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Microsoft releases Mac Office converters

Today Microsoft released the converters that allow Office 2004 for Mac to read the Open XML file formats that were introduced in Office 2007 for Windows, according to CNET. CNET supplies a link for download. The converters, which were originally scheduled for release around the time of Office 2007, were delayed several times, so that Office 2008 for Mac (which supports the formats) was actually released before the converters. Macworld online also has information about the converters and about updates for Office 2004 and 2008.

What CNET did NOT mention was that Mac users have gone ballistic over the release of Office 2008 for Mac. According to the printed July 2008 issue of Macworld (page 24), support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which had been stripped out of Office 2008 for Mac, will be added back in to the next release of Office for Mac as the direct result of complaints from users. Microsoft did not offer any date for the next release, other than that a new version of Office for Mac typically is released every 2 to 3 years, and Office 2008 was released on January 15, 2008.

Even more revealing is the Feedback section of the same printed July 2008 issue of Macworld (page 18) in which users complain (under the section entitled “Running from Office”) about the lack of VBA, lack of Analysis Toolpak in Excel, Word incompatibility with Endnote, Word incompatibility with Word 2004 (this person got a full refund from Microsoft), slowness, and PowerPoint crashes during slide changes.

Maybe these problems explain the release of the converters now. If not, at least the timing is interesting. :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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