It’s Official

It's Official

The press
at midnight, so I can talk a little bit about Mac Office 2004 in
general and Mac Word 2004 in particular. Just a note on release terminology:
some articles you’ll read refer to a “release to manufacturing” (RTM) date of
April 14. In Microsoft speak, “RTM” has the same meaning as Apple’s “Golden
Master,” and refers to the way that product development groups hand the final
bits off to the manufacturing group for duplication and packaging.

Perhaps another way to put it is, RTM is when the development group behaves in a manner that’s reminiscent of a frat party.
Fortunately there aren’t many fountains close to the building that currently
houses the Redmond contingent of Mac BU, so there’s a good chance I’ll get to
stay dry this time.

Anyway, for those of you who’ve been dying to know, yes, MacOffice 2004 does support long file names. In Word, we’ve also reworked the
formatting palette, complete with a new “Styles” tab that will make working
with styles much easier. We’ve also added a compatibility checker that will
flag things in your document that earlier versions of either Mac Word or Win
Word will have difficulty understanding.

Word’s support for Unicode is vastly improved, though Word still won’t do right-to-left languages. Omar,
Dan and href="">Dennis might sheepishly point out
that Entourage handles right-to-left languages just fine, but, then, nobody
cares if their e-mail messages print, and break lines, the same way that
Outlook does. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who wants to get Mac Word to do
right-to-left languages is welcome to try. You just have to make sure that Mac
Word breaks lines of text exactly the same way Win Word does.

Speaking of which, Mac Word now uses the same line-layout engine that Win Word started using as of version 9, so not only do we guarantee
we’ll break lines of text the same way, but we’ll position text within the line
the same way that Win Word does.

There have also been a lot of under-the-hood changes to improve Mac Word’s compatibility with more recent versions of Win Word. For
example, Mac Word 2004 supports Win Word’s new table styles, and Mac Word
sports an improved version of Win Word’s method of displaying interlineations
when tracking edits.

The bad news is that Mac Word 2004 doesn’t support XML. Also, because the new Information Rights Management feature in Win Office 2003
is based on some Windows-only Active Directory authentication and identity
features, we were not able to put together a solution for Mac Office 2004 that
will enable Mac users to read Win Office 2003 documents that have IRM
protection turned on. Both of these, however, are high on our list of things
to do in the immediate future. Exactly when they’ll be available, I don’t

I’ve already talked about the new Notebook
Layout View. We’ve also done some nice little features like “auto
recovery” and “paste recovery,” both of which provide you with a way to change
the way Word’s done something after the fact. It replaces the common
Undo/rummage about for another way to do the same thing, process that we’ve
seen a number of users go through with some of Word’s automatic features.

There are a number of folks in the media who are working on product reviews, and I don’t want to steal their thunder. So, look for more
complete descriptions of some of the work we’ve done in the major Mac media



Comments (36)

  1. TjL says:

    In the immortal words of Mr. Burns: Excellent.

    I’ve been looking forward to this since the MacWorld review

    Is there a way to convert the "RTM" date to a "You can buy it in a store" date?

    Please do link to the various reviews when they come out so we won’t miss any!


  2. Rick Schaut says:

    The lag from RTM date to "in-store" date is generally about 4-5 weeks, but it all depends on what’s in the manufacturing pipeline ahead of us.

  3. Scott says:

    Congrats on RTM! Do you know if Word 2004 fixes the problem where, after you type, edit, or click, the change doesn’t appear for several seconds or until you kind of jiggle the mouse around?



  4. Jake says:

    Add Sharepoint support to the Mac platform and specifically into Office for Mac!

  5. Looks like Mac Office 2004 has been released to manufacturing .

  6. Erik says:

    A question; you mentioned that the IRM functionality requires some Active Directory manipulation; without spilling any company secrets, do you think this is potentially solvable using either Apple’s AD plug-in or a third-party solution like AdMitMac?

    The reason I ask is that my assumption is that most Mac users who will need access to these documents are likely going to be in an environment where they will have the ability to join an AD network, so leveraging the existing infrastructure would potentially speed up the development of such a service…

    Oh, and thanks for fixing the 31-character filename issue. 😀

  7. Dave Walker says:

    Congratulations. I’m due for a new Mac, and it would be nice to bring home both boxes on the same day. 🙂

  8. Rhaps says:

    Thank you for this full feedback.

    A little question, will Word 2004 use less than 20% cpu time under idle use ?

    Seriously, will Word 2004 use less cpu than his predecesor.

  9. Rick Schaut says:

    Scott: There are a number of niggling issues that we fixed, but I don’t know specifically if that’s one.

    Erik: The IRM issue is more complicated than simply authenticating against Active Directory, which is what AdmitMac and the AD plug-in for Panther allow.

    Rhaps: Most of the time, yes, though we’ve added a few background tasks that Word X didn’t have.

  10. Chris G says:

    Way to go MacBU! I can’t wait to upgrade! I’d like to second the motion for SharePoint support in Mac Office. Hopefully Apple’s improved AD integration and Kerberos support it Panther will make this possible. With all of the XML goodies now shipping in out-of-the-box Panther installs (e.g.: CFXMLParser, NSXMLParser, libxml2, expat, etc.), I hope enabling XML support won’t be such an onerous dev task! Congrats!

  11. Rajesh says:

    "Mac Word now uses the same line-layout engine that Win Word".

    I"m really interested to know why it was not done earlier.

  12. Rick Schaut says:

    Rajesh, there are a number of reasons this wasn’t done earlier, but the most important reason is it needed to be done in concert with our change from using QuickDraw to ATSUI for rendering text. The timeliness of the QuickDraw to ATSUI change had a number of issues dating all the way back to the days of QuickDrawGX.

  13. John Maher says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for actually taking the time to post this blog. I had no idea until about 15 minutes ago that MSDN had blogging set up for their employees: that’s what I get for being a Java developer :-p

    In any event, Congratulations for your milestone. I look forward to forwarding the announcement internally so that we can get upgrading.


  14. Jake says:

    So what’s the good word?

    A finder-like interface emulating the Sharepoint client side extensions to Webdav would be nice. Including any needed NTLM authentication.

    Getting Safari NTLM support and keeping Webcore on the UI test plans for Sharepoint would be nice.

    Office for Mac is a great accomplishment. Bringing in Sharepoint client support should be the uptick to the Premier version – not Virtual PC.

  15. Rick Schaut says:

    Jake: I wish I could tell you more, but all I can say for now is that SharePoint isn’t there yet for the Mac. Well, I can tell you that, for personal reasons, I probably want SharePoint support as much as you do :-).

  16. Jake says:


    Fair enough, but keep up the fight.

    Did you happen to fix the cross reference dialog in Word? Or am I just using it wrong?

    When I attempt to add, say, 10 cross references into a document, I select the cross reference item, add it into the document, reposition to a new location in the document, then go back to the cross reference dialog. The dialog has to reload the selection, which takes forever.


  17. Rick Schaut says:

    Jake, use the contact link at the top-left of this page to send me an e-mail. I’d like to get a better idea of what you’re doing.

  18. Sven says:

    Improved Unicode support: does that mean I can finally exchange documents with a mix of simplified, traditional Chinese and English (or another Western language) with WinWord users, not see that dialog anymore that asks me to select the type of the document after I doubleclicked on a WinWord file, change fonts without turning half of the document into underlines etc?

  19. Sven says:

    Oh, and what I forgot: will there still be a "Language Register" that turns half of the UI into Japanese? (OK, not half, but all Save, Open, Print dialogues etc)

  20. Rob says:

    on IRM…is this something your looking into adding later into 04 or more of a "Next time on Mac Office featurette…"

  21. Rick Schaut says:

    Sven: Word 2004 provides Chinese support with much greater aplomb than Word X, and, yes, the Microsoft Language Register tool will still be part of the package.

    Rob: IRM/DRM is a "Next time on Mac" feature. We need to work out a few things with Apple before we can ship a solution.

  22. Sven says:

    So, with the new (old?) Language register, does still a large part of the UI dialogs and menus of an *English* version of Word suddenly turn into Japanese after I registered it? Do I still need to register for Japanese – although I don’t speak any – when I need Chinese?

    And also, have you addressed the bug where text copied and pasted into Word e.g. from web pages has one invisible character before every normal character (becomes visible as star * when you toggle "Show/Hide Editing Marks")?


  23. Rick Schaut says:


    You stil need to register as Japanese, and, yes, the system dialogs (Open, Save/Save As, Print and Page Setup) are in Japanese. The rest of the menus and UI are still in English, though the commands on the menus change. There is no "Chinese" language register, though, as far as Word’s internals are concerned, little distinction is made between Japanese and any other far eastern language.

    I’m not familiar with any problem involving pasting into Word registered as J, but I just tried it copying from a Reuters web page in Safari and pasting into Word (registered as Japanese) and I didn’t see the problem.

  24. Charles Harvey says:

    I get an error message when I type chinese in Word 2004.

    " 1. Chinese (Taiwan) proofing tools are not installed."

    I get a similar error if I use Korean or simplified Chinese.

    I do not get this error if I use Persian.

    Since I know Office 2004 does not support Persian this seems to indicate that proofing tools exist for Chinese and Korean.

    I know these are not on the install CD. Will Microsoft make them available on their web site?

    BTW I called MS support on this issue and after escalating to the 3rd or ? top level support rep, he indicated he did not know what double byte was.

  25. Chad says:

    I’d like to see Office MAC support Sharepoint as well…

  26. Kevin says:


    Do you have any knowledge about the ability to purchase/upgrade to Professional (when it is released) if I upgrade to Standard now?

    I would like to take advantage of the long-file name feature and prefer not to wait until later this year.

    I suppose my question is: Will the cost to upgrade from Standard to Professional be the incremental upgrade cost differential?

  27. Les says:

    First of all, congratulations on your new release!

    I’m very interested in the compatibility/functionality of this new version of Mac Office with SharePoint 2003. We downloaded the 30 day free trial to see how it will work out for us.

    We’ve found issues in our lab with posting discussion threads to documents. We can do the discussion forums but not the threads on documents. Is there a trick to it that I’m missing?

    Any hint/help would be great.

  28. Rick Schaut says:

    Kevin, I know nothing about pricing. Sorry. I expect their might be a discount for VPC 7 to Office Standard owners, but I really don’t know. I’m not even sure the marketing folks have it figured out yet.

    Les, there isn’t a trick that you’re missing, at least as far as I know. We’ve not looked into Sharepoint issues in great detail pending the work we plan to do to support XML, so I’m afraid there isn’t anything I can tell you to get document threading to work with Office 2004.

  29. Weddings says:

    It’s Official The press release went out at midnight, so I can talk a little bit about Mac Office 2004 in general and Mac Word 2004 in particular. Just a note on release terminology: some articles you’ll read refer to a “release to

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