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UPGRADING TO MICROSOFT OFFICE 2008 FOR MAC OS X

Microsoft Office for Mac OS X is a significant upgrade to the Office suite. It is the first Universal version of Microsoft Office, which should mean a significant speed increase for Intel Macs. The new version is also designed to be compatible with Office 2007, the new version for Windows.

If you would like to upgrade to office 2008, please contact ITS for upgrade instructions. This document provides information that will help you make the transition.

Office 2008 Training
Online tutorials and guides

Upgrade Schedule for Office 2008 for Macintosh
This page on the new MacUser blog provides an overview of the Office 2008 upgrade plan for Smith-owned Macintosh computers.



Upgrade Options for Office 2004 Users

  1. Upgrade automatically when you receive a new computer. Faculty and Staff scheduled to recieve a new Mac from ITS will get a Mac that comes with Office 2008 and Office 2004 installed.

  2. Upgrade on your own with a qualified computer. Mac users can upgrade to Office 2008 if their computer meets the system requirements.

    With Office 2008 installed, you will be able to take advantage of all its new features, and to open any document created in an older version of Office or in Office 2007 for Windows. However, depending on your typical workflow, you may encounter other compatibility issues.

    Read the Office 2008 Installation Instructions.

  3. Defer upgrading. If you decide to continue using Office 2004 instead of upgrading, you are still likely to recieve files created in Office 2007 or Office 2008 created by your colleagues or students.

    In order to open, read, edit, or save these files you receive, you must install the Microsoft Office Compatibilty Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For more information, please see the Office 2004 compatibility section below.

As you consider your decision, keep in mind that a number of students, as well as off-campus colleagues, already have Office 2007 or 2008 installed on their computers.

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System Requirements

  • Processor: Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500 MHz or faster) processor
  • Operating System: Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later
  • Memory: 512 MB of RAM or more
  • 1.5 GB of available hard disk space
  • Hard Disk: HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS Extended or HFS Plus)
  • Display: 1024 x 768 or higher-resolution monitor

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Compatibility Issues for Users Who Upgrade to Office 2008

If you upgrade to Office 2008, you may encounter problems with:

  • Sharing files with older versions of Office. Office 2008 files use an XML-based file format, and files saved in this format cannot be opened directly by Office 2004 (Mac) or Office 2003 (Windows) users.

    If you are sharing a file with someone who has an older version of Office, you can Save As to Office 97-2004 format to ensure that other users will be able to open your document. You can also change your default save settings to always save as Office 97-2004 format.

  • Saving files for presentations. Since classroom and lectern computers currently have Office 2003 (Windows) and Office 2004 (Mac), be sure to save your files in Office 97-2004 format to ensure that they will open properly. By September, all Macs in campus classrooms and computer centers will be upgraded to Office 2008.

  • Macros. Office 2008 can open files containing macros, but cannot run VBA macros. Office 2008 works with Apple’s Automator and AppleScript instead of macros. Excel Toolpaks rely on VBA Macros, they are not included or compatible with Office 2008.

  • RefWorks Write-N-Cite. There is a new version of RefWorks Write-N-Cite that is compatible with Office 2008. If you upgrade to Office 2008, you may need to install the new version of Write-N-Cite.

  • Dreamweaver CS3. Dreamweaver CS3 does not accept direct copy-and-paste from Office 2008.

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Compatibility Issues for Office 2004

If you decide not to upgrade to Office 2008, note that you are still highly likely to receive files created in Office 2008 or Office 2007 from your colleagues or students.

To avoid problems with opening, reading, editing, or saving any Office 2008 or 2007 files you receive, you must install the Microsoft Office Compatibilty Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Compatibility Pack installation instructions, along with a discussion of other important compatibility issues that may affect Office 2004 users, especially faculty, are provided on the Compatibility Issues web page.

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What’s New in Office 2008 & Online Tutorials

Office 2008 has a new user interface that can be described as a combination between the old Office 2004 interface, the new Office 2007 (for Windows) interface, and Apple products. Office 2008 still uses a free-floating Toolbox for formatting, but has also introduced a the new “Elements Gallery.” The Elements Gallery puts design features in a collapsible thumbnail collection at the top of your window.

If you’d like to explore the Elements Gallery and other features new to Office 2008, we recommend the following pages provided by Microsoft:

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 |  Last updated January 10, 2013

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