Office 98: Built for the Mac, From the Ground Up

In the Mac Office Web survey, the No. 1 characteristic listed by users in defining a great Mac application was that it
“integrates well with other Mac applications and the system”
(cited by 56 percent of respondents). Office 98 takes major steps forward in integration, making it easier for users to share information between applications for the Macintosh. The following are just a few examples of the rich integration in Office 98, not only between applications in the suite but also with third-party products.

  • Macintosh drag-and-drop functionality. By supporting this technology, Office 98 makes it easier to share information across applications. For example, users can drag an entire Microsoft Excel 98 spreadsheet — or just a portion — to their desktop, then drag it into another application such as the PowerPoint 98 presentation graphics program. Users can also drag Word text to another program that supports drag and drop, such as Adobe PageMaker.

  • E-mail integration. Office 98 applications include a File/ Send To/ Mail Recipient menu command that will launch an e-mail client and automatically attach the active document. This functionality makes sharing Office files easy and supports the most common e-mail clients: Outlook Express, Exchange Client, Outlook for Mac, Eudora Pro and Light, Claris Emailer, Microsoft Mail, StarNine Mail and Quarterdeck Mail.

  • Web browser integration. When a user clicks a Web hyperlink in an Office document, the default browser is automatically launched (via Internet Config). This setup makes it very easy for users to link directly to the Internet or intranet information they need.

  • Graphic formats. Office 98 supports a variety of graphics formats, enabling users to work with a wider range of graphics types in their Office documents. Supported formats include BMP, EPS, GIF, JPEG, PICT, PNG, TIFF and EMF/WMF.

Easier to Install and Manage

Individual and business users told Microsoft that Office must be easy to install and manage. This was the No. 1 issue expressed in all customer meetings conducted by the Office team. Furthermore,
“easy and flexible installation”
was one of the top four
“like the Macintosh”
characteristics listed by individual users in the Web survey. This finding was incorporated into Office 98 and redefined ease of installation for the Mac OS. Office 98 returns to the way that applications for the Mac used to be installed — no installation program, no questions to answer. Just drag a folder, and start using the program. And because Mac users frequently explore their systems and move or delete files, Office 98 introduces revolutionary new technologies that make it easier for users to manage the applications.

  • Drag-and-drop install. Users simply drag and drop the Microsoft Office 98 folder to the hard drive, and the software installs. This installation also makes it easy for companies to use Custom Installer and provide a customized Microsoft Office 98 folder for users to drag to their hard drives.

  • Self-repairing applications. Office 98 applications will automatically replace missing files needed to boot, even if they’ve been deleted. Users can now also move files or rename their hard drives, and Office applications will still run properly.

Appearance and Behavior Similar to the Mac

In the Mac Office Web survey, one of the top four characteristics listed by users in defining a great application for the Mac was that
“dialog boxes and human interface controls look and behave like those in other Mac applications.”
Also, in the Office for the Mac user tracking study, 26 percent of participants rated
“features a human interface more similar to the Mac”
as an extremely compelling reason to upgrade (giving it a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5). Office 98 has greatly improved integration with the Macintosh interface and offers additional tools to help Word 5.1 users upgrade smoothly to Word 98. This feature is important because Word 5.1 still maintains a loyal following.

  • Support for Apple’s Platinum Appearance. Office 98 was designed using Apple’s Platinum Appearance specification, which is implemented in the Mac OS 8 visuals and human interface. The benefit to users is that Office 98 is consistent with the appearance of other applications for the Mac and the system itself.

  • Word 5.1 options. Microsoft provides extra support for Word 5.1 users. For example, users can continue using the Word 5.1 menus and toolbars that they’re comfortable with, while gaining access to all the new features in Word 98. The Work menu from Word 5.1 has also returned in Word 98, allowing users to customize their own menu with tasks most commonly used.

Support for Apple Technologies

Twenty-eight percent of participants in the Office for the Mac user tracking study rated
“uses Mac technologies such as QuickTime and Drag and Drop”
as an extremely compelling reason to upgrade (giving it a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5). Office 98 was developed specifically for the Macintosh, with features that take advantage of the power of the Macintosh platform. Office 98 improves support for Apple technologies in many ways, providing the functionality that Mac users expect.

  • QuickTime, QuickTime VR. QuickTime support is incorporated directly into the Office drawing layer, which allows users to insert QuickTime VR movies into any Office document. By panning left and right or zooming in and out, users can alter the view of panorama movies and add rich content to their Office files.

  • Macintosh drag-and-drop functionality.

Making Office Easier to Use and Discover

One of Microsoft’s ongoing goals is to make its software applications easier to use. One surprising finding was that, although users report overall high levels of satisfaction with Office, they don’t use all of its available features. This finding means Microsoft needs to do a better job of making features easier to discover and making the products easier to use in general.

Easy to Learn and Use

Particularly on the Macintosh platform, users expect a comfortable environment with easy-to-use applications. Office 98 exceeds those expectations with these “Mac first” technologies:

  • Office Assistant. Based on research and extensive customer testing, the Assistant is a significant advance that allows users to readily discover more functionality in Office. The Assistant does not replace the existing interface; it works with the interface to help users accomplish more with Office 98. The Assistant provides a central place for users to get help, offers proactive tips based on user actions, and is customizable for personalized interaction.

  • IntelliSense technology. IntelliSense technology automates routine tasks and simplifies complex ones. This technology builds intelligence into the software so it interprets the context of a user’s actions, recognizes a user’s intent, and automatically produces the correct result. For example, Microsoft discovered that spelling tools are used by 90 percent of Word users, so these tools are more accessible in Word 98 with background spelling and grammar checking that identify errors “on the fly.” Other examples of IntelliSense include Formula AutoCorrect in Excel, Auto Web Link, AutoComplete and AutoFormat.

  • Natural-language technology. This new technology provides a more approachable way for users to get their work done. It enables users to ask the Office Assistant questions in “plain English,” not computer terminology. It also allows users to create formulas in Excel using their own words rather than complicated cell references. These are just a few examples of how the natural language engine makes common tasks in Office more intuitive and much easier to use.

Better Results With Less Effort

Research shows that a majority of features in each Office application are used by a small percentage of users. In Office 98, much of this functionality is more accessible and usable by people of all skill levels.

  • OfficeArt. This new, powerful set of drawing tools is shared among all Office applications and allows users to create professional, appealing graphics in their documents. No longer do users need to buy a separate application or learn complicated graphics; this functionality is available within Office 98.

  • Word table drawing. Word 98 redefines the way tables are created by allowing users to employ the equivalent of a pencil and eraser to draw tables of any size or shape directly in their document. Two of the most commonly requested items from Word users were the ability to merge cells vertically and rotate text within cells of a table. Word 98 provides this functionality.

  • Visual printing. Research shows that 62 percent of Excel users print more than 80 percent of their files. Excel 98 introduces Page Break Preview, allowing users to drag and drop page breaks to change what is printed on each page; Excel then automatically fits the data on each page. This view can be fully edited and gives users the control and flexibility to print their documents right the first time.

  • Design templates. In corresponding with Office customers, Microsoft learned that they used PowerPoint infrequently and needed the product to produce great results with little or no training. PowerPoint 98 includes new design templates, including 10 animation templates, which provide layout and color schemes for presentations. This feature allows users to focus on the content rather than the design of the slides.

Integrating Great Communication and Collaboration Capabilities Inside Office

The way people work today has changed dramatically in recent years. People are relying on e-mail, the Web and intranets to distribute information, and people are increasingly working as teams to produce documents. Dialogue with customers has revealed that people want to share information and collaborate on work projects, and that they need tools to facilitate the process. However, people do not want to learn how to use new collaborative tools that require a great deal of modification to the way they work today.

Office 98 approaches collaboration by allowing users to work together on files in the same way they’ve been working alone; there’s no new process to learn. Office 98 provides built-in tools that enable users to now work together easily and efficiently — electronically.

Work Together Easily

Office 98 provides tools that enable users to work together efficiently. Access to information and staying in touch are critical elements in working together with others, and Office 98 addresses these needs in numerous ways.

  • File sharing. User studies show that 83 percent of Excel users and 69 percent of Word users share their files with other people. A major focus of the development of Office 98 was to make it easier for these users to work together. For example, Shared Workbooks in Excel 98 allow multiple users to open and edit the same spreadsheet at the same time. This capability provides much more flexibility in the collaboration process. Word 98 also offers Versioning, which allows users to track and manage all edits to a document by all users. Versioning information is stored within the document, which means users don’t need to maintain multiple copies of a document.

  • Communication. Outlook Express for Macintosh is a new product in the Office suite. It provides a small, fast, best-of-breed e-mail and newsgroup client that takes advantage of the Macintosh platform and addresses the unique needs and preferences of Mac users. Outlook Express is easy to install and use, is complete in its functionality and support for Internet standards, and can be customized to meet the personal needs of individual users.

  • Cross-platform coexistence. The Web user survey revealed that 90 percent of users operate in a cross-platform environment and 46 percent share files with users of the Windows operating system every day. This reality makes it extremely important for users of the Mac and Windows operating systems to seamlessly communicate and share files. Office 98 Macintosh Edition and Office 97 for Windows have the exact same file formats. This enables file sharing between platforms (e.g., a user of Excel for the Mac and a user of Excel for Windows working together simultaneously on a Shared Workbook).

Integrates the Best of the Web

Office for the Mac user research shows that 71 percent of users employ a browser for work purposes. The increasing prevalence of the Internet and intranets in the workplace underlined the importance of providing tools that make it easy for Office 98 users to work within their applications and in a Web environment. Office 98 incorporates some of the best functionality of the Web directly into the applications.

  • Web toolbar. The new Web toolbar included in all Office 98 applications provides an easy way to navigate among Office documents. The toolbar includes browser-like navigation buttons that provide very easy access to information within Office documents.

  • Save as HTML. Office users need the ability to publish and distribute their files in a variety of formats. Each of the Office 98 applications will automatically convert files to HTML, without the user having to understand HTML coding. This feature enables users of all levels to create multimedia Web documents with formats, textures and graphics.

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