Microsoft touts new features in Office 2001 for the Macintosh

Microsoft Corporation on Thursday unveiled some of the "first for the Mac" features that will debut in Office 2001 Macintosh Edition when the productivity software suite in released late this year. The feature-set of Mac Office 2001 is designed to help users get work done more quickly using simpler tools. "In many instances, we simply wanted to make existing functionality more discoverable for our customers," says Kevin Browne, the general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft. "Our customers have told us that starting and completing projects is too difficult. Extensive research and usability testing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2001 have helped us simplify the applications and the way in which everyday tasks are completed."

Mac Office 2001 introduces the Project Gallery, a front-end for the suite that provides a task-based starting point. The Project Gallery lets users think it terms of the project they need to complete rather than the application they'd need to use to make it happen. Office 2001 also includes over 400 customizable templates and wizards that will jump-start the creation of professional invoices, catalogs, newsletters, journals, and other documents. Each of the Office 2001 applications includes a context-sensitive Formatting Palette that displays the most often-used settings and tools for formatting text, images, and other objects.

To speed the creation of simple lists in Excel, which research shows to be the most common use for this spreadsheet, Microsoft is including a List Manager applet. And mail merge, one of the more difficult but often-needed uses for Word, is much simpler in Office 2001 thanks to a Data Merge Manager that consolidates the process into a single, ease-to-use dialog. Office 2001 also includes an integrated email and personal information manager (PIM) client, similar to Outlook 2000 on the PC, which has yet to be named. The email portion of this client is based on Outlook Express, the email client that Microsoft ships with the Macintosh version of Internet Explorer. In PowerPoint 2001, a new Tri-pane View combines the previously separate Slide, Outline, and Notes views, making it easier to create presentations. And PowerPoint can now be saved in QuickTime format if desired, so that users can share their creations with any Mac users, even those that do not own Office.

For more information about Office 2001 Macintosh Edition, please visit the Microsoft Web site

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