Microsoft Office 2008 has just recently been released for the Mac, and Word, that steadiest of word processing programs that’s been around more than fifteen years, has been retooled to give rivals of desktop publishing software a run for it. If you thought Microsoft Word was made just for writing letters and resumes, think again. Now you can create your own newsletters and storyboard your site’s latest web design.

New Notebook View

You’ve always been able to see how your document would look with DESIGN and PREVIEW modes in Word. In Word 2008, you also get the PUBLISHING LAYOUT mode and the all new NOTEBOOK mode. This view allows you to scribble notes while you’re in a lecture or meeting. Designed for a lifestyle on the move, you can even attach voice recordings to your documents via the NOTEBOOK mode.

Improved Image Tools

Word 2008 is supposed to be just a word processing tool, right? But Microsoft has integrated even more drawing and clipart elements into the app giving it functionality, at the very least, as a rough design tool. You can use WORDART to create a variety of interesting text effects (such as bent, semi-transparent, and rotated). You can use the extensive clipart provided to liven up your documents or even embed within your web design mock-ups. And with the new SHAPES tool, you can draw geometric shapes by freehand with the new FREEHAND drawing tool. It also contains symbols that allow you to create flowcharts in a snap.

Tons of Templates

Think you’re not creative? Don’t have time to come up with your own design? Word 2008 has a new ELEMENTS GALLERY chocked full of templates to get your imagination going. You can quickly preview and select the perfect template for you, and you can also change the template’s “theme,” allowing you to customize your document even further. No one will ever know you didn’t design that document’s layout on your own with the fresh, new templates found in Word 2008.

Improved Font Functionality

Fonts have long been the domain of Apple’s software, and most fonts used in Microsoft products have been sadly lacking in that area. But Word 2008 changes that by incorporating the best ideas of Apple’s Font programs. Finally, Microsoft gives you the capability to see how each font will look, including variations with bold and italic fonts. And the fonts are grouped into “collections” which helps you locate fonts that go well in web designs, resumes, or presentations. Improved font functionality, an idea that has been long overdue, is finally here.

Photo Editing

Photoshop has come to Word. Well, not exactly, but Microsoft has included a set of photo-editing tools in Word 2008 to help you add your own photos to your documents. You can now alter images with the usual suspects of BRIGHTNESS, CONTRAST, and TRANSPARENCY. You can also rotate images and with the special effects tools, you can distort and blur or apply color filters to your photos.


Microsoft Word has been around for a long time, over 15 years, in fact. But just because a software is old doesn’t mean it’s stale, and Microsoft has risen to the challenge by incorporating desktop publishing elements into their cornerstone Office software. If you haven’t looked at Word in a long time or are looking to upgrade your existing copy, you owe it to yourself to have another look at Microsoft Word 2008 for the Mac.


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