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Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

I Don't Need MS Office 2008 for Mac, I Have Parallels

Microsoft also made an announcement yesterday at MacWorld. They are going to release Mac Office 2008 later this year (here's an informative interview with the Mac BU GM. I've been wondering for a while if this would happen and if I would get a copy for my Mac. I don't think that I need to. I have Parallels, the awesome virtualization software that allows us to run Windows in a window on a Mac.

The Mac version of office will include Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Entourage (a Mac-specific Outlook clone that has calendaring, email, contact management, plus some in one product). All of these apps will have the the Ribbon (the new, very cool menu bar for Office apps). Compatability with the Windows Office Suite will be a big priority. It is also going to include some Mac only features such as a publishing layout feature, the inclusion of ledger sheets (for financial tasks) in Excel, and a new stand-alone for handling schedules and to-do lists without launching the all-in-one Entourage (sounds cool - will it work with Quicksilver?).

Office 2007 for Windows is a great improvement over the previous version. I've used the 2007 versions of what I consider the "core office" apps: Outlook, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The interface is much cleaner, the Ribbon menu bar neatly places everything at my mousetip (screenshots on Lifehacker), and it publishes to the new Office Open XML format as well as PDF. Another bonus is that they have added OneNote, the great notetaking program with a slew of improvements (though noteably it did not gain the Ribbon interface in this release), to the Office Suite. OneNote is the Windows application I miss most.

I've decided to not wait for Mac Office. I have Parallels. Parallels has coherence mode which allows me to run a Windows application in its own window. I plan on installing Windows Office 2007 on my XP virtual machine and then use coherence mode to launch various Office 2007 apps from OSX (I'm not the only one thinking this way, in fact it's already been done). Sure it won't have all of the mac trappings, but I will have the apps that I need and want now.

I'll report back on the successes and failings of this endeavor. How well will it work with Spotlight? Will the apps be performant enough? Will the Shared Folders feature be flexible enough? If I (and others who try this) are successful I wonder if this is the way things will go in the future? Will Mac users buy Parallels, install an older, cheaper, but current version of Windows and run the necessary Windows apps. I think so, I wonder if Windows Office 2007 will be the app that gets people to notice this.

The OS doesn't matter, only the individual applications and the Web do (with the web constantly swallowing up more of the application's jobs).

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Comments: 17

Anonymous   [01.10.07 10:14 AM]

Ars Technica reporters have a brief interview with Microsoft representatives at Macworld.. there won't be a ribbon in Mac Office, among other missing features. You're right - virtualization seems like the way to go.

Patrick Berry   [01.10.07 10:47 AM]

While a fine technical solution, it doesn't deal with having to buy a (relatively expensive) OS license for Windows. If you only used it for Office you costs could increase dramatically.

Price of Mac Office vs Price of Windows + price of Parallels + price of Office

I guess it really depends on how much more you are willing to spend, or if you are getting work to pick up the tab.

jcburns   [01.10.07 10:54 AM]

"performant"? Block that neologism, please. And yeah, when you add up all of the costs, how does it make sense to you? I guess it's only if you've invested in Parallels and a windows OS already for another purpose...

brady   [01.10.07 11:11 AM]

yes, I do already have Parallels so that plus Xp is a sunk cost. However, with the release of vista i expect the cost of XP to drop. I have also seen Parallels being bundled with new Macs.

DeWitt Clinton   [01.10.07 11:15 AM]

Between the Apple iWork suite, Open Office, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, the Omni applications, and all of the Darwin ports collection, it never would have occurred to me, an OSX and Linux user, that I even needed Microsoft Office anymore...

AG   [01.10.07 11:20 AM]

Parallels works great, but using it to run MS Office is a very expensive proposition.

First you shell out $89 for Parallels. Then you need a copy of XP/Vista which will run you at least $250 and could be hundreds more. Finally you need Office 2007 which will be what? About $400? Even with heavy discounting you are going to spend $600 - 800 for MS Office to run Windows Office on your Mac.

On the other hand, Office for Mac usually runs about $275.

And as far as "no ribbon in Mac Office", that's a plus as far as I'm concerned.

brady   [01.10.07 12:20 PM]

All of these things are good to consider, but they don't fit the needs of MS office.
I work offline alot and i need an office suite that supports that. additionally, google docs does not have a presentation app.
OPen office is a fine suite, but I know MS Office very well and I really like the new UI.
As per the mac suite... I like keynote, but Pages hasn't won me over and there is no spreadsheet app (yet...)

AR   [01.10.07 01:03 PM]

This may be the only way to go for people who need to use Visual Basic. I am looking forward to seeing how people make out trying this.

Michael Luu   [01.10.07 01:28 PM]

Another thing to consider is interoperability between applications. I run Parallels in coherence mode and it works fine. But you'll miss out on stuff like dragging image files into your application.

Bryan Zug   [01.10.07 04:19 PM]

I just made the flip to Office 2007 via parallels this week and am rather pleased so far -- with the ribbon MS has released its most 'mac' feeling software in years and it seems to perform very zippy -- since I have to do a lot of MS exchange work with clients, it really is looking like a great solution -- and the wife is excited about getting to use google calendars via outlook 2007 ical sub for family scheduling stuff -- we'll see how it all works out ;)

Geoff Butterfield   [01.11.07 08:49 AM]

Yet another consideration is how much RAM you're using. I only have 2 GB of RAM, which seems like a lot until you open a few graphic apps, Parallels, mail, etc.

Tim Stoop   [01.12.07 02:42 AM]

Please don't think of me as a troll, but what does MS Office provide that NeoOffice doesn't? Why is MS Office so important to you? Just curious.

Mark Edgington   [01.12.07 09:49 AM]

I have been using parallels and office 2007 for the last 3 weeks. i give parallels 700mb of RAM and it's far quicker than my old Dell 1.3ghz with 1gb RAM laptop. Office 2007 is excellent and now i can use omni graffle as well, my life is complete :)

I doubt i will upgrade to Mac office 2008 unless i really need the memory. Remember you can always shut parallels down to get the RAM saving.

Eugene   [02.21.07 10:09 PM]

I have bought a copy of parallels on sale for $60, another $149 was the cost for windows xp OEM. And the office 07 cost maybe under $300 (upgrade) because I had office 03. I think if you have no other reason to use windows then Office 04 for Mac is a good solution before office 08 comes out however if you are running Windows anyhow, Office 07 is a great program to have, much better then office 03.

Brian   [03.27.07 10:41 AM]

And some of us like to use Access. Running XP is the only current solution to this.

George   [05.29.07 05:09 PM]

When you run Office 2007 in a parallels window, can the window be made so you can use the full screen real estate or does it run in a smaller window?

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