Office 2001, by Microsoft
Posted: 05-Feb-2001

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Microsoft Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bob Schumann Class: PRODUCTIVITY

Mac used for review:
Performa 6360 upgraded with a Newer Tech MAXpowr G3-L2 300MHz/1MB Card
Mac OS 8.1, 88 MB RAM with virtual memory off, Run off external SCSI hard drives

Microsoft claims:

  • New Mac interface
  • More Web compatibility
  • Easier formatting for documents and pictures
  • More support for key Apple technologies
  • More compatibility with previous versions of Office and Office for Windows
  • Tighter integration among applications

I looked forward to reviewing Microsoft's latest version for the Office for the Mac since truth be told, I still like using Word 5.1 and Excel 4.0. The problem is, if I need to work on a document at home that I created with a Windows Office 97 application, those older versions do not cut it. Office 98 was good but the old reliable apps still reside on my hard drive to take care of tasks where compatibility with work is not an issue.

The installation of the Office suite was very easy, just drag the Microsoft Office 2001 folder from the CD-ROM to your hard drive (same as Office 98). If you'd like, there is also a Microsoft Office Installer application if you'd like to pick the applications you want to install. Internet Explorer 5 is also on the CD and is installed the same way. When an application is first run, it will ask you to fill in your name (organization is optional) and a 10-digit Registration Code from the CD sleeve. It will also install all of the necessary Microsoft files in the System Folder. In my case, it also updated some fonts and moved the old ones to the Trash. There is also an Office Value Pack folder on the CD. Use the Value Pack installer application that is located in the folder to install additional features. While not included on the CD, you can download an Office uninstaller from Microsoft's Mactopia web site (
http://www.microsoft.com/mac/). Also not on the CD is the Microsoft Office Manager that adds an icon next to the Application icon on the Menu Bar and allows you to quickly launch Office applications. An Office 2001 version was recently posted on Mactopia and I installed it on my system.

After booting from an external SCSI hard drive, I unmounted my internal IDE hard drive to prevent having anything installed on it and installed MS Office on the external drive. When an Office application is run, the internal drive is sometimes remounted! I have yet to figure out when and why this happens but I find this is a bit disturbing.

New Office 2001 Common Productivity Features
There is a new Project Gallery that is a starting point for new Office documents. This menu appears whenever you launch Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to start a new document and gives you easy access to all Office file type, templates, and wizards. You can also access the Project Gallery from the File menu. Also new is the Formatting Palette that is context-sensitive where you can apply appropriate options to the selected items. This palette can be moved anywhere, window-shaded, or closed completely as you wish. The Office Clipboard allows you to collect multiple clips of data and paste them as needed. This is an expansion of the one at a time Mac Clipboard. The Office Assistant is also improved. As with Office 98, "Max" is the standard Office Assistant and you can add the others from the Value Pack. Now you can resize, dock, or turn off your little buddy. Office now includes the Encarta World English Dictionary so you can look up definitions from any Office application. The Picture toolbar has been updated so now you can apply effects to bitmap graphics. And you can directly capture images into Office documents from a TWAIN-compatible scanner or digital camera. If you want to create a web page from your document, there is a Save as Web Page option under the file menu.

Word 2001
Word is the program I use most often. If I feel like being nostalgic, I can change the Menu and Tool Bars to the Word 5.1 Menu view. The Tool bars are nicely laid out with improved icons and the user can configure the tool bars to their liking. You can turn on which tool bar you wish to see from the View menu. Word's spelling and grammar checking also seems improved. The Formatting Palette makes formatting text quick and easy from one location. Another new feature is Click and Type feature where you can double-click anywhere in the blank area of the document to insert text, graphics, etc. Also, you can drag picture objects and place them anywhere in a document. A big improvement can be found in the Font menu that now displays each font name using its actual appearance. This is also true in the Formatting Palette. I opened a large Word document that contains many tables and graphics. This document was originally created in Interleaf 6 (UNIX), converted to an RTF document, and loaded into Word 97 and saved. When opened in Word 2001, it is a 66-page document (same as Word 97). Two graphics (flow charts) did not convert and show up as a big red X on the page. This document seemed a bit sluggish compared to Word 97 on a fast PC.

Excel 2001
Excel is a program where I can do some real work! I tried some of the worksheets I had created with Office 97 and I found I had to add some functions (as I did in Office 97) to properly view the worksheets. In Excel, to added functions such as Decimal to Hex conversion, you must add the Analysis ToolPak Add-In by using the Value Pack Installer on the CD-ROM. Then you must enable it in Excel by going to Tools > Add-InsÍ and checking the Analysis ToolPak boxes. After that everything worked perfectly. Excel's changes are mostly minor but there are a few new features. There is now a Calculator available to help you enter or change a formula. Clicking on the calculator icon located next to the formula entry box accesses the new Calculator. It is a feature someone new to Excel will most likely appreciate and use. There are also new List tools that will make lists easier to create and use. Excel did not need to change much and it did not.

PowerPoint 2001
I rarely use PowerPoint except for viewing presentations created by others. I opened a recent project presentation that was created with Office 97 and it worked perfectly. The interface is improved and it was easy to navigate through the slides. PowerPoint now has a new Movie format that allows you to save your presentation as a self-contained Quicktime movie.

Entourage 2001
Entourage is the new kid on the block and is more than an email program. Entourage also includes a personal information manager that I did not try yet. When I tried Entourage for the first time, I imported mail files, addresses, and other preferences from Netscape Communicator. Entourage created a new folder called "Communicator Import" for the mail messages. The addresses did not show up in the Entourage address book but if I typed the start of a name in a new message address field, a list of addresses shows up and you can select from the list. I could not find where these were stored. When I replied to a message, it did not quote the original message automatically with the > character. I could not find anywhere to set this up. It does start the original message with "On date someone wrote:" which can be changed to the format you want. The receive messages and send messages button is common button which I found as non-intuitive and it is located in the middle of the tool bar. I found myself not entirely comfortable with Entourage yet but it looks promising.

Internet Explorer 5
Since it is included on the Office CD, I'll briefly remark on Internet Explorer 5. IE 5 brought in older bookmarks (not current ones from Netscape), history, and other preferences. I had old IE preferences in my System Folder and it did not ask if I want to import preferences from Netscape. IE 5 seems to work well in the short time I used it. I really like the Print Preview feature (that is the reason Rush Limbaugh uses it.) Netscape 4.76 for the Mac does not have that feature while the Windows version does. Another nice feature is the Auto Fill button that will fill in your name, address, etc. on a web page form. It does not work perfectly since some forms have different verbiage but it is a great idea. One feature that I feel is missing is a User Profile Manager like Netscape Communicator's. If you or your family have multiple accounts, this is a must have feature. Fortunately, Entourage, the new Office 2001 component that takes care of the email duties, does support different "identities". Another feature I like is the ability to store usernames and passwords for specific web sites. Is this secure? I hope so.

Conclusion
Microsoft Office 2001 is a great suite of productivity applications. For anyone who has to be compatible with Windows Office documents, this is the package for you. The Microsoft Mac team has done a great job of giving Mac users the features they want. It may be time to retire my old friends, Word 5.1 and Excel 4.0.

Pros: Good compatibility with Windows Office and old Mac Office documents. Great new features added. Cleaner toolbars. More Mac-like. Nice integration between applications.
Cons: No manuals, paper or pdf. High cost to buy or upgrade.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Mice