As you can see from the leaked image above, the new version of Outlook appears to incorporate Yosemite style elements and a flatter design. We have more information about the new version of Outlook further down in this article.
What will the next version of Office for Mac be called?
This next version of Office for Mac may not be called Office for Mac 2015 (or Office for Mac 2014 either). The latest Windows version was Office 2013 but it is also known as Office 15.
Microsoft may stear away from using the year in the name so that the software doesn't look so old four years from now, the company could pick an alternative as it did in 2001 with Office X.
How much will Office for Mac cost?
The good news is that Microsoft has confirmed it will continue to offer a perpetual-licensed for Office for Mac, at least for this new update. This basically means Microsoft will continue to allow people to purchase a boxed version that need only be paid for once, with rights to use the software as long as the customer wants.
Office for Mac will also be available to subscribers of Office 365, Microsoft's rent-not-buy program.
UK pricing is likely to be similar to what it is curently:
Back in February 2014 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. This latest price change was 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.
Will Microsoft sell Office on the App Store?
It may be that Microsoft sells the Office Apps. Perhaps offering Word, Excel and Powerpoint for sale on the Mac App Store as separate apps. This would be a similar strategy to Apple's.
Apple sells its Mac iWork Apps on the Mac App Store, and the iOS versions on the iOS App Store. Read our reviews of Apple's iWork apps here:
- Apple Keynote 6.0 review
- Numbers 3.0 (2013) for Mac review
- Pages for Mac review
- Apple Numbers for iPad, iPhone review
- Apple Keynote 2.0 for iPad, iPhone review
- Apple Pages for iPad, iPhone review
As attractive as this sounds, this seems unlikely as we can't see Microsoft giving up 30% of the sale price to Apple. 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 iWork reviews above to see what Apple has to offer.
Will Microsoft discontinue Office for Mac?
There were concerns that the longer that Microsoft left Office for Mac untouched, the future for the suite of office productivity apps would become more and more uncertain.
Back in March, Microsoft closed its Office for Mac blog, 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.
This wasn''t the first time concerns have been raised, 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.
It should be noted that the current Office for Mac 2011 will only be supported by Microsoft until 2016.
What features will Office 2014 for Mac have
Apart from the new version of Outlook, we have seen little to suggest what can be expected from the new Office for Mac. Microsoft has not previewed any of the features of the next version of Office for Mac, but by looking at the Office for Windows version launched in 2013 we can get some ideas of what to expect.
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 Outlook for Mac
Microsoft has published one image and revealed the following features in Outlook for Mac.
- Better performance and reliability as a result of a new threading model and database improvements.
- A new modern user interface with improved scrolling and agility when switching between Ribbon tabs.
- Online archive support for searching Exchange (online or on-premises) archived mail.
- Master Category List support and enhancements delivering access to category lists (name and color) and sync between Mac, Windows and OWA clients.
- Office 365 push email support for real-time email delivery.
- Faster first-run and email download experience with improved Exchange Web Services syncing.
The company claims it is "The best Office 365 email, calendar, contacts and tasks experience on a Mac."
Until we can get our hands on a copy, here are the leaked screenshots from the end of Ocober.
Chinese site CnBeta published what it claims are a series of slides showing the new version of Outlook for Mac.
The new version of Outlook appears to incorporate Yosemite style elements and a flatter design.
Outlook will also integrate with Notification Centre.
The screen shots suggest that the new version will have a similar interface to Office 2013, the Windows version released in January 2013.
The images suggest that Outlook will still feature the ribbon.
The ribbon when it was introduced in Office for Mac 2011 was not particularly popular, but the biggest change to 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.
Microsoft’s new Office suite for Mac is also said to have Retina support.
Other new features in Outlook for Mac are said to include better enterprise features in Outlook and Microsoft’s cloud services.
Microsoft is also said to be adding OneNote for Mac.
Looking at Office 2013 for Windows, there are further clues as to what to expect from the new Outlook for Mac.
Outlook 2013 got a bit of a minimalist redesign, the ribbon is hidden by default and there is little use of colour.
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 and OS X. It would be good if the Office suite could sync up with our standard Mac and iOS apps.
Outlook adds support for Outlook.com and Hotmail.com and Skype and Yammer.
New features in Word 2014 for Mac, images
Microsoft Word 2013 (pictured above) 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 features in PowerPoint 2014 for Mac, images
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 features in Excel 2014 for Mac, images
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
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.
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.
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.
Latest updates to Office for Mac
In the meantime, here are some of the recent updates to the current version of Office for Mac.
In June Microsoft issued a minor update to Office for Mac 2011 (now four years old), but there is still no word on when the company will launch a new version of the software suite, despite having launched a new version of Office for Windows users in 2013.
The update fixes an issue with Outlook that was causing the email program not to detect and connect to the Exchange server, instead requiring manual settings.
It also addresses an issue where Outlook for Mac would delete shared folders if the Open Other User's Folder feature was used.
Another fix was for an issue where Outlook would try and connect to a public folder that had been disabled or removed from the Exchange server.
Previous to that update, 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.
Our sister site, Computerworld, notes according to Microsoft's support policy for the Mac – under which Mac software is supported for five years, rather than the 10 years of support offered to Windows variants of the software - Office for the Mac 2011 will no longer be supported by the company after 12 January, 2016.
That's not long from now and we certainly hope to see a new version of Office for Mac within that time. Read on to find out when you can expect to see a new version of Office for Mac.
Microsoft Office on the iPad and iPhone
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 then launched Office for iPad in March. This iPad version of the Office suite comprises 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.
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
The Office versions for iPhone and iPad both require an Office 365 subscription if you wish to edit the documents.