Microsoft Office 2001: MacOS review: Microsoft Office 2001: MacOS

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MSRP: $399.00
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Powerful; includes new, efficient email and contact manager; friendly, accessible interface; speedier performance.

The Bad Requires tons of RAM and disk space; lacks printed manual; still missing Access (Windows' database app); some minor bugs.

The Bottom Line You'll love Office 2001 as much as you may have disliked its predecessors. This must-have upgrade sets the standard for Mac office suites, thanks to its Mac-specific look and feel and a host of new tools.

8.0 Overall
CNET Editors' Choice Sep '00

Microsoft suffers from a deserved reputation for sprawling, clumsy, hard-to-learn applications bogged down by hundreds of unnecessary features. Not so with Office 2001 for the Macintosh. The newest version of Office sheds its clumsiness in favor of superb ease and accessibility, plus a brand-new interface that's fine-tuned just for the Mac. It's not perfect--2001 hogs memory and disk space--but all in all, when it hits the market on October 11, Office 2001 will be a must-buy upgrade for anyone already using Office and the perfect substitute for those fed up with the weaker AppleWorks. Microsoft suffers from a deserved reputation for sprawling, clumsy, hard-to-learn applications bogged down by hundreds of unnecessary features. Not so with Office 2001 for the Macintosh. The newest version of Office sheds its clumsiness in favor of superb ease and accessibility, plus a brand-new interface that's fine-tuned just for the Mac. It's not perfect--2001 hogs memory and disk space--but all in all, when it hits the market on October 11, Office 2001 will be a must-buy upgrade for anyone already using Office and the perfect substitute for those fed up with the weaker AppleWorks.

Skinny Documentation
The first extra baggage to go? Hefty manuals. This time around, all you get is a single CD in a snazzy round case--no books, papers, or clutter. There isn't even an electronic manual on the CD. Microsoft's own user surveys show that about 93 percent of Mac users never crack open the manuals. Your only sources of documentation are the help menus, the same animated help assistant that graces Office 98, and Microsoft's Web site. Unfortunately, although these handy helpers will bring you up to speed with Office, there's no way to print a hard copy, except via an awkward copy/paste routine into a regular Word document.

Easy Installation
As with most Microsoft apps, you install Office 2001 simply by dragging the Microsoft Office 2001 folder to your Mac's hard drive. You don't have to mess with an installer unless you wish to customize the installation by leaving out a few components or adding the included Value Pack, a collection of extras such as templates, wizards, clip art, fonts, and animated assistants. (One caveat: You probably won't need these add-ons, which consume more than 300MB of storage space.)

The first time you launch any Office application, a First Run installer appears, which puts additional files into the Extensions folder. If you remove any of those files by mistake, Office calls First Run into action to restore them. If only other Mac applications were this smart.

Weight Watchers on the Horizon
But there's a price to pay for this convenience. The suite now tips the scale at more than 170MB, if you include its generous supply of clip art and templates. Worse, Office eats up RAM. Microsoft Word alone requires 10MB to run and needs 17MB with virtual memory turned off. Running more than a single Office application at a time will stress any Mac not well equipped in the memory department. In contrast, AppleWorks has similar RAM requirements, but rolls all its components into a single app, not four. You may not be able to launch more than one Office application at a time on a RAM-starved Mac.

However, take one look at the program's new interface, and you'll know: Office has changed for the better--enough to justify the larger memory and disk storage requirements.


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Office 2001 for the Mac now sports the new Project Gallery, which lets you easily set up a new document without having to know which Office application to use.

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