Welcome to our new Microsoft Office for Mac 2014 release date, rumours and leaked images article. Here we plan to do everything that the title suggests. We'll be bringing you everything we know about the new version of Office for Mac release date so you can know exactly when the new Office for Mac is coming out.

Also, we bring you a few of the juiciest rumours about the features you can expect to see in the new Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook in Office for Mac 2014. Finally we have some ideas of how the new Office for Mac will look, and we'll include any leaked Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook images in this article. So sit back and relax we've got Office 2014 covered.

27 March 2014:  Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella has held a press conference at which we were hopeful that he would unveil details of Microsoft Office for Mac 2014, however, Microsoft revealed the new iPad versions of the Office apps but revealed nothing about the new Office apps for Mac.

Read on to find out more.

Microsoft Office for iPad now available

Microsoft has announced an iPad version of the Office suite comprising of Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad.

Microsoft's Sarah White described the Apple-like apps as "definitely not the ported Windows app to an iPad...These are uniquely built for the iPad."

Office 365 subscribers get access to the full capabilities of the Office for iPad apps, including syncing across all your devices. You get these apps for free if you are an Office 365 subscriber.

Read more about Office for iPad here.

How to get Office for iPad free

You can also read our comparison reviews:

Microsoft Excel for iPad vs Apple Numbers review

Microsoft Word for iPad vs Apple Pages review

Microsoft Powerpoint for iPad vs Keynote review

There's already an Office version for iPhones that requires an Office 365 subscription so many have been waiting for an iPad version. We have been waiting even longer for Microsoft to launch a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac.

When will Microsoft Office for Mac 2014 be announced?

We had hoped that on Thursday 27 March Microsoft would unveil more information about the upcoming version of Office for Mac 2014. As yet no information has been forthcoming, however, this Microsoft press conference in San Francisco coincides with iWorld – the Macworld tradeshow held in San Francisco and the company may still be holding briefings at that event as they have in the past.

However, Microsoft will not be exhibiting at the show – at least the company doesn't appear on the exhibitor list as they have in years gone by.

This next version of Office for Mac is likely to be called Office for Mac 2014. (The latest Windows version was Office 2013) and Microsoft has confirmed that it will release a new version of Office for Mac this year. The company's German managing directory, Thorsten Hübschen made the announcement at the Cebit tradeshow in Hanover, Germany.

Hübschen told Macworld sister title Computerwoche that development teams are working on new Mac versions of each of the Office applications. He indicated that news will come in the second quarter of 2014.

Microsoft closed its Office for Mac blog on 10 March raising concerns about the future of the product on the Mac platform. The company announced on 10 March that the Office for Mac blog is moving, and suggested that interested readers should visit the Office Blogs, which are more generic.

When will Microsoft Office for Mac 2014 be released?

A Microsoft roadmap leaked earlier this year suggested that a new version of Office for Mac will arrive in April 2014. The claims from the German head of Microsoft that we can expect to hear news of the next version of Office for Mac in the second quarter of the year could tie in with an April announcement, although not necessarily availability.

That same roadmap suggested that Office for iOS would arrive in October 2014, and as we know, Office for iPhone launched in June 2013.

As you can see from the list below, as a rule new versions happen about every three years, and usually the Mac version of Office comes out some time after the PC version. The extra time - often as much as a year - gives Microsoft's Mac development team time to produce a Mac version of the software suite, rather than just port the Windows version.

  • 1995 – Office 95 for Windows
  • 1997 – Office 97 for Windows
  • 1998 - Office 98 for Mac
  • 2000 – Office 2000 for Windows
  • Late 2000 - Office 2001 for Mac
  • 2001 - Office X - the first Mac OS X edition
  • 2002 – Office XP for Windows
  • 2003 – Office 2003 for Windows
  • 2004 - Office 2004 for Mac
  • 2007 – Office 2007 for Windows
  • 2008 - Office 2008 for Mac
  • 2010 – Office 2010 for Windows
  • 2011 - Office 2011 for Mac
  • 2013 – Office 2013 for Windows
  • 2014 – Office 2014 for Mac???

If the rumoured launch date of April 2014 is correct, that there will be a longer wait than in recent times. It has already been more than a year since Office 2013 for Windows launched in January 2013. By comparison, Office 2010 for Windows launched in June 2010 while Office for Mac 2011 launched just 4 months later in October 2010.

The preview at the end of March - should that be the purpose of the journalist briefing - should give more information about the availability timeline.

In the past Microsoft has given press pre-launch demonstrations of the Office suite at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco. This event is scheduled for 27-29 March 2014, so it is possible that Office 2014 for Mac could actually launch, or be previewed, at this Macworld/iWorld event.

When will Office on the iPad launch?

Microsoft launched Office for iPhone back in June 2013, while the apps themselves are free to download, you need an active Office 365 subscription in order to use them. Microsoft has confirmed that Office for iPad is in the pipeline. Apparently Microsoft is implementing a 'touch first' interface in its programs especially for tablet operation.

While Microsoft waits for the right moment to launch, Apple now offers its iWork for free with new iPads.

There are also rumours that the Microsoft press briefing will include details of this launch.

Will I be able to buy Word for Mac on the Mac App Store?

Will I be able to buy Word for Mac on the Mac App Store? It seems unlikely as we can't see Microsoft giving up 30% of the sale price to Apple. The same goes for PowerPoint and Excel for Mac. Indeed, Microsoft doesn't currently sell the applications individually, so it looks more likely that they would continue to sell the complete suite. Equally though, Microsoft could change its business model and sell the apps separately, taking a leaf out of Apple's book. Apple used to sell the iWork suite as one collection, now the company offers each app individually.

While Microsoft has waited to launch the new suite of Office apps for Mac, Apple has updated its iWork apps. Read our reviews to see what Apple has to offer. 

Mac iWork Apps:

Apple Keynote 6.0 review

Numbers 3.0 (2013) for Mac review

Pages for Mac review

iOS iWork Apps

Apple Numbers for iPad, iPhone review 

Apple Keynote 2.0 for iPad, iPhone review

Apple Pages for iPad, iPhone review

What features will Office 2014 for Mac have

When Microsoft launched Office 2013 for Windows on 29 January 2013 it included the following new features that we expect to see in the Mac version.

  • Office 2013 for Windows is not sold on a DVD. The retail copies just include a product key for download from the Office website.

We expect that Microsoft will use a similar distribution for the new Office 2014 for Mac, although it is possible that Microsoft will sell the individual Office apps on the App Store we don't think it is likely, see above.

  • The licensing has changed: when Office 2013 launched it could not be transferred to another computer. This meant that if you got a new computer you would need to get a new copy of the software. The legality of this was questioned and in March Microsoft announced that users would be able to exercise their transfer rights. This means now a copy of Office 2013 can be moved to another computer, but only after 90 days.

This is a very different system to Apple's, where you can install software on any Mac that is registered to your Apple ID. Perhaps having an associated ID would have been a better system for Microsoft to implement.

  • Office 2013 is much more cloud based than previous versions of the suite of apps including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.

Users can save documents to SkyDrive, which is Microsoft's answer to DropBox or iCloud. Like with iCloud, which stores the document in the cloud for you to access from multiple devices, Office for Windows will give you the option to save to your SkyDrive.

  • It is possible to sync your documents and user settings across multiple computers. There is also a bookmark-like feature in PowerPoint and Word that syncs the position of a document between computers.

This is one step beyond Apple, the idea that you can shut a Word document on your PC and then open it on your laptop at home, with the curser exactly where you left it is intriguing, however, it doesn't appear to be easy to implement as we just asked someone who uses Word 2013 and they didn't know how.

  • Touchscreen support

This is the first version of Office to support the use of touchscreens. While there are no touch screen Macs, it may mean that it offers gesture support in keeping with the track pad. The lack of a iPad version of the Office software could also suggest that a more fully featured version of Office for iPad is coming, which takes advantage of the touchscreen.

New features in Word 2014 for Mac

  • Microsoft Word 2013 has a new flatter look, but this doesn't necessarily mean that . The ribbon is more minimalist, for example. It also has a mode where there is more room between ribbon icons, so users are less likely to miss-hit.

The ribbon was a replacement for menus and toolbars in Office and was designed to make it easier to navigate. However, when Microsoft introduced the ribbon in Office 2010, some felt it too large and that it crowded the work area and others complained about having to relearn how to navigate the software. Microsoft even published a guide explaining how to turn off the ribbon. When Office 2011 launched for the Mac, Microsoft retained the menu system alongside the Ribbon.

  • The ability to edit PDFs

PDF conversion and editing is now integrated into Word on the PC, this means you can open a PDF file that is then converted to a editable Word document so you can make changes. You then saving it back out as a PDF. This depends on the PDF being created as editable, of course.

  • Improved collaboration

Markup view shows alterations in the margin along with a picture of the person who made the amendments and a connection to them on social media so you can respond to comments. Pages doesn't offer competing collaboration features, but then it predates the previous version of Office.

  • There are new graphical options in Word and when objects and images are moved they snap to boundaries

This sounds a bit like Pages to us. Word has basically gained some of the features of Microsoft Publisher. As you drag objects around the page, green guidelines pop-up to show useful alignments, such as margins and tops and bottoms of paragraphs. Also like Pages, Live Layout shows text wrap in real time when a graphic or frame is adjusted or moved – it reflows as the frame size changes.

New Office 2014 for Mac images: Word

These images are of the Window version - you can expect to see much of the same functionality in the new Mac Office version.

New features in PowerPoint 2014 for Mac

  • There is a new presentation mode in PowerPoint.

Microsoft actually implies that Presenter View is new, although it was actually there in PowerPoint 2010. However it has had a revamp and it's likely that it will make its way on to the Mac version of the software.

  • There are new collaboration features

Collaboration was also possible in the 2010 version, but now SkyDrive is the default storage location and sharing is easier to set up. Currently there are no collaboration features in Keynote.

  • Design features

There are new slide designs, animations and transitions in PowerPoint. Like Word 2013 and Publisher 2010, alignment guides are now available in PowerPoint 2013. Again, this is a feature that will be familiar to users of Pages and Keynote.

  • New shape tools

The range of shape tools has been expanded by the introduction of the Merge Shapes function.

  • Enhanced eyedropper

The eyedropper tool now enables you to capture specific colours, to give to page elements or backgrounds. It's hard to believe this tool hasn't been available before

New Office 2014 for Mac images: PowerPoint

New features in Excel 2014 for Mac

  • Flash Fill makes it easier to separate out data in the form of text or dates

If you have a column of full names – forenames and surnames – you have imported from another source, perhaps off the Internet, you can extract all the surnames by typing the first surname as an example and clicking Flash Fill. Excel 2013 picks out the corresponding surname from each of the other full names in the list

  • Quick Analysis lets you preview and add charts or spark lines to a spreadsheet

When you highlight cells in a column of data, an icon appears at the bottom right of the selection. This pulls up a small pane for formatting, charts, totals, tables and sparklines, and hovering the mouse over any of the icon options, previews how the data or chart will look with those options applied

  • Doing sums

You can perform quick totals, averages and other statistics and draw bar, line and dot charts without ever committing them to your spreadsheet

New Office 2014 for Mac images: Excel

New features in Outlook 2014 for Mac

  • Outlook 2013 gets a bit of a minimalist redesign, the ribbon is hidden by default and there is little use of colour.

The biggest change Office for Mac 2011 was the move from Entourage to Outlook for email. It is likely that the change from Outlook 2011 to Outlook 2014 will be a little easier to adopt.

  • Outlook 2013 on Windows integrates email, contacts, schedules and to do lists a bit more smoothly than previously and a new visualization for scheduled tasks has been added.

Of course on the Mac all of these things are synced between iOS 6 and OS X. It would be good if the Office suite could sync up with our standard Mac and iOS apps, but it's unlikely.

  • Outlook adds support for Outlook.com and Hotmail.com and Skype and Yammer.

New Office 2014 for Mac images: Outlook

What was the latest update to Office for Mac?

The latest major update to Office for Mac 2011, 14.3, came in February 2013 and bought a number of new features, including Retina support and an option for users to jump to the subscription version of Office if they want. It also added built-in support for SkyDrive and SharePoint. At the same time Microsoft launched Office 365, which bought with is a new licensing model for Mac users.

What is Skydrive?

The update to Office for Mac 2011 bought the new Skydrive cloud service to Office for Mac 2011. This means it is possible to save and access all your documents from your Mac, kind of like using iCloud or Dropbox.

Mac users who decide to subscribe to Office 365 will get 20GB of Sky Drive space (previously Microsoft gave just 5GB) and 60 mins of free Skype calls a month. The monthly subscription is £7.99, or you can pay £79.99 a year. That one subscription serves five computers, Mac or PC. Your subscription must be renewed monthly or annually in order to continue to use the software.

What is Office 365?

Back in January Microsoft launched Office 365. While this introduced little for Mac users it did impact Mac users via a new licensing model. With Office 360 comes a subscription option, users can sign up to the Microsoft's Office suite for £79.99 a year or £7.99 per month (Home edition). You're subscription must be renewed monthly or annually to continue to use the software.

One of the marquee new features of Office 365 is Office on Demand, a service that allows a PC without Word, Excel, or PowerPoint installed to run those programs via Internet streaming. But Office on Demand is a Windows-only feature; it remains to be seen whether it will be available to Mac users when the next version of Office for Mac is released

If you currently own Office for Mac 2011, you must uninstall that software when you sign up for Office 365. You will then download and install Office for Mac 2011 through your Office 365 account, on up to five Macs. If you don't re subscribe you'll basically lose the Office suite (so make sure you keep the installation discs somewhere).

Office 365 is a cloud-based distribution system for Office. Although the software is still run locally on your Mac or PC, you're encouraged to store your documents online and free storage on Microsoft's SkyDrive is included in the package.

Microsoft is ‘encouraging' its customers to move to Office 365, the subscription model, by offering more flexible licencing terms.

How much will Office for Mac cost

Back in February this year Microsoft raised prices of Office for the Mac as much as 22% and stopped selling multi-license packages of the application suite. On the UK Microsoft Store Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 (including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook) now retails for £219.99 while Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 (including Word, PowerPoint and Excel) now retails for £109.99.

Previously you could pick up one Home and Business activation of the Business Edition for £189, or £239.99 for two activations. The latest price change is an 16.40% increase.

Home and Student was available for just £89.99, or £109.99 for three activations. The new price is a 22.23% increase.

Both versions are now only available for one Mac. This means that a three-license package of Home & Student now costs £329.97, a 200% increase on the previous price.

A two-license bundle of Home & Business will now set you back £439.98, an 88.33% increase on the previous bundle price.

The move puts Office for Mac 2011 on the same pricing schedule as the new Office 2013 for Windows, notes our sister site Computerworld. The price increases and the disappearance of the multi-license bundles also makes Microsoft's Office 365, a software-by-subscription deal the company has aggressively pushed, more competitive with traditional "perpetual" licenses.

The new prices are identical to those of Office 2013 for Windows, as are the percentage increases.

The price increases and the killing of the multi-license packs were clearly intended to steer consumers and small businesses to a pair of Office 365 subscription plans.

Office 365 Home Premium, which costs £79.99 annually or £7.99 per month, provides a single household license that lets subscribers install Office for Mac Home & Business - the one that includes Outlook - on up to five Macs; install Office 2013 on up to five Windows machines; or install any combination of Office on five PCs and Macs. Home Premium launched Jan. 29.

Students can purchase a four-year Office 365 University subscription for two PCs or Macs for £59.99.

Microsoft Office 365 is available from £3.90 per user per month for up to 50 users and from £5.20 per user per month for 50+ users, according to Microsoft's site.

This means that under the P1 Plan for Small Business, purchasing a plan for five installations of Office for Mac would cost £3.90 per user/per month. Or £234 a year.

Can you get Office on the Mac?

The surprising thing is how many people ask whether you can get Microsoft Office on a Mac. There is a common misconception that the Office suite is not available for the Mac, and of course it is. Other misconceptions include the idea that a Word document cannot be opened on a Mac. It can, and of course you don't need the Office suite to do so.

The history of Microsoft Office on the Mac

Word: A basic version of Word for MS-DOS was introduced in 1983 and then a WYSIWYG version appeared on the Mac in 1985. Word for Windows, the first WYSIWYG version of Word on PCs, came in 1989. 

Excel: Macs had Excel in 1985, Excel didn't come to Windows until 1987.

PowerPoint: PowerPoint was originally called Presenter and it was a Mac app introduced in 1987. Microsoft bought Presenter and introduced it to Windows as PowerPoint in 1990.

So now you know.

Will Microsoft ditch Office for Mac?

Years ago a document appeared that suggested that back in 1997 Microsoft was considering dumping Office for Mac. The memo detailed poor sales of Office, and suggested that stopping development of Office for Mac would "do a great deal of harm to Apple immediately."

Luckily around that time Steve Jobs had returned to Apple and he agreed a deal with Microsoft that ensured the company would continue to develop Office for the Mac.

Can you get Office for Mac for free?

There is a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows. However, Microsoft actually allows you to reset your Office 2013 trial as many as five times. So you can get a total of 9 months worth of usage for free. You have to access the command line to reset, details of how to do so are here.

If you need a free suite of Office apps OpenOffice is available to download on the Mac.

Follow Karen Haslam on Twitter / Follow MacworldUK on Twitter

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