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Microsoft Office Apps for Mac: An Insider's View

Utilizing Microsoft Office, Lync, OneNote, and OneDrive

The Macintosh is a machine crafted with excellence. Many people see it as nothing more than an expensive toy, but it truly is a work of art, and when used with enterprise software, it becomes a powerful workhorse. I started using a Mac in late 2009. I was in the process of getting certified to become an Apple Technician and thought “what better way to do this than to immerse my self using the hardware?” I am now a certified Apple Hardware Technician, and several years have passed since purchasing my first MacBook Pro. I am now using my second MacBook Pro, a 13” late-2011 model, running the most current OS X; Yosemite. Microsoft is the most used application in a work environment, most commonly seen on PCs, and yet I am writing this blog on my Mac using Microsoft Word for Mac. Let me tell you about some of the apps in the Office for Mac suite.

Office History

Microsoft Office for Mac was released August 1, 1989. At that time, the apps listed was short, it just included: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. There have been six major revisions of Microsoft Office for Mac: Office 98, 2001, X, 2004, 2008, & 2011. I am currently using Office for Mac 2011, which is the latest offering. The other two that I have worked with extensively are Office for Mac 2004 and 2008. Entourage, the Mac equivalent of Outlook, has supported Exchange since August 4, 2003. The name Entourage was changed to Outlook in the 2011 version of Office to match its Windows counterpart. Outlook for Mac 2011 supports Office 365—the current Exchange online email client provided by Microsoft.

The Apps

Microsoft Lync

Lync is a powerful messaging platform which debuted on the Mac in October 2011 and on the PC in 2010. Lync is a powerful application that ties messaging and video conferencing into one application for the work place.

Lync is also integrated into Outlook and the calendar on the PC, but that feature is not yet available on the Mac. When you are away from your computer for an extended period of time, your Lync status will change; orange means “Away” and red means “Not Available.” By clicking the drop down arrow next to the profile picture you can also select “Do Not Disturb.” The user can also input a personal status message.

Lync's screen sharing and presentation features cut down the amount of time it takes to get up and running in conference rooms and meetings. The presenter of the meeting can share their screen and simultaneously record the presentation for later review.

OneNote on the Mac

OneNote has been available since March 17, 2014 for free in the app store. The initial release forWindows was way back in November 2003, so it’s taken a bit of time to get over to the Mac environment. This app is amazing, and the functionality is still improving on the Mac.

Its big sister on Windows is still further ahead, but in most cases it adequately serves its purpose on the mac. I have been using OneNote since its release on the Mac and have been adding and creating notebooks ever since. I use the “share” functionality in OneNote to provide others access to a shared notebook where we can collaborate, or I can help the troubleshoot issues (since I am the IT guy.) 

OneDrive on the Mac

OneDrive made its debut on February 19, 2014. I installed OneDrive back in March of this year and have been storing all my office documents there. OneDrive is so convenient. I can access the same files at home or at work and on my Mac or on my Windows PC.

Bing, the Microsoft search engine offers reward points for using their search engine. You can redeem those Bing points for more space on OneDrive (among other cool products and services.) 100 Bing points netted me 100 GB of free storage for one year on OneDrive.

OneDrive is not to be confused with OneDrive for Business, which comes with 1TB of space; sadly this is not yet available on the Mac, although demand for it seems high… maybe soon Microsoft?

The Future of Office for Mac

I don’t have any inside connections at Microsoft, but I anticipate that a new version of Microsoft Office for Mac will be released soon, since the current version is still labeled “2011.” It will likely have many Office 365 features on par with the PC version. 


Wiz E. Wig, Mascot & Director of Magic
Wiz E. Wig

Director of Magic