Over the years, I’ve worked in a Microsoft Office application on PC and Mac. The Windows version has had more improvements and updates than the Mac version, even though Office was created for Mac before the PC. Even though the release for Mac was first, the PC version often received the focus for improvement and added features.
Microsoft Office Versions
In my opinion, the Mac version looks a little rougher around the edges than the more streamlined look on the PC. Outside of the interface differences, you will notice that Mac Office doesn’t have all of the apps that the PC version has. And, some of the visual basic functions are missing in Mac. Mac does have a better layout look for more of the publishing aspects. Only Word for PC has that feature. The other apps do not have it.
Overall, when I need to do more expert level tasks in Office, I would use the PC version. If you do need to run both versions, you can do so in Mac using the Parallels Desktop for Mac and a subscription to Office 365.
Open Office XML
Currently, the Office products are more compatible across platforms. The addition of the Open Office XML formats allows you to go back and forth pretty seamlessly. You will notice that in the later versions of Office, you have file extensions of .docx, .pptx, .xlsx, etc. The “x” lets you know that it is using XML.
Charting the Differences
If you are interested in the specific variations between Mac and PC on the application level, check out Kurt Schmucker’s article. He created four charts detailing several versions of Office for Mac and PC for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. He also included one table of the overall Office differences.
Over the past few years, Microsoft has definitely made strides to get the Mac version up to speed with the Windows version. They are not quite there yet, but I think the next version or two of Office will rectify most of the minor issues.
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