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Migrating from Windows? Treat Office 2008 with caution.
on 17 January 2008
After years with PCs, I finally migrated to the Mac this Christmas. The whole experience has been remarkably painless. Everything worked, the software is for the most part beautifully designed, and I felt I had found a comfortable new home. Then I got Office 2008 Home and Student Edition, principally for Word and Entourage, so I could access all my Office 2007 files...and found myself back in the Windows world.
Word 2008 looks pretty, but is flaky. It sometimes freezes, and there's an odd problem with the document window sometimes refusing to overlay other windows that are open on the desktop. Also, the interface is different from Office 2003 and 2007, and in my opinion not as good.
Maybe I'll get used to these foibles, but the instability of the software is worrying. Worse, Office 2008 isn't fully compatible with Office 2007. Word will read documents written using earlier versions. But Entourage does not read Outlook pst files AT ALL. Migrating Outlook to Entourage is awkward to impossible without making big compromises and wasting lots of time and effort. Microsoft created an add-on for Entourage 2004 that apparently works with Outlook 2001 pst files, but there's no information from Microsoft on converting Outlook 2003 or 2007 files. There are other solutions for converting pst files, but I can find none that are simple and seamless (or free). And once they're in Entourage format, I notice that there's no way of exporting them to other email programs.
To add to the sense of a fundamental misfit between Microsoft and Apple, Microsoft's support pages for mac don't seem to work with Safari (but do with Firefox). In retrospect, I wish I hadn't tried this half-way house between the Windows and Mac worlds, but just started afresh.