David Pogue Hates Office for Mac 2011



Last week, Microsoft released the anticipated Office 2011 for Mac update, the first OS X version of their popular Office suite for several years. It’s getting good reviews, but you know who hates it? David Pogue, who describes it as utterly broken in a lengthy review.

The whole thing’s worth reading, but here’s the takeaway:

[I]t’s sad to see such unpolished work from Microsoft’s Mac team. Looks like they had their eye on the big-ticket items—and simply left the smaller cookies to crumble.

I have no thoughts to share yet on the matter, except to say that I wanted to dump sewage all over Steve Ballmer’s head when I installed the application suite and it immediately dumped seven or eight hideous icons into my dock without once consulting me.

  • Dave

    I just recently tried to run a seminar on my Mac with each participant supplying their PPT’s that they created on their PC’s to me via USB sticks. All presentations worked flawlessly on PC, but became highly unstable on the MAC. Formatting problems abound, entire slides fail to show up, warnings of corrupted files when I try to save. It just doesn’t work very well. We had to revert to an old Dell to show the PPT’s. There were plenty of snickers on how the Mac is overrated. I believe it is Microsoft’s problem however.

  • Adolfo

    I’m sure *it is* Microsoft’s problem. I work with really large Excel sheets, and often need to scroll up an down, change chart series, etc. I just can’t understand why Excel 2010 running on VMWare can run faster and feels more fluid than the Mac-native Excel 2011. But it does. Even Excel 2007 under CrossOver runs better. With Excel 2011 I just can’t work!
    I think the people at MS should think about virtualization for the next version of the suite, because Office 2004, 2008 and 2011 are unusable for actual productive environments.

  • Blissinfinite67

    Just started using Outlook ’11 on the mac here at the office. Sure, it interacts with Exchange quite nicely but the application itself (plus interface) is one of the worst email apps I’ve ever worked with. It’s browsing mail and searching mail as well. Not happy with it at all. May have to go back to Mail.

  • oandroido

     Calling it broken is being nice.

    Opening any Office 11 application immediately causes my system to go into a coma for about a minute by what seems to be its inability to figure out what fonts are all about.

    If I have InDesign open and dare open any Office 11 doc, all my fonts within InDesign can no longer be found. 

    Today I am trying to build a mailing list by importing data. Can’t find the address 2 field. Apparently there’s no way to get one.

    Orifice 11 is more like it. And with these glaring issues being open so long, it’s not looking good for the Mac team. Sorry guys, you made my work much harder.

  • A Frustrated User

    I can’t get the Create New Header for each Section to work.

  • Lucien Pichette

    been trying to use Office 2011 for mac, email is ok, notes have absolutely frustrated me.
    Cannot get them to save.

  • molbrisc

    This may be trivial but I just got Word 2011 on my new Mac and I have documents about people that I like to have their photo be the icon for, but Word dumps the photo every time I save the document and reverts to the standard Word Doc icon.  My old version of Word never did this until the document migrated to a PC.  All of my documents are starting to look alike which is the last thing I need.

  • Tom Pyzdek

    One big thing that’s broken: you can’t deactivate an old installation. Therefore when you change computers, you’re screwed.


    It’s simply frustrating to someone like me who is in the middle of multi[le consulting contracts and now needs to refer to an old computer and a new computer because there is no way to take old WORD docs and use them with Office for Mac 2011.  That said, I doubt MS cares since they never have before.  Not caring is the MS business model and work plan.

  • Tcastle

    after installing a “critical” office update on my imac the only thing in critical is excel as it no longer works. Beyond frustrating. It just sucks.

  • Caps6

    Sept 2011 – “critical” update notice pops-up, and, of course, the update fails.  MS’s instructions are to delete the app folder, go into hidden folders to remove “receipts”, then re-install – bizarre, but not deadly…yet.  

    The problem is that you need to search out the web page to download the update, and when you run the update, you get a handy message stating “Office 2011 14.1.3 Update can’t be installed on this disk.  A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume.”   Well, the instructions state that the first step for the install is to delete the app folder.  This is exactly why we run our small company on Macs, and I was very hesitant to add a Microsoft product in our work flow.  

  • Bruno Yuji

    I think Microsoft doesn’t quite understand that Excel is mostly used for work and not for domestic purposes, therefore they should make it simple and fast, not pretty and slow. I’ve been working with 80k+ row series and trying to make a chart, and the thing just freezes every 5 seconds. It takes about 3 minutes just to change the maximum of an axis. Microsoft forgets that Excel is used by researchers and that they need speed and simplicity, not some colored bars with pretty icons.
    I’m done, I’ll just go back to windows and work with DIAdem and Excel 2010 for Windows, that way I can deal with millions of row without my computer even lagging.

  • Diane

    In Office for Mac 2011, with both Excel and Word, the page keeps jumping to the right so that I can’t see what’s on the left of the page.  I have disable the left/right function on the mouse since I thought that I may have been unwittingly sweeping my fingers on the mouse to move the images on the screen, but it’s still a huge problem.

  • gatinho

    I left the PC years ago because i hated the long waits while you “update” and the shut down of all programs, the restarts .. it was a headache then and bringing Microsoft onto my new mac feels like the biggest mistake… like rekindling a relationship with an abusive ex

  • HateWord

    I hate Microsoft Word, so I recently purchased Pages just to find out that word will not open documents formatted to Pages. It feels so wrong to install Microsoft products on my new iMac. However, I still need to figure out how to make my documents made on Pages to be usable by those who do use Word.  But believe me, I love Pages! it is like a mini In-Design.

  • sonmist

    While I was working on a REALLY important doc in Office for Mac/Word, suddenly all 32 pages turned into nothing but asterixes. According to a Microsoft technician, the doc was corrupted but the Word program it suddenly was corrupted in worked “perfectly”!! 
    Learned the hard way through this that one should never work on one doc for too long. The auto-save option is only really helpful if one closes a doc often enough in “perfectly” working Word! 

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  • Jake

    I was hopeful and actually liked some of the features like the good integration between the calendar and email. Problem: it has way too many bugs. I started it up this morning and discovered my entire calendar was wiped out. It crashes. It hangs up for no reason. Looks like another typical Microsoft product.

  • Peter

    I installed Office 2011 almost a month ago.  Since then, several files disappeared or were corrupted, preferences of my MacBook simply changed, a folder in the trash can can’t be removed, …  So I read the list of errors.  Astonishing!  Removed the trial version and I’ll return to Office 2004.

  • Otis5014

    Export your Pages document and save as a Word file. Click File/Export…to get started.

  • Mark Bourland

    You call this progress? I bought Office 2011 for my Mac because a Word and a Word Template was recommended for an FHWA-sponsored report. I’ve spend hours with the Word version of the report. It’s all but finished but there is something wrong with the auto-generated table of contents and I cannot edit or work with the appendices that follow the TOC. Word 2011 repeatedly freezes. In my 25+ years with MS Word, this is the worst experience yet. I knew I didn’t want to try this. I’ve been wary of Office since Pagemaker (how long ago was that?).

  • Seisguy

    I love Word and Powerpoint.  Excel is useful too.  I hate PC’s with a passion due to all the crap I had to deal with as an IT person for many machines.  Most of my colleagues use Word.  They all use Powerpoint.  I tried 2008.  *.docx and pptx were annoying to get used to, since it took forever for all other colleagues to upgrade.  I did not like 2008 version.  Had issues with equations getting converted to images all the time.  But at least it was fairly reliable.  Started having issue with 2008 recently with files not being able to be saved do to some stupid issue that is basically due to a poorly designed office package.  Thought upgrading to 2011 would solve these issues.  Not only did I dish out $150 for a three-license version, I bought additional problems that did not exist before.  I had my system drive called “/” on the desktop.  That broke Powerpoint from opening 2008 pptx files.  My assistant talked with tech support for 20 minutes before figuring that out.  However, the problem of “disk is full trying to write to” message still occurs, randomly.  Random problems are the worst to diagnose.  Also, when I get this message, I go to edit the equations, and Word report “Word cannot edit the MIcrosoft Equation”.  Maybe this is related to using the older version of Editor (which still comes as an option in Word).  If older veresion doesn’t work, then it shouldn’t be available.  BTW, why do i use older version?  Because the newer version has much less features and much less easier to use–a giant step backwards.

    Microsoft: I hated Windows after you required me to spend countless hours pulling my hair out.  I now hate Office because you produce real SH*T for Macs.  I will never in a million years work for you as a programmer.  I hope you rot in H*LL.

  • Verneyr

    Just stumbled on this page after word crashed YET AGAIN trying to do a simple cut and paste… It really is such a piece of crap – Microsoft you should be ashamed of yourself.  My poor kids have to hear me yelling my head off at the ‘Stupid *I*&^*%^&^%&% computer’ – and then I correct myself… because the computer is a joy to use (as it is a mac) – it’s *&^%$ microsoft that is to blame… and the whole reason I went Mac is to get away from gnashing my teeth over windoze.   Even more gutting that you just know that they have produced crap for Mac so that it stops people from making the sensible switch to an operating system that brings joy… Let’s hope for a rosy future where business users get used to using Pages and open-office etc… and we can watch Microsoft disappear forever…

  • DaveOregon

    I try and try to give Mac a chance. I purchased one of these overpriced Macbook Pro in hopes that the laptop would be more stable and interesting, Waste of money. I have had Outlook 2011 running through my work’s Exchange server work for me, but alas, only for a short while, then no sync at all upon no changes. It works, then it refuses to sync. Time and time again, it will sync some emails and then just stop with the endless waiting circle. I am giving up. I shall go back to the PC and forget Mac for work. Microsoft simply has the market for Office and yes, Office is what people use. The Mac simply can not complete. Issue after issue. I simply dont have time for it. So yes, I am a victim of Mac’s advertising and packaging. The shell of a MacBook Pro is wonderful, but folks, the Outlook software simply and without doubt does not work on a Mac. Good riddance

  • Jeff Sawada

    Microsoft publishes office, not Apple.  You should not blame Apple for poorly developed software by Microsoft.  Remember, Microsoft really does not profit from helping Mac users in the long run.  Apple develops superior hardware and software, but it cannot force Microsoft to produce a superior version of Office for Mac when Microsoft strategically does not benefit from doing so.  Think it through, buddy.

  • Jeff Sawada

    Then there is the malware, viruses and spyware to consider when running Windows.  You cannot have it all (unless you run Windows on your Mac). In addition, I use Office 2010 for Windows 7 at work, and it has lots of bugs too including the “all my text became %^&*@#$%^ symbols” bug.

  • Dolmance

    Is it possible to keep Word and get rid off all the other Office programs, like Powerpoint?  I’ve never used those other programs, never wanted them and they’re just taking up space on my Mac.

  • gbauman

    I skipped from Word 2004 for Mac (which worked great) to Word 2011. With all the added features, I really want it to work, because I use the tracking daily with my co-editor. But work too long in tracking, and it will crash. Keep saving regularly, and hope you don’t lose too much of the editing you did after the last save. I crash at least once daily, and keep hoping Microsoft will issue a bug fix that will solve the instability problems. Microsoft, if this isn’t solved, I may convert to Open Office before I think. (My organization requires that I work in Office.)

  • Aerin_S

    I did the same thing (skipped from 2004 to 2011), and it’s driving me crazy by hanging every time I drag and drop text to the beginning of a paragraph, or often when I try to copy and paste text from a pdf into a Word document. It’s not due to corruption in the document, because it affects every document. I have to use Word 2011 for compatibility with clients. It’s really annoying to have to constantly remind myself not to drag and drop paragraphs! (And to save every few minutes, in case I forget!) I also routinely have to use revision-tracking in long documents (e.g. 200+ pages), and I’m dreading it! This problem, combined with the loss of scroll-bar arrows in OS 10.7 (grrr..), is seriously reducing my productivity.

  • info

    It’s crashed about 100 times since I installed it about 3 weeks ago. Today I’ve been trying to do a logo using WordArt, and it looks wonderful. Until I save the document. Then it just becomes a text box, and all the effects I added disappear.

  • danee v

    Im with y’all. I use excel for mac 2011 to manage large data sets and it frequently crashes my computer, hangs for long periods of time, and generally causes extreme unhappiness. Boo microsoft. 

  • RinaDE

    Regretfully, I downloaded the trial version of Office 2011 yesterday. I don’t know how it did it, but ever since I installed it, I have been having a lot of trouble getting to some of the web sites that I frequent. 

  • ddulac

    I downloaded and installed the “free trial” of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac but couldn’t activate it because there was no “Try free for 30 days” option. When I contacted ‘technical support’ it took them 3 weeks and several emails back and forth to tell me that the problem was that I hadn’t downloaded the file yet. So obviously those files showing up in my downloads and applications folders, the whole installation process and all the icons that automatically installed on my dock were figments of my imagination. Thanks for wasting my time Microsoft!

  • Mark F. Mauceri

    MS Office 2011 for Mc is an embarrassment, particularly Outlook (the upgrade!). First, it completely stripped all of the category information from 2000+ contacts. Field data used to compile lists, labels, etc.

    The custom fields were stripped of their designation, e.g., “Profession” or “Holiday Card”. Try to find somewhere in Outlook 2011 Mac where you can rename a custom field… You can’t!.. They forgot to carry the code over from Entourage.

    When I posted this defect on their user forum, a very polite response suggested I post another comment to suggested the lost feature as an “upgrade item.” Upgrade item! When the functionality was from a previous version.

    Sometimes the cross application spell check works, sometimes it doesn’t. I have to re-read every email or letter twice, because if you run the spellcheck against glaring errors, it says the “Spell check is complete”. Yeah, completely wrong.

    I am so glad people are migrating away from Windows in droves. It’s just a matter of time before it’s deja vu for Microsoft Office.

    How competent (sic) programmers took this release to market is indicative of how far Microsoft has fallen.