Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Substantial Improvements over 2008 and 2011 SP1
on April 20, 2012
I recently completed the MS Office 2011 Home and Business update to Service Pack 2 (SP2) and wanted to provide everyone with an update. My main work computers are all Mac variants, from MacBook Airs (primary) to 27" i7 iMacs (secondary), and all systems are running OS X 10.7.3 (Lion) with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. I have one Lenovo T410 laptop running Win 7 and MS Office 2010.
1. Absolutely SOLID Outlook performance improvement! Outlook was incredibly slow and fairly crash prone in Service Pack 1 (so frustrating that I nearly moved back to OS X Mail). However, I have to say that the performance improvements that MS put into Outlook under SP2 are genuinely impressive. Outlook is extremely fast now, with no lag time in operations (e.g. moving files to folders, simply looking at a different folder) that used to take 5-10 seconds to perform. While I haven't measured it, I'd go out on a limb and say that performance is equal to or better than Outlook 2010 running on my Windows machine).
2. IMAP SSL/TLS is now working properly (yay)! While I didn't see any mention of this in the release notes, my problematic, failed SSL connections with my hosted Exchange services have now disappeared and I'm now fully using SSL/TLS for secure connections.
3. Significantly improved stability of all applications. I was having some minor crashing and/or hanging issues with Outlook and Word prior to the upgrade, but haven't had a single hang or crash since the upgrade, knock on wood. While this is purely a subjective metric, the overall "feel" of all applications in the suite is that they are simply "unencumbered" and better "honed". The applications are quick, efficient, and get out of the way allowing me to focus on my work -- isn't that what a productivity suite is supposed to do?
1. In the SP2 upgrade, Outlook performs a database upgrade which takes a pretty substantial amount of time (I have a gazillion messages, so maybe the time was just due to the volume of my mail). Once the upgrade is done, you'll want to check Missing body text in Sent folder messages as I discovered that messages over five months in age only retained their headers -- the body text of these message are now missing. Any messages which I truly needed copies of, regardless of sender (me or someone else), were archived at time of transmission on the Mac in a personal folder (i.e. PST), so I didn't lose too much as those messages were unaffected...
2. For whatever strange reason, Microsoft is still hobbling Office for Mac by not ensuring feature parity with the Windows version of Office. There are many little things that count (calendar management is different, drag-and-drop message management is different, etc). I could care less what operating system I am using, the Office suite should operate EXACTLY the same way on any machine. If MS wants to "Macify" Office with a motif that is more consistent with OS X, then that's great (and welcome). But, there is no excuse for not have a virtually identical Office implementation on a Mac and Windows machine. Having said that, Office 2011 is SIGNIFICANTLY closer than Office 2008 and probably represents a 95% parity with Windows Office 2010.
1. I think this suite is solid enough to give it a solid 4-star rating. Again, with very little relearning (from Windows to OS X), you should be able to pick up this suite and be productive in short order. Even if you purchase the boxed version of the software, it will automatically update when installed, so you'll get SP2 right out of the chute...
2. The SP2 update is EXCELLENT and really supercharged the applications to the point that they no longer "get in the way", but rather now simply do what they need to do without frustration. The Outlook updates at A+. Stability so far has been A+.
3. MAKE SURE YOU BACKUP YOUR MACHINE PRIOR TO PERFORMING THE SP2 UPGRADE! I have no idea if the old messages in the Sent folder(s) are still there completely, or if there are just headers there, but this may impact some users with a strong need for access to historical messages. Having a backup will allow you to recover sent messages if you really need them.
Hope this review helps in your decision!