweak seemed to fix the Excel problem instantaneously, and helped with Word issue at first. However, after a little bit of time, I began to experience the same Word speed/response issues, so I tried another fix of changing the document to a Microsoft Word 97 – 04 .doc instead of the default current .docx. This has fixed my specific issue, but is an annoying workaround for any docs with issues.

    Other users in our office are still experiencing tremendous issues with the Excel and Word, some of which are resolved by the “fixes” that I listed above, and others haven’t seen any difference in performance.

    We are also experiencing a lot of issues with Outlook; tons of crashes, slow performance, and an proven lack of complete sync with our Exchange (2007) server.

    Any additional tips, or forums that you recommend?

    Thanks!

  35. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Paul Take a look at our forum and see if any of the MVPs have addressed the soft return. Otherwise, go here http://www.microsoft.com/mac/product-feedback to let our developers know you’d like it added.

  36. Cameron says:

    This product is horrible – It’s supper slow Eats emails doenst even put emails into sent folder when it sends them… I am switching back to entourage.

  37. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Kristen Just want to double check that you have installed the most recent Office 2011 update 14.0.2: http://bit.ly/hxqyjc . This update addresses several performance issues. If you have already installed this update please let us know and we will start a thread for you on our forum where our MVPs can help resolve your issues.

  38. Sam Baker says:

    Hello;

    I have switched from Windows 2004 to Mac 2011… Most of my work is done it Powerpoint and Word.

    In general the recent file listing display is much slower on Mac than on a PC, and i get the ‘beach ball” wait state every time I access this function. I also get wait state delays in PPT when accessing previous templates, and also in the Font style displays. In Excel the simple loading of a file also causes wait states.

    I am still working on leaning the new ribbon/function layouts. Seems like a game of hide and seek to find really simple functions. I like the new style libraries for fonts, boxes and other objects. They are graphically richer and more pleasing. HOWEVER… I would really like to find a way to build a custom ribbon for functions I use all the time as opposed to constantly having to switch ribbons. I understand there is 1 custom ribbon, but the ICONS are tiny! if they could be made the same size as the default ribbons that would suffice.

    In general I like office 2011 on the Mac but it seems that Disk I/O is slower than on my PC. (BTW I am on a MBP 2.66 Gig i7, 8GB 7200 RPM spindle speed) I think I have enough HW muscle so that I/O should not be a problem

  39. Office for Mac Team says:

    @Sam Baker Have you installed the latest software update? Check here: http://tinyurl.com/2gouzb. As for the ribbon, check out our customizing how-tos here: http://tinyurl.com/4z34vgc.

  40. CS says:

    I have the same issue with Excel and WOrd crashing all the time, sometimes Power Point as well. It used to happen as soon as Excel or Word opened, but I stopped the gallery from opening when Excel or Word opens and that helped for a time. I had a trial version and purchased the the full version and did a complete re-load as directed on the site to rid the problem, but after the Excel or Word loads, if you try typing into the document, it crashes. If you try opening any Excel or Word file, it takes forever, it opens, then crashes. On the dialog box that gives the ‘quit unexpectedly’ error, clicking on the details button, scrolling through, it shows a core foundation exc_bad access error. Thankfully I did not remove Office 2008 yet and am using Word and Excel for my work.

    Outlook I am having issues with the Office reminders. With Entourage, when the reminder popped up, you could check the box next to the envelope in the reminder and it would mark the item ‘complete’- it is not working in Outlook 2011. Also, if I dismiss a reminder, the reminder still shows up again and again until I go into Outlook open the message and either remove the reminder or open the reminder settings and mark it complete.

  41. Sam Baker says:

    Hello;
    yes I have 14.0.2 loaded…

    I’ll check out the ribbon edit and let you know…

    Still would like to solve the spinning beach ball problems.

  42. Ravi Pharma says:

    I use Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint from the Office 2011 suite daily under OS X 10.6.6 64-bit MBP.

    Overall, Office 2011 is a move in the right direction but I’m quite disappointed that large chunks of the code are not in Cocoa, especially Excel & SQL Query Tool. Importing of external data via Actual Technologies ODBC drivers (SQL Server & Oracle) works well in the 64-bit OS X mode but SQL query editing using the table drag & drop doesn’t work with Oracle. One has to edit the raw SQL queries.

    With the exception of the oversight in not including iPhone and Mobileme sync services straight out of the gate, the new Cocoa written Outlook is impressive.

    I would like to see greater commonality between Office Mac and PC version for the basic functions, e.g. a slider to enlarge/reduce display of workbook.

    I look forward to the next major Office Mac being finally fully Cocoa & 64-bit compliant under OS X 10.7.

  43. Ahmad says:

    I have just switched to MS Office 2011 for Mac from 2010 Win version. I was wondering why do these products have to be so different?! I think this makes it very hard for users to switch, specially people who have a Mac for personal use and have to work on Windows at work.
    The differences I find annoying are the different categorization of the tabs, the very different shortkeys, the zoom option, and many more.

    I’m disappointed of purchasing Office for Mac this makes me disappointed of buying a Mac because Office is one of the essential softwares that I use and I really don’t like this version of it.

  44. geoff says:

    Can somebody please explain why Outlook 2011 is INCREDIBLY SLOW when sending emails with attachments please? I’m happy with the other applications but I’ve now been burned twice when trying to reply to emails in a time sensitive manner and had my emails sit…and sit…and sit…and sit…and unfortunately NEVER GET SENT!

    Today I did a test, tried sending an email with an attachment. No progress. Tried another email…nope. Then I tried from a comcast account I have and when I launched Firefox to get to Comcast’s web page all of a sudden ALL of my emails from 2 accounts started to fly through and got sent.

    So what gives? Why should I have to connect to the internet to send email? Did anyone at Microsoft bother to quality test this before they shipped it? I could use the USPS and have my mail get there quicker and more conveniently.

    There is no excuse for this. A software company should put out products that get out of the users way. Not ones that knock you on your ass and cause you to spend time figuring out why it does not work.

  45. cara says:

    I recently upgraded from Mac Office 04 to 11. I have several documents with many worksheets contained within each of them. After converting to the newer version i am unable to see the tabs at the bottom of the page, so unable to switch between sheets. What is a girl to do…I have tried all I know???

  46. Lon Blumenthal says:

    For very large data sets, say 25,000 rows, Excel for Mac is much slower than Excel for Windows when sorting or analyzing. Can anyone make suggestions to speed things up?? Would like to see much faster processing in the next version of Excel for Mac.

  47. Sam says:

    SPINNING BEACH BALL

    Hello;

    I have upgraded to 14.2 and several slowness items have been solved. Especially launching. However one still remains that is really maddening..

    When working in any of the apps, but especially PowerPoint, I get a beach ball when using ^X ^C or ^V (keyboard access) for cut and paste. If I select from the ‘cut’ (copy) and then paste with my mouse or use the right mouse context menu, there is no delay, However when I use the keyboard equivalent, I get the spinning beach ball for about 10 seconds before the action is taken. This also occurs with ^D for duplicate object. What is going on???? And how do I solve it???

    Thanks !

    Sam Baker
    Dallas, TX

  48. Sam says:

    Spinning beach ball

    So just a quick amplification;

    The slowness seems to happen anytime I use a keyboard equivalent to a mouse command… ^Z for undo… The ribbon button is immediate, the ^Z spins the ball….

    (BTW ^=control or on the Mac “Command” key)

    So why wall the keyboard equibvalents?????? ’cause it is MUCH faster than a bunch of mouse clicks , if the system is responding correctly! … and too many years building up muscle memory…

    Thanks!

  49. Ravi Pharma says:

    Excel Mac 2011 is painfully slow at scrolling through rows except when using simple small spreadsheets. Very poor performance.

    Why does Microsoft insist on making Excel Mac such a mediocre product compared to the WIndows version?