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Microsoft showcases co-authoring capabilities of Office 2011 for Mac


Microsoft continues to offer a closer look at features of the new Office 2011 for Mac set to launch in October, with the latest update focusing on the co-authoring, Web apps, Scheduling Assistant and Broadcast Slideshow features.

The Office for Mac team on Wednesday revealed more features in the upcoming release of Microsoft's software suite. Details were given on the team's official blog, and also through a new video that demonstrates some of the features.

Kurt Schmucker, senior evangelist with the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft, said the co-authoring feature in Office for Mac 2011 will allow multiple authors to work on a Word document, Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation at the same time.

"It used to be the case you had to mail around a document among multiple authors," he said. "Who has the latest copy? Is this the last one? Is this the final? The final, final, final? And this happened all of the time. Those sort of problems become a thing of the past in this new scenario."

Co-authoring relies on cloud storage from Microsoft, offered in the form of SkyDrive for consumers, and SharePoint for business customers. These documents stored in the cloud can also be edited on a machine that does not have Office installed, thanks to the inclusion of Web apps.

"When it comes to working together, Office 2011 not only helps you collaborate, it helps you coordinate," Schmucker said.

The full list of details released by Microsoft Wednesday are as follows:

  • Co-authoring: Worry free co-authoring tools give you the capability to simultaneously edit the same Word document, PowerPoint slideshow, or Excel worksheet with other people in different locations. Documents can be stored in the cloud using SkyDrive for consumers, and SharePoint for business users.
  • Office Web apps: Online companions to Office 2010 and Office for Mac 2011, Office Web apps allow you to get things done when and where you want, from virtually any computer with an Internet connection. You can view your documents in high-fidelity, make light edits on the web, and then open them again in your Office 2011 applications to continue editing with access to all of the functionality you need.
  • Scheduling Assistant: Improved in the brand new Outlook for Mac, this feature allows you to see your calendar in-line with your mail to create a more efficient workflow. If you’re an Exchange user, you can view more of your co-workers shared calendar details in the scheduling assistant and easily track attendee responses right from your meeting request.
  • Broadcast Slideshow: You might have heard about this cool feature that was unveiled in PowerPoint Office 2010, and now we are very excited to confirm that it will also be included in PowerPoint for Mac 2011. This is a great cross-platform feature that lets you literally broadcast out your presentation giving you control over what is seen and when – all that is required is a browser connection.

Last month, Microsoft showed off compatibility features in Office 2011 for Mac, including consistency between software available for both Windows and Mac. Users can also do basic photo editing tasks within Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2011, including background removal and color correction.

Office for Mac 2011 will ship in late October with a lower price per installation for all editions, starting at $119 for the Home and Student edition, and $199 for the Home and Business version. The 32-bit software suite will be available in 13 languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish. Two new languages were also added to the mix for this year's update: Polish and Russian.

For more, see AppleInsider's previous coverage of Office for Mac 2011: