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Saying hello (again) to Visual Basic

How does that old Chinese proverb go? “May you live in interesting times!” I have no idea how accurate it is, or whether it is a positive blessing or a curse, but I really do live (and work) in interesting times.
Almost two years ago, back at WWDC in August 2006, the MacBU announced that Office 2008 would not have support for Visual Basic. I blogged about it at the time, and that one post has proven to be my 15 minutes of Internet fame. It continues to be the most popular post on my site — 21 months later, it still accounts for almost half of all the hits I get each week. While most of our customers don’t require the cross-platform scripting enabled by VBA, a section of the Mac community spoke out very vocally against our decision, and I still hear echos of it to this day. At the time, I wrote about the challenges we faced in bringing it forward with the rest of Mac Office 2008 and why we ended up deciding to remove the feature, but while some people understood or at least accepted the details, some in the community did not. I’ve been told that we must have cut VB to intentionally drive users to use virtualization and Windows Office 2007 on Macs, or that we were ordered by upper Microsoft management to slowly kill the Mac, or any one of a zillion other “Microsoft is evil” conspiracy theories. None of these theories are true, but it’s rather hard to prove that, except by deeds.
This isn’t a done deed yet, but I’ve got a new commitment for you. Quoting from a press release that went out from the MacBU at 12:01am PST today:

VBA Returns to Future Versions of Office for Mac
The Mac BU also announced it is bringing VBA-language support back to the next version of Office for Mac. Sharing information with customers as early as possible continues to be a priority for the Mac BU to allow customers to plan for their software needs. Although the Mac BU increased support in Office 2008 with alternate scripting tools such as Automator and AppleScript — and also worked with MacTech Magazine to create a reference guide, available at http://www.mactech.com/vba-transition-guide — the team recognizes that VBA-language support is important to a select group of customers who rely on sharing macros across platforms. The Mac BU is always working to meet customers’ needs and already is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac.

Yep, you read that right. VB is (well, will be) back, baby! When we came to the realization in 2006 that there was no way for us to keep VB in the product and still ship Office 2008 on any semblance of the schedule we wanted, we announced its removal, but kept looking at how to bring it back into the suite even before we shipped. Many of the technical challenges I wrote about then still remain, but for a while now I and several others have been working with a group of people who know a heck of a lot about the internals of VB, and once we determined that we could achieve the revival VB in the new schedule for the next version of Mac Office, we locked it into place on the feature list.
Personally, I think it’s really cool that we’re announcing this now. For all the wringing-of-hands and gnashing-of-teeth in the Mac community over the lack of VB, Mac Office 2008 has been selling really well (Craig Eisler, our General Manager and all around cool-boss-guy, said “The response has been amazing — since we launched in January, the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004” in that same press release) which seems to indicate that most of our users don’t find the lack of VB to be a major issue. I think our management is confident enough in our ongoing sales of Office 2008 to tell you about something very significant in the next version, even if that defers some sales to that next version. Based my own experiences talking with people in various Internet forums, I don’t think too much of that will happen, though. And if you were wondering, the delta between Office 2004 and 2008 was longer than we normally expect between versions, so my understanding is that this next version will be available somewhat sooner than 2012 (I can’t give any specifics at this time, however.)
So, if you have a dire need for Visual Basic, you can continue to run Mac Office 2004 (it will even run side-by-side with Office 2008) and we’re publicly committing to VB as good (maybe even better, if things go well) in the next version. My team is responsible for that reintegration, and I’ve been meeting frequently with a number of people as we’ve planned exactly what we’re doing and how we’re bringing VB back. This seems to me to be a strong example for the MacBU naysayers that we’re really listening to what all of our users want, and that we’re most definitely not slow-marching to some bagpiper’s funereal drone!
I’m excited to be able to blog about this now, after almost two years of keeping my lips zipped, and I can’t wait until we reveal everything else about the next version of Mac Office. In the meantime, let me ask you something. What parts of the Visual Basic experience are most important to you? The IDE? Macro UI, such as dialogs? Object model parity between Mac Office and Windows Office? (and if so, which features in the Windows object model do you most want brought to the Mac?) Or something else altogether? I can’t promise to achieve anything in particular, but I’d love to hear how we might be able to improve upon the 2004 VB experience for you.
(Made a few edits this morning, and added a link to the press release.)

138 replies on “Saying hello (again) to Visual Basic”

good news, but if I’m reading correctly, its still 3-4 years till that office is available.
Is macbu going to commit to
– an extended lifecycle for office 2004, including on NEW OSX versions
Is macbu going to consider
– providing a sidegrade option for 2008 customers in the interim?

It would be good if you guys could put down “speed” as a feature as well. Office 2008 is faster than Office 2004, but still seems much, much slower than Pages 2 or Office 2007 running in VMware.

Most important aspect of Visual Basic: its use in Adobe Acrobat’s PDFMaker, allowing Word documents to be turned into PDF documents complete with (1) all sections combined into a single PDF file, (2) manually inserted hyperlinks active, (3) each subdivision appearing as a bookmark and (4) table of contents allowing navigation to each subdivision of the document. This, as opposed to relying on OS X’s printing to PDF from within Word, which (1) creates a PDF file per section, (2) kills all hyperlinks, (3) creates no bookmark and (4) does not turn table of content entries into hyperlinks.

Intellisense is what makes VB so nice to program with.
Try and make an IDE that doesn’t require too much window management. SDI is always horrible and counter-productive. All we need is a lightweight MDI editor as elegant and straight forward as good old VBE in Office XP.
Cocoa interface / 64-bit throughout plz.

I have to admit that I’m not a big user of VBA, but it’s great if VBA support makes it back to Office for Mac, since it’s always those occasional documents that don’t work that are the most frustrating.
My concern with VBA support is whether it’ll be worthwhile for spend time on it given the timeframe of completion of 2-3 years. Perhaps I am wrong, but I was under the impression that as part of the .NET transition, Microsoft was encouraging people to move from VBA to VSTA/VSTO since VBA will no longer be receiving significant enhancements. If that is the case, wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to integrate a full featured implementation of VSTA/VSTO into the next Office for Mac? There may not be many VSTA/VSTO users now, but I presume it’d be more common in 2-3 years, and having good integration would probably put Office for Mac seemingly ahead of the game rather than just catching up with VBA. Having both VBA and VSTA/VSTO would be even better, of course, but I guess there would be a trade off from having to split development resources.
In terms of VBA for Office 2008, I know it wouldn’t be reasonable to have a full UB port done for an already shipping product. However, I was just curious whether it was possible to tack on the PPC VBA from Office 2004. From your previous blog post on not having VBA for Office 2008, I got the feeling that the most difficult part of moving VBA was the execution engine due to it’s PPC specific state machine. Would it be possible to just make the changes necessary to move everything to Xcode, but not bother to port things over to Intel, and make VBA PPC only? That would seem to avoid having to recreate code that was already custom made for PPC. It would mean having to start Office 2008 in Rosetta on Intel Macs in order to get VBA support, but it would still be better than having no VBA at all. And non-VBA documents could still run natively on Intel. It could be released as a patch, say Office 12.5, and perhaps only offered to Standard Edition and up, with an upgrade option for Home and Student Edition users, if that will help offset the development costs and it would definitely be a nice stop-gap measure until full VBA is restored in the next office version.
A Lam

I believe this is a vital move to keep Office alive on the Mac in corporate or business environments. As IT Manager, I will not be purchasing any copies of Office 2008, but instead will struggle along with Office 2004, the doc converter, and maybe touches of OpenOffice to get us by until a VBA-ready Intel version of Office is ready.
And yes, PLEASE, if you are starting the ground work, make it seamless with the Windows object model so that scripts truly are cross-platform! I know that there is not 100% feature parity, but if at all possible, if a feature/object/method/etc. CAN be ported and made platform-neutral, then MAKE IT SO.
Thanks!

Awesome! It would be nice if Mac VBA emulated some of the popular COM objects used in Win VBA scripts, particularly MSXML.

A Lam, unfortunately, no, that can’t be done. Rosetta runs at the process level, so PPC VBA would not work on an Intel Mac unless the hosting app was also running in PPC mode.

I’m glad to see VBA support coming back to Mac Office. Please keep the tight edit/test loop that VBA offers to developers now. Beyond the core VBA capabilities, I reference the Microsoft Scripting Runtime so that or comparable on the Mac would be great to have available. I’d also like to see Web Services available to VBA vs. having to climb the learnig curve to use Visual Studio as seems to be required for Office 2007 Windows.

“A Lam, unfortunately, no, that can’t be done. Rosetta runs at the process level, so PPC VBA would not work on an Intel Mac unless the hosting app was also running in PPC mode.”
That was kind of what I was implying. I believe that documents with VBA opened in Office 2008 currently display a message saying that they aren’t supported asking to open and delete macros, cancel or open. Would it be possible for that message to instead give an option to restart the app in Rosetta if you want to use macros? I don’t have much Mac programming experience, but I found a reference to a sysctlbyname function which is supposed to force the start of the PPC executable in a universal binary. It’s not a very elegant solution since users will probably have to save other open documents before restart, unless PPC/Rosetta and Intel Office apps can be open at the same time, but it was just an idea I came up with when flipping through Apple’s Universal Binary documentation.
A Lam

Great announcement! Not to be a bit of a downer but I have to say that this statement rubs me the wrong way (and likely many other Mac users who have to use the tools created by the MacBU in a corporate environment)…
“Personally, I think it’s really cool that we’re announcing this now. For all the wringing-of-hands and gnashing-of-teeth in the Mac community over the lack of VB, Mac Office 2008 has been selling really well (Craig Eisler, our General Manager and all around cool-boss-guy, said “The response has been amazing — since we launched in January, the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004? in that same press release) which seems to indicate that most of our users don’t find the lack of VB to be a major issue.”
The fact that Mac Office is selling well has no bearing on the quality of the product (or the fact that people don’t find the lack of VBA a major issue). We don’t have a choice! I bought Office 2008 to have decent (not great) Exchange support and a version of Word that supports the new file formats. The fact that VBA was killed makes Excel about as useful as Paris Hilton (on a good day). I have to use RDC to access Excel on a PC to do any work. I purchased Office, but that does not mean the lack of VB is not a major issue for me – it is.
Hopefully the MacBU will start to realize this and look at performance, reviews, and user satisfaction as the ultimate measure of success (and not copies shipped)!

I agree that the comeback of VBA is quite nice, congrats.
I would prioritize a major revamp of the UI, at least get rid of the modal dialogs and the floating formula bar and come to the only sane conclusion that the “optimal” size of a document does not equal a 30″ monitor.
And the speed… *Copying* a line of about 10 cells should not take 10 seconds on a MBP not even if are a few fancy graphs on the same sheet (I sampled it, it is drawing something in vain). I hope the next service pack fixes some of the fundamental problems, a wait of 2-3 years would be less than great.
And yes, there is no alternative, well maybe Windows Office under a virtual machine, but I’d hate run Windows just to get my weekly spreadsheet routine done.

The return of VBA is most welcome – though I second some of the above comments/concerns about the move to VSTA/VSTO in Office 2007, and how that will affect corporate environments when the next version (Office 2012?!) is released.
That said, even object model parity with Office 2007 (or even Office 2003) will transform the Mac corporate environment, for Excel in particular. The previous state of VBA on the Mac was hideous anyway — Office 2004 was unable to parse some of the simplest VBA code created by non-specialists in a one-day “Introduction to VBA” course.
In the end – Mac BU has to make a decision about what to support –– and hopefully alongside VBA, Mac BU will consider better feature parity in other areas – e.g. the new Word 2007 equations, and reducing the large list of unsupported Excel 2007 features e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:OOXML-Excel-Issues.png
As Microsoft realises, the reason Office 2008 sells so well is precisely because it is the “most cross-platform compatible suite on the market for the Mac”. Taking this line, the return of VBA is most welcome; and if the Mac BU considers bringing feature parity in other areas, I am sure Microsoft/Mac BU will be rewarded with fantastic sales for the next version, too!
With OOXML now out of the way, I am very hopeful for improvements to other areas of Office – and look forward to hearing the progress in all these areas.

I understand that in the corporate world, executives who live the charm of the Macbook Air, do want their software to work as it would under Windows, this is, having the same VBA scripts.
Personally I think this is not the right direction. I would love to see some IronPython (or IronRuby) scripting instead of VBA, It’s not like VBA is going to last forever when you got better scripting alternatives.
And this should change also in the Office for Windows (but you may not have power over that).
But better VBA than nothing, but since VB.next (dunno if you will use that version) is going to be DLR-based, you might as well support JScript, IronPython and IronRuby. That would be a small step to change the current status of scripting languages.

“The response has been amazing — since we launched in January, the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004?
Hmm, you just quoted Eisler instead of putting it in your own words. This gives me more evidence that this quote is deliberately designed to mislead – it says that the *velocity* of sales is greater than Office 2004. This means that the derivative of sales is greater – that is, the sales are growing at a faster rate than for 2004. Presumably, then, since Eisler didn’t say it, the actual number of sales so far is less. Or maybe it’s just business language trying to be too formal and misusing the word “velocity”, and you thought he worded the point the best way possible.

“Velocity of sales” as a metric of success means little when you don’t know the buyer’s motivations. Are they buying it because they know what Office 2008 offers? Or maybe they’re switching from a PC and just assume that Office 2008 will be the same as their Office 2007 on Windows. In my experience as an IT support person, it’s almost always the latter. And I’m the one that has to field the calls from people wondering why it doesn’t work right and how to make it work right. The ONLY answer I have for those users is to run Office 2007 (or whatever Windows version they prefer) in a VM of some sort.
The entire Office 2008 direction was flawed. The VBA component was just a minor aspect of that.

Rory, i simply quoted Craig from the PR. I think he just misused the word velocity — I believe the actual count of sold copies is significantly higher than 2004 in the same time period. I wasn’t around when he made the quote.

What about color-coded Worksheet tabs in Excel?
PivotCharts?
Advanced data sorting & filtering (ie: Filter by Color)
Improved Conditional Formating
Table & Cell styles in Excel?

“the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004? which seems to indicate that most of our users don’t find the lack of VB to be a major issue.”
Oh, man. Seriously?
There are several “major issues” at work in that figure. Your initial sales were likely high because Office 2008 is:
A. A Universal Binary suite that doesn’t require resources for Rosetta (the last major app to get there), and
B. Is recent enough to demand good Leopard and Intel support from Microsoft (unlike the aging 2004), and
C. Supports the new XML formats (without an additional converter), and
D. Increased, to some degree, Entourage’s integration with Exchange (although not as much as some had hoped).
Just because that was enough to cause people to buy it IN SPITE of the lack of VBA does not mean that VBA isn’t a major issue. It is, and I think everyone can see that.

That is such a relief I was starting to think about having to find a apple scripter [which I can say they aren’t too easy to find.
Two big generally address
1. [already mentioned] the better use of PDF, for compiling Multiply worksheets [workbook] into 1 PDF and hyperlinks and contents table for word
2. BETTER SECURITY, not making it so ridiculously easy to crack into both the front and back ends of excel, exposing people hard work.
Protecting users if they for forget a password is old school thinking, we all have to manage many passwords in out online life this should be no exception,
Excel is a professional application is should carry the same Dignity and be allowed to perform accordingly [or at least the option to have high security] I believe it has been lifted up from 2-bit to 32-bit, but its still not strong enough.
please help protect us!
thanks

Well…you asked about features. I’d like to see feature parity between Office 2008 and Office for Windows. For example, Entourage lacks several key features found in Outlook such as being about to mark an invitee as “optional”. OWA does this and it’s web based, why not Entourage. I also rate stability quite high. While Office 2008 is fair, I’ve had Word crash on me when working on documents created in older iterations of Office for Windows.
And since we’re dreaming, it’d be nice to have Mac versions of Visio and Project. Omni and Project Wizards make decent products but, again, for 100% compatibility with my Windows using colleagues and customers this would be nice to see.
I’m not a VBA user but others I know are. And since I do have to open their spreadsheets and documents it’s either I do so using Office 2004, iWork or Open Office.

Solver and statistic tools–our company relies on these tools to make some business decisions. Will these be present in the next version too, as their dependencies include VBA, or will we have to buy third-party solver tools as well?

Thing that need improvement in Mac Office: Entourage is still a pale imitation of Exchange, and is hardly a real replacement. It doesn’t even come close to feature parity like the other apps do. Still no note and task syncing? Come on! After 4 years of waiting the lack of improvement between the two versions of Entourage besides the native-ness is sad: Adobe did the transition faster and better for a more complex suite. And for being a universal binary, Mac Office ’08 is barely faster than ’04 running in Rosetta. The lag when I open or save a document is pathetic. And while I’m dreaming, how bout OneNote? Notebook layout view isn’t nearly the same.

Object model parity with modern versions of Office for Windows (2003 or 2007) should be the number one priority, with stability a close second. Thirdly, resurrect the analysis toolpak, solver, most add-in support, regular old chart wizard (this didn’t disappear due to lack of VBA did it?), and other components that went missing at the same time as VBA.
If there’s time left over after reintegrating VBA, please consider doing something about the abysmal performance and stability of Excel when working with large spreadsheets. In my casual testing, the time it takes to recalculate is often between five and 20 times as long as Office for Windows on the same hardware. It also seems to crash about that much more often. I’m not holding my breath, but any improvement in that front would make the next version of Office a very easy sell around here.
As an aside, for Office 2008, it would be absolutely thrilling to have the option to disable that weird, obnoxious, gray row of buttons (“Elements Gallery”?) across the top of each document that does very little besides waste valuable, limited, screen space.

My wist list for VBA in MacOffice 20xx:
1. Record a macro. Recording keystrokes/mouse clicks in the 2004 VBA was very useful to get a basic structure and then manually edit.
2. Cross platform compatibility with Windows 200x. I realize there are some platform differences that cannot (and maybe should not) be on the other, but the level of compatibility in Excel 2004 met my needs. The new VBA should do no less.
All in all, this is great news. Looking forward to more info as you can release it — especially how you were able to overcome the technical problems you bloged about before 2008 was released.

SPEED, SPEED, SPEED, SOEED AND SPEED, especially in excel !
More UI Goodness from office 2007
Feature parity

What about the new .Net Visual basic replacementt. We want feature parity with windows when it ships.
also make sure we can triggers appescipt from vba

This is very good news! I have long hoped for a revision of the “NO VBA” decision, but nearly given up.
Just yesterday I had to inform an IT person of a swiss school who recently bought Office 2008, that the school can no longer use our Word add-in for teachers, due to the missing VBA. We have a lot of Mac customers – individual teachers and whole schools – in Switzerland and some in Germany. Though we tried to warn them not to change to Office 2008 we keep getting complaints from frustated Office 2008 buyers.
As for wishes:
1. Full compatibility with Word VBA for Windows. Because our add-in has grown over many years (beginning with WinWord 2.0, then WinWord 6.0, when we first ported it for MacWord and so on), there are large parts of the code still using the WordBasic object. So full integration of the Wordbasic object is essential for our needs.
2. We’d like to make our Mac version fully feature compatible with the Windows version. For that we need the same quality of Unicode support as in the modern WinWord versions.
3. We do some rather tricky things with tables in Word to automatically produce educational crossword and wordsearch puzzles from selected word lists. Filling and formatting tables by code has become awfully slow even in WinWord, but more so in MacWord over the years. We’d like to have more speed, if possible.

Please consider making this “feature” something that is disabled by default. That way the “select group of customers who rely on sharing macros across platforms” can enable it (along with the risks it presents) – and the rest of the world can have some comfort in knowing they aren’t going to be at the front of the next “script kiddy VBA hack” revolution.

The only reason I run Mac Office is because I share documents with customers that, in some cases, require me to fill out their existing documents that are heavily loaded with macros. (Timesheets, for example.) If it weren’t for that, I’d be using the iWork tools exclusively.
Thus, having Mac Office be incompatible with Windows Office renders it totally useless to me. This is why I won’t be buying Office 2008, period: it would do me absolutely no good.
The same goes for the next version. If it’s not totally compatible with the Windows version, it won’t do me any good either. I can’t tell you what features those are, because I don’t know how the macros have been written; I also don’t believe I can supply you with a sample timesheet, for example, because of confidentiality issues. (Even if I thought you’d use it to ensure compatibility, which I don’t; you’ve got your own regression tests.)

First of all, thanks for this blog post! It’s very cool to see that you are bringing back a feature based on customer feedback. Unfortunately I have no real need for VBA, but nevertheless, very cool that decisions like these are not set in stone and you guys are open to change. So thanks for that.
What I personally would like to see in the next version, or heck even this version, is quite simply SPEED. I have canceled my order for Office 2008 based on the review on the web. Really, Office needs to be fast faster fastest if you want me as a customer. Other applications can do it. Alledgedly, Office ’08 was rewritten in XCode, right? Then I can’t wrap my head around that it’s slower than Office ’04 on intel macs under Rosetta. It just makes no sense.
So please, if anything, make SPEED the focal point of development. Hey I might even return as a customer!

As one of a small, but growing, number of folks using a Mac in a Windows-centric corporate environment, the lack of VBA scripting compatibility has been a real pain for me. Please bring back compatibility with macros (in both Excel and Word) as soon as you can–it would save me no end of grief and let me quit having to fire up my corporate Dell laptop every time I need to crunch through a spreadsheet that uses some commercial statistics Excel plug-in modules. While you’re at it, can we please have back the previously built-in “Solver” function–it again is one of those business things that 99% of Excel users don’t even know exists but is critical to those of us in the business world.
Sure, all you home users can just sneer and talk about how VB scripts are just so passe, how Automator is better, or how the whole world should just dance around merrily in OpenOffice, but here in the corporate world no one cares about all that when everyone else on your 30-person team except you can fill out the accounting department’s VB macro-laden expense report in Excel on Windows. Fully compatible ross-platform scripting is a basic requirement if you want to see the Mac platform succeed in corporate environments.

Th entire Mac Office UI completely disregards the idea of “fitting in” to the Mac Apps Idea. In entourage, for example, I can’t remove search or the mai/calendar/etc selector from the toolbar, or even move them. I cannot, in any of the document editing apps, turn off that painfully useless “Elements Gallery”. While I understand many users find these useful, it still misses the point of things that function a certain way in EVERY OTHER APPLICATION on Mac OS X do not work in Office apps.
On to the topic of VBA though, my make-or-break functionality that prevents me from using ANY version of Excel for Mac (and stuck in the awful VM/Windows/2007 world that you claim was not the driving business factor) is to get my beloved heroforge to work properly. http://www.nzcomputers.net/heroforge/ This is a very heavily scripted app that only really works in Excel for Windows. I wish I didn’t have to cart around an extra 8 gigs of dedicated space, print seperate worksheets to PDFs, move these sheets across a virtual network, then concatenate and print them. I would love to simply have this work natively, not waste disk space, power (VMWare is AWFUL when it comes to CPU idling, not to mention the RAM usage) and my precious time.
I’d love to see this promise come to fruition, but I hesitate to consider this anything more than vaporware at the moment.

As a professor in a university, it is 100% critical to have feature parity with Office for Windows (2003/2007). I receive homework/projects, etc, from students who use all versions of Windows and all versions of Office. I must be able to read and write those files.
When creating my own, it is essential that I be able to use the equation editing facilities in Word. Please return this feature! (and please, why not use the same one in PowerPoint as well? It makes no sense to have different ones in different programs. Anyone writing documents with equations must also present that work!) This is supposed to be an office suite, not a random collection of independent programs.
How about returning histograms to Excel? An extremely important feature for me.
I am one of those “purchasers” of Office 2008, but I have not yet installed it (it has been sitting on my shelf for months and months). I’m waiting until I cannot avoid it any longer, and the delay is completely determined by the VBA issues.

I think we all agree that the success of Microsoft Office on the Mac platform is good for both Microsoft and Mac users alike. However, like many others have stated hear, I’m disappointed in the conclusion you’ve come to regarding the importance of VBA support as it relates to sales.
Geoff hit the nail on the head when he mentioned consumers wanted a Universal Binary, better Leopard support, support for new xml based file formats and better exchange server support. However, it’s also fair to mention that Apple’s Macintosh sales have increased considerably since 2004.
Kevin made a good point in that most users who purchase Office 2008 don’t know the first thing about VBA, but they do expect their documents to work seamlessly with their Windows based counterparts. I agree with this. To that end, I’d recommend object model / compatibility should be considered the highest priority in your VBA port as opposed to the IDE, etc.
While I see many improvements in Office 2008, I also view it as an interim product due to the lack of VBA support. There are performance issues which have been widely documented. I understand much of this is based on your switch to Xcode, etc. For that reason, you get a pass on this release. Still, we expect much better performance with the next release.
Finally, I do expect Microsoft Office to remain a popular product. However, I also have to believe Office 2008 (without VBA support) opens a window for existing consumers to consider alternatives. The assumption that people will stick with Office 2004 (for VBA compatibility) is flawed. I’ve already had people ask me about spreadsheet’s they’ve received from someone that “don’t work” properly with Office 2008. After directing them to NeoOffice, they were amazed that the “free” product worked. They also felt foolish for purchasing Office 2008. I don’t know how common incidents like this will be, but I have to acknowledge that users are now forced to consider alternatives in the name of compatibility. Let’s hope the next version of Office ships sooner than expected.

“So, if you have a dire need for Visual Basic, you can continue to run Mac Office 2004 (it will even run side-by-side with Office 2008)”
What about downgrade rights? Does the Office 2008 EULA include downgrade rights? That is do I need a separate full licence of 2004 in order to run it alongside 2008?

I find it hard to get excited about (a) a feature that doesn’t exist yet, (b) even worse, a feature that existed before being ripped out of the next version, and (c) that we’ll have to pay yet again to get it back. Microsoft has developed a whole new upgrade model. What next, Adobe CS4 lacks layers and then CS5 brings them back?
Don’t bother telling me what you are going to do – I’ve listened to this from Microsoft since the mid 80’s. Instead of promising me the world and delivering Peoria, surprise me by beating my expectations. I have to admit, if you follow my advice you’ll be getting off pretty easily because my expectations are so low for MS.

What I really need is Visio… For true compatibility with the Windows suite, please provide something that can support visio files (standard vsd). This is a pain working with Office.
oh, and stop Entourage crashing after I spend 5 minutes typing an email and then add an attachment.

I am an Essbase guru and do a lot of work with VBA-Excel. In a corporate finance environment, MS-Excel must support add-ins for PeopleSoft and Oracle (Hyperion) Essbase. These, in turn, require VBA support. Get these working and, voila, Macs will have credible pull from big corporations.

Awesome news. And I don’t think you can say if the lack of VB affected current sales: how could you tell how many sales were lost because of its removal?
Me, I was upset enough to only buy Office 2008 because of that terrific sale you had the day after Thanksgiving last year; at $30 for both Office 2004 and 2008 it was hard to say no.

Documents delivered to me at work often have VB macros, so I need that that much compatibility.
My main use of VBA was in Excel ’98, to get a handle on how to translate the calls into Applescript. With Excel 2004, the object models diverged to such an extent that this was no longer useful. The problem remains in Office 2008. And all because the Applescript implementation is NOT RECORDABLE! Needless to say, it’s not embedable, either. The ideal would be to have the editor give you the choice of VBA or Applescript.

So what you’re telling us is that features left out of ’08 will be added back in for Office ’10 (or whatever year it’s released)? All we have to do is wait a few years and then buy yet another version of Office? I have a hard time being excited about that. In the meantime, those of us who rely on 3rd-party add-in tools like EndNote are left high and dry. Sharing files with Windows users is nearly impossible, because even if the unusable macros aren’t required, 07 and 08 have incompatible features. Inserted images, charts, etc. are randomly flipped around, can’t be edited, and so forth.
What the Mac BU needs to do is not to port VBA code to the Mac. You really need to port EVERYTHING to me Mac. I use Office 07 at home and 08 at work. The user interface in 08 is a wreck. I can’t understand how the floating Formula bar in Excel made it past quality control. The floating Toolbox always seems to be hiding the most important features, and nearly all of the tabs in the Toolbox are pointless – why have every feature packed into collapsing menus in the first tab, and then have entire tabs devoted to single, less commonly used features? The 07 Ribbon interface is so much easier to use. I can’t understand the decisions that led you not to implement it. I don’t think very many serious users would be that annoyed if Mac Office wasn’t very “Mac-like” so long as it actually delivered the same features as the Windows version. NeoOffice has been installed on my Mac for some time now, because unlike Office 08 it actually works – including nice touches like using the same display resolution as Windows Office, so that files needn’t be zoomed to 120% to be readable.
Having said all that, there are improvements: with the inclusion of thumbnail view rather than outline, PowerPoint 08 is actually better. It’s finally approximately equal to PowerPoint 03. Wish it hadn’t taken five years for it to get there, though. I’m hard pressed to find many other things in the entire suite that give me hope though. Mac Office remains the single biggest frustration I’ve faced since moving to OS X.
The final kick in the teeth is the price point. Given that Office 08 is a stripped-down, feature-poor shadow of Windows Office, with far fewer programs included, why exactly does it cost more than ’07 again?

2 features I must have for interoperability with PC users… 2 features that would be very nice… all in Entourage.
1. Categories must sync. (can’t share “mailing list” category even with myself without it)
2. Distribution lists must sync.
Without these two changes, there is no good way to share contacts within a mixed platform environment. Please get this right this time. (Or fix it in a service pack… we won’t complain if we don’t have to wait another few years)
A. Tasks should sync. Small offices like ours won’t ever use Project… we want to use shared task lists to get small projects accomplished.
B. Side-by-side calendar viewing (like outlook).

Split MS into 2, Platforms and Apps… Apps should then target other platforms, online or off as the market and customers dictate. Apps should include .Net/CLR, Office, Exchange, SQL Server, Project, Visio etc etc. Windows can then struggle along on it’s own… Might force a better OS, a redesign or it may just wither away. The apps won’t go down with it, unless they are crud (which some are) – oh sorry i though this was the DOJ/MS forum… dreaming again.

Great news! Thank you for the info and for providing the forum here for comments.
In many cases, VB is not just needed for power users. I support many people who don’t know what a macro is, but they still receive spreadsheets from others which rely on VB content. So for now — like many other support providers — I’m upgrading my Mac clients to Office 2008 but also feel the need to leave Office 2004 on their machines so they can use it on an as-needed basis for VB support.
And you’ve suggested this “leave-Office-2004-alongside-2008” solution as a work-around for this VB issue. So…why not make a COMBINED updater for Office 2004? It’s incredibly annoying that every time one has to reinstall Office 2004 on a machine, you need to apply the following list of updates separately, one after the other, just to get Office 2004 as current as possible:
MS Office 2004 AutoUpdate 1.1.2 Update
MS Office 2004 11.3.5 Combined Update
MS Office 2004 11.3.6 Update
MS Office 2004 11.3.7 Update
MS Office 2004 11.3.8 Update
MS Office 2004 11.3.9 Update
MS Office 2004 11.4.0 Update
MS Office 2004 11.4.1 Update
MS Office 2004 11.4.2 Update
MS offered many combined updates for Office 2004 up to 11.3.5, but none since. PLEASE provide a COMBINED 10.4.2 update!
I agree with the above opinions that your “justification” was flawed, about the relative unimportance of Mac VB support as an issue, based on good Office 2008 sales. Just because it’s selling well doesn’t mean that people are happy with every significant new feature addition or removal and every design decision. As we all know, a vast number of people were really unhappy with the Exchange support/integration in 2004 and had also been waiting a long time for an Intel native MS Office suite. Many people bought Office 2008 for Mac for those reasons…DESPITE the serious loss-of-VB problem. If it had been possible to provide VB support with Office 2008 and still release it January 15, then I think we all agree that Microsoft would have sold MORE copies of 2008 at this point. I know that it wasn’t possible to get that done, and I’m glad that relief is on the way even though it will take a significant amount of time and effort.

VBA is the second ugliest thing Joel Spolsky ever made other people look at. This is kind of like amputating a gangrenous limb and then turning around and duct taping it back on. You’ve already made the unthinkably painful decision to alienate your established user base–why not justify their suffering by moving toward something better, like a cross-platform scripting language that doesn’t suck?

bringing back visual basic would be great.
Please fix the category issue in Entourage. That we can no longer sync to WM devices without losing all Outlook and Entourage categories is awful. The apple sync to iCal and datebook is worthless and bug ridden, causing duplicates in every sync.

My requirement is simple. My company has a large Excel/Mac VBA app. It’s a front-end to a mysql database, fetching and storing data over the internet. We (I) won’t wholesale recode it unless forced. We will run Office 2004. If forced to recode, it won’t be to a Microsoft product, as the risk is proven too high.
Now, maybe I missed it, but O2004 doesn’t have much by way of database support. No DAO, no ADO. I use QueryTables instead. Unfortunately, ODBC doesn’t seem to work with Insert queries. Thus, all queries are use a URL string connection through an Apache/PHP gasket.
My requirement, consequently, is preservation of QueryTables.

I have taught Microsoft Office classes on the Macintosh to corporate computer users since 1994. The most important thing to encourage use of VBA and help participants learn VBA (in the “old days” just macros) is the ability to record and then edit recorded code. The ability to recorded an action the user just preformed, then modify the code, is invaluable in helping users get started continue using VBA macros. And, actually fun to teach.
Until Office 2008 recovers the functionality of at least Office 2004 I am recommending to most of my clients that they do not upgrade.

This is a significant announcement for anyone whose workflow depends on VBA macros on Microsoft Word, as ours does. Our priority would be to have fast and accurate VBA support for search-and-replace in Word documents (including in their endnotes or footnotes, where occasional bugs make the Word 2004 for Mac implementation troublesome for us). We use VBA macros to mark up Word documents for use elsewhere, so we tend to be searching for italic characters, placing SGML-style tags around blocks of these, and so on. We also use macros to convert footnotes to endnotes, accept changes, turn track changes off, and so on. An implementation which is faster than the Word 2004 one would be nice – it can take a quarter of an hour to run a set of such filtering operations on the text of a short academic book, and this is on a very fast computer – but the most important concerns are accuracy and correct handling of Unicode.
The charge against Microsoft on this issue wasn’t that it was doing something sinister – just that it had allowed the code of an important application, upon which people depended, to rust into a shockingly unmaintainable state. I regarded macro support as being part of Microsoft Office’s core functionality, far more important than any of the features being advertised as new in Office 2008. But for all Microsoft’s resources, it was being forced to abandon this major piece of Office’s specification due to poor design decisions made up to a decade before. This is the way the Word ends: not with a bang, but a whimper.
Cross-platform scripting seems to me a must, if only because Microsoft has far more resources to devote to VBA on Windows than on OS X. If VBA for OS X had been using any common code-base with VBA for Windows, it probably wouldn’t have been in such a mess in the run-up to its abandonment. Bringing the two together would surely (a) clarify the specification and (b) make the implementation more accurate. And we’re moving towards a more diversified computing world. Microsoft could well be offering Office for Linux, or Solaris, in 2020; there’s no reason why scripting should be implemented independently on each platform.
Microsoft Office has been lucky in that its open-source competition remains weaker than it had any right to expect. But that won’t go on indefinitely. If it’s going to survive, it needs continuing reinvestment in the fundamentals. VBA support had been shaky even before it gave way: how much else is like that? So it’s excellent news that the Mac Business Unit is revisiting this, and an important signal – I think, anyway – that Office isn’t going to be allowed to die a quiet death on OS X, the way Internet Explorer did.

Thank you for deciding to bring VBA back. My day job entirely revolves around Excel user-defined functions and macros that I’ve created over the years, and I was beside myself when I realized that none of my Macs were going to be able to run them in Office 2008.
I’m an Excel MVP, and expect Office to be truly cross-platform, with all features supported and offering comparable speed. Reality has been quite different, with each version since Excel 5 drifting further away from that ideal. So on the VBA front, if you could make the upcoming version of Excel VBA as good as Excel 2003, I’d be quite content. I’m thinking especially in terms of speed of execution, ability to interrogate values during debugging by hovering the cursor over a variable, and convenient access to VBA Help.
Brad Yundt

In general, my #1 biggest concern for “Office 2008 Next” is feature parity with whatever the Windows OS version has … and is going to have.
#2? Feature Parity
#3? Feature Parity
This is an area that Microsoft has utterly failed in, ever since Word was ported from Mac to Windows. It goes far beyond merely VBA, as it encompasses the entire suite, including Exchange, and yes, even the absence of Access.
There’s other factors too, in terms of making the product user-friendly. The plethora of patches that now need to be applied to Office 2004 (due to the lack of a combined updater) are one example.
Another is a frustration of longtime customers is brought about by a combination of technology change and Anti-Piracy security measures: when 10.6 ships, it won’t have Rosetta emulation, so how am I expected to install Office 98 (requires OS 9 and PPC) so that it then can be detected by any later upgrade licence?
Granted, one can argue that Office 98 is “ten years old”, but because of MS’s pricing struture for new licences versus upgrades, using the old licence for an upgrade results in a $200/node cost savings. Thus, these long time faithful customers will effectively be forced to buy an entirely new Office licence – – a very expensive proposition – – or seek alternative, lower cost alternatives (eg, OpenOffice). Better start your planning now.
Finally, I’m of the opinion that the existing Office 2008 customers really have gotten the short end of the “Product Value” stick and that some version of VBA be released (when ready) to them at no charge. Alternatively, MS could announce today the upgrade price to Office 2012 for current 2008 licence holders … hopefully, it will only be a meaningful concession, such as in the $20 range.
-hh

I bought Mac Office 2008 but have not installed it because I learned I could not use Macros in Excel. My biggest Excel client uses my Macros extensively and so we decided that neither of us would upgrade. He uses Office on the Windows platform.
Glad to hear that we will both eventually be able to upgrade. And I won’t have to buy a Windows enable computer to do it.

The primary reason that I need VBA in Office, and the reason that I uninstalled office on my MBP last week & now rely on Office 2k7/Parallels is the Data Analysis tools. Not only do I frequently use them for my teaching, often they are quite handy for initial exploration in my research (I’m an Econ Prof at a Big10 Uni). The lack of the toolpak is most disappointing.
BTW, as long as you are adding it back, any hope of getting IronPython/Python support, too? 🙂

VBA doesn’t matter to me, but on the off chance that you’ve got pull at MacBU, I wish you guys would fix all the automatic things that CANNOT be turned off. Specifically, as one example, once I apply outlining to a document and elect to show the Navigation pane, Word insists on making its own decisions about making some Normal text headings (even though I don’t want them as headings). And yes, I’ve turned off every “auto” feature i can find. This, and other “annoyances”, was well documented in a little book called “Word Annoyances” that came out years ago. But no one at MS seems to care – the program always has to make decisions for me – which completely screws up my table of contents, my navigation, etc. etc., that I painstakingly apply.

The ability to write custom functions to use in Excel, has got to be the reason for me. Having impenetrable series of cells, where one custom function that can be knocked up in 2 minutes makes the sheet cleaner, more transparent, more maintainable, etc… We do it all the time on the PC; it seems ridiculous that we can’t then share the sheets with Office 2008 Mac users!

First off, thanks for the opportunity to bend your ear. My company (and my livelyhood) make a business simulation product that is used for training MBA students, seasoned executives, and even High School students. A business simulation is kind of like a flight simulator, except the plane is a business that the students try to run, and if they make a mistake the crash is harmless.
Excel is a crucial component of our product, we distribute a custom spreadsheet that students use to make their business decisions. it is crucial because the spreadsheet allows the students to do “what if?” analysis of their business decisions before committing them. For examples, “what if I lowered the price of my product by $1.00?”, “what if I floated a $10,000,000 bond issue?”
Excel is nothing less than miraculous for the “what if” analysis, with its ability to take the student’s input and propogate the recalculation throughout the financials of the simulated company.
What do we need the VB for? We have certain programmed formulas such as supply and demand functions which don’t have Excel representations. More importantly, we use the web query functionality to communicate the student’s current simulation state and decisions to our central web site. Since we are a global company students access the simulation over the Internet, in many cases they are in online classes and have no cental campus, and in the case of executive programs may actually be spread in teams thoughout the globe. Without web queries we can not provide them access to a team environment.
We also use a lot of other VB functionality to provide nice perks such as custom dialogs and format print reports.
By the way, most of our users are actually PC users, but as you know in the University settings a higher proportion of them are Mac users. Typically some teams will have users on both platforms.
Also by the way, I was told by a local Chicago distributor, that Microsoft required Office 2004 to be pulled rom the shelves when Office 2008 was released. This added insult to injury because none whom purchases a new Mac now has any recourse to access our product. Compare to the Windows Vista release, which Microsoft knew would negatively impact certains customers, if people still needed Windows XP for legacy situations it was still available. You should have done that for the Office release.
Thanks again for listening.
Steve Keyser
Chief Technology Officer
Capsim Management Simulations, Inc.

i’ve used VBA in excel for the past four years. after the first year working in office2004, i simply gave up and worked on a windows box and an old version of office, why?
1) slow. i mean slow. i know how fast a dual G5 mac can be compared to typical intel chips. how can something that takes 10seconds on a slow wintel box take over 10minutes on a dual G5 mac? can you guess if the speed is any better on an macbook pro? right, it’s slower than the G5. how can that be? but, surprise, running excel in windows via vmware is extremely fast. somewhere, someone dropped the ball.
2) vba in office2004 is flakey. sure, it works (usually) for small quick things, but try to do anything truly interesting, either VBA crashes or excel will totally bomb. and then, more often than not, trying to re-open the file typically fails because of ‘file damage’. strangely, opening up the ‘damaged’ file on a windows machine everything is fine. what? sure, office on windows is a little fussy, but compared to office2004, it’s rock solid.
3) i do not like to tweak code moving between platforms. this is, after all, scripting written by microsoft, used only by microsoft, in a microsoft product. i have mpi fortran code that is more portable than vba. why is that?
4) why do my dialog boxes always look strange on one platform or another? why are you ‘aquafying’ dialog boxes and the like on the mac? just use the same UI forms. it’s actually less confusing to have a window-like dialog box to pop up then some quasi-aqua thing for users.
vba sucks (language/ide/performance). but w/o it, i find excel basically useless. since i only use office for excel, i didn’t ‘increase the velocity’ of sales for office2008 because it was dead on arrival. once openoffice 3 is out, hopefully they will support enough of vba so i can once again go back to the mac and drop having to run win in vmware so i can simply have a quasi-stable excel/vba platform.
bravo on planning to add vba back in. unfortunately, i don’t have high expectations if i use history as a guide.

I am one who finds the lack of VBA a non-issue. Even at my company, I have yet to find ANYONE who makes use of the macros, on either the Windows or Mac side. The small bit of scripting we do have done is accomplished generally with AppleScript.
Possibly my favorite new “feature” is that the Student & Home edition of Office 2008 is quite affordable at $149.
Now, how about the MacBU finish up RDC2? 🙂 That’s the app I’m really waiting for!

I posted this on your blog two years ago:
“I’ve recently had some major VB Excel headaches that cannot be resolved. An excel file created in a Spanish Office v.X Excel would not run without runtime errors on an English Office 2004 install.
All the work that went into that file (many months) is now all but useless. The same file works on current PC Office installs.
The person who created the file is not happy. This person works in education and has reported that more and more training courses for teachers are offering Linux training. We are talking about a region with 7,000,000 inhabitants. Other regions have already implemented Linux solutions and are looking to phase out Microsoft Office completely.
Microsoft needs to understand that users want/need seamless compatibility between platforms. This latest decision only helps to swing the balance in favour of open standards and software solutions that support them.”
I posted that because absolutely NOBODY at Microsoft or in the official Google Groups (MVPs) could figure out what the issue was. All our pleas for helpwent nowhere. We lost months of work due to a problem created by Microsoft (MacBU should have had more feelers out to pick these issues up). The issue was possibly someone screwing up on the localisation. And there lies the rub. Foreign users of Mac Office must make do with whatever they get (however little) and like it or lump it. An Excel file heavily laden with VBA created in one version of Office for Mac wouldn’t run in another version of Office for Mac but WOULD run in different versions of Office for Windows. That is NOT a situation that inspires confidence.
If you would like another example of how foreign Office mac users suffer at the hands of the MacBU please take a moment to read this page at macintouch:
http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/macmarginalization/topic4061.html
and give us a decent answer as to why a Catalan dictionary was never made available in Office for Mac. As I said in the original post two years ago, we are talking about an area with a population of over 7,000,000 inhabitants. The school the person worked for is now mainly Linux and Windows is being discouraged.
If I sound angry it’s because I am.
When VBA returns it must function across different versions/localisations of Mac Office and, of course, be operable on Windows. Feature parity must be a priority and you should establish liason officers in countries that have localised version of mac Office so users/groups can channel issues back to the MacBU while using their own language. As open source efforts continue to improve Office alternatives you should note that you really have a race against time on your hands, and in two or three years your user base may have dwindled significantly as a result of the issues I have raised.
Perhaps, slightly off topic but the background info is important. Thanks for your time.
BTW,as you are responding to posts, the Catalan dictionary issue (although off topic) requires a response here as otherwise it gets swept under the carpet so to speak.

Do you know what a “function” is in Excel? It’s a named set of internal commands. So I can enter a formula in a cell like =californiaTax(E4) and the function called “californiaTax” will be applied to the value of cell E4 and entered here. That is a function that I’ve created (in VBA).
Now, I don’t care what *language* that function is written in. VBA, AppleScript, Ruby, Fortran, it’s all the same to me. But in Office 2008 that function is written in NOTHING, because there are NO FUNCTIONS in Excel in Office 2008. And that means that Office 2008 is not an upgrade; it’s a huge downgrade, because a piece of functionality that is crucial to my Excel spreadsheets is absent. In fact, I can’t even install in Office 2008, for fear of what it might do to my spreadsheets if I accidentally opened one.
I told you this in 2006, I told you this in 2007. You didn’t listen. You went ahead and killed this important feature. Now in 2008 you’re announcing that you might bring back VBA in 2010 and I’m supposed to be happy. Fooey.

“there are NO FUNCTIONS in Excel in Office 2008”
This isn’t actually true. The old XLM macros are back!
You can find on Microsoft’s web site (sorry, don’t have a link handy) an alphabetized reference for XLM macro commands. Unfortunately, that’s about it. Good luck if you’ve never used XLM before.
Which brings me to my main point: I agree whole-heartedly with those who have pointed out that a critical failure with respect to removal of VBA was the sudden disappearance of custom functions in Excel. Cross-compatibility across OS platforms is a close second, I agree. After all, one of the big reasons to use Mac Office is to be compatible with Windows Office.
But other than that, Applescript appears to me to be a reasonable, non-portable substitute for automation tasks. What it _doesn’t_ do is provide for custom functions. Applescript can only control an application; it can’t extend it.
I think XLM is an unfortunate choice for a replacement of that feature, but if it’s going to be a replacement, then the Mac BU needs to get off their butts, dust off the old XML docs, and include those with Mac Excel 2008. It’s insulting to remove critical functionality like that and then provide no real aid to users who want to use the only alternative available.
And while I’m at it, another major loss with the removal of VBA is all those great add-ins (heavily based on, of course, providing additional functions for spreadsheets, but also on doing other algorithmic tasks). Again, these things could have been provided via XLM, but were ignored by the Mac BU.
I’m fortunate, as I was able to take advantage of a heavily discounted price for Mac Office 2008. I have to say, if I’d paid anywhere near full retail for it, it would have been returned by now. Between the fact that Entourage is lame, Excel is missing a huge swath of what makes it so powerful, and none of the applications have really enjoyed the UI make-over that Office 2007 for Windows did (granted, I’m sure some Mac hard-cores are happy about that 🙂 ), there’s really very little in Office 2008 that makes me want to use it.

I’ll add my take on the lack of VBA too. I have written and continue to write custom user forms, add-ins and functions in Excel that work on both Mac and PC. The lack of VBA in Office 2008 means that any upgrade to my multiple licenses of Office will be to Open Office, not 2008. I still can’t understand how anyone at MS seriously thought that offering up Applescript could in any way allow us to write cross platform solutions or even custom formulas that ran on a Mac only. Maybe if enough of us keep telling them that tney made a really dumb decision that is driving business away from them, they may eventually start to listen?

My condolences on your being tasked with adding VBA back in. My BIASED opinion is that there are better tools out there for writing custom apps than using Excel as a database…

I need a macro to do:
Edit -> Paste Special -> Unformatted Text
and
A key combination to automatically type a date.

I use PowerPoint and Excel as a kind of portable usability lab. I develop partially- or fully-interactive UI prototypes in PowerPoint, using VBA to adjust object properties (text box values, indicator light colors, etc.) or change slides in response to user inputs. I also use VBA to record user inputs made in PPT to Excel along with time tags. This lets me record user actions, calculate task times and response intervals, detect errors, and so forth. Replicating the object model to the point where I can do this seamlessly between platforms (including cross-application communication: controlling Excel from PPT, copying from Excel to Word, etc.) is essential for this kind of work. I’d also like to second the call for recordability – it’s a very fast way to get started on a subroutine when you aren’t sure what the VBA syntax should be.

I use Office 2007 at work, and a Mac Office 2008 at home. my feature requests:
– more consistency in formatting between 2007 and 2008. Sadly, even my basic CV .docx doesn’t convert correctly between the Mac and Windows versions of Office.
– the same “theme” support that Office 2007 has–font themes, and most importantly, colour themes. The colours in my Office 2007 .xlsx files never come across correctly (most come across as grey), and it is the cause of much pain and cursing 🙁
– the gallery elements animate too slowly. I actually find myself clicking on “charts” and waiting for it to finish animating so i can choose an option on the right-hand side of the list..
thanks!
-b

After writing my first comment I discussed the prospect of the return of VBA with my colleague. Now I want to add 2 things to the wishlist I posted previously:
– Please bring the VBA IDE in MacWord to the quality it has in WinWord. Though we do most of our VBA programming in WinWord, we always had and expect to have to solve some cross platform compatibility problems on the Mac side, which used to be a real pain in w98, 2001 and 2004 with their very poor IDE.
– A good macro recorder can give a useful starting point and speed up the implementation of new ideas to a great extent, even for the most experienced VBA programmer.

For me the ability in Excel to add a custom function that can call a native C shared library is vital. There is currently no way of doing that in Office 2008. Alternatively you could offer me a native plugin SDK for the Mac, like there is for Windows.

The requirements for shared Excel macros between PC & Macs in our office is HUGE.
We cannot work without it. We are forced to virtualization w/ Windows Office.
Please accelerate as soon as possible.

As an operations research analyst, first in the military and now in civilian academia, I’ve made extensive use of VBA in Excel. In fact, I consider VBA and Excel combined to be the shining MS product. About 5 years ago I moved to the MAC and wished I had made the move 20 years ago. Anyway the lack of VBA in the MAC is a huge mistake.
I actually teach a course in Industrial Engineering focused on building applications in VBA. Most MBA programs involve spreadsheet-based courses. With few exceptions, the use of VBA is a big part of these courses.
I am now one of those that run both 2004 and 2008 on the same machine, and the new Excel in the Parallels environment.
The MAC version MUST be as good as the PC version. Any lessening of the product, such as the decision made for the MAC 2008 will for good reason support the conspiracy theory, which you denied, but I can’t help but believe holds some truth to it.
Bottom line: Return FULL functionality to the MAC office suite. For VBA in Excel, that includes support and the intellisence capabilities.

I’m one of the users that bought Office 2008, but as indicated by someone else here, purchase is not proof of quality or satisfaction. Lack of VBA for Excel was crippling for work, but I was willing to give Applescript a chance for personal use. VBA is clunky compared newer scripting languages and will at some point be replaced even in Office for Windows, so maybe learning a different programming language would work out well for me, I figured.
What I missed before deciding to buy was the lack of Solver as well. No, lack of VBA and Solver both makes Excel worthless for finance. Take into account the performance issues, and I’m down to using Pages for word processing and Excel 2004 for number-crunching. I uninstalled Office 2008 with more than a hint of spite.
I’ve been an early adopter of Office since version 5, but Office 2008 killed my enthusiasm for the product line. I wish you and your team the best, but I’m not planning on buying the next iteration unless reviews of the product are thoroughly positive and guarantee it won’t be another waste of money.

I’d really like to see an add-in infrastructure that would allow 3rd parties to develop for Mac Office so we Mac folks can use Xobni, or other useful tools that the Windows folks have.

We use VBA for displaying and managing dialogs within Word and Excel and retrieve information from the document itself or from external data sources (another applications) via applescript in order to modify the document.
Great to hear it’s coming back, our users will stick with MacOffice 2004 until then.

Hans wrote: “Please bring the VBA IDE in MacWord to the quality it has in WinWord.”
Yes, and please add mouse wheel scrolling to the IDE code window, while you’re on it.

“So, if you have a dire need for Visual Basic, you can continue to run Mac Office 2004 (it will even run side-by-side with Office 2008)”
But is there any way, when both are installed, to keep Office 2004 apps as the default when double-clicking on documents?

WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT VBA? Get a real scripting language to use.
Here’s an idea. How about porting Outlook to run on OS-X? What an amazing idea if I may say so myself. Entourage is a pos.
Get with it MacBU! Give us the real apps: OUTLOOK with TLS/SSL
Entourage is crap.

100% commonality with win office is essential -in terms of both functionality and IDE, etc. MAcros should be 100% cross platform. Please do whatever you have to to ensure that.

I am not a computer expert, but do use Excel extensively. My main program, for which VB macros were written by someone who is an expert, is used to produce a product which is posted on the web and which has become important for a large number of users. We switched from Excel functions to VB macros to carry out the calculations when the base program became too large for Excel to handle (Yes, there is a limit, despite what MS says!) This program works on both my PC and my Mac, and this is essential. The lack of support for VB in Office 2008 means that we have no choice but to stick with the older version of Office.

In my view, Microsoft has revealed either its incompetence and/or its desire to punish apple. I suspect some combination of both. I am amazed that the business community continues to rely on such an unstable and unreliable product.

This is a bummer no doubt. The main problem, there IS NO INDICATION ANYWHERE OF THIS HUGE ISSUE AT TIME OF PURCHASE!!! I was repeatedly told by ads and sales people for Mac that my files would be compatible. I don’t own an earlier version, so cannot solve my problem that way…if that’s what I need to make this run as promised I should NOT have to purchase it. I bought my Mac and the Office suite just a few months ago. Now I find I am stopped in my tracks. Of course, I have not been able to find an older version to download IF I was willing to pay the extortion fee. JW

On the comment that sales were great despite lack of VB — a lot of people (my whole department included) NEVER IMAGINED this functionality would be missing in the upgrade. Had we known, we might have reconsidered. Or, at least, opted NOT TO DELETE the old office during 08 installation app.
Issue should have been better handled.

In the original “blathering”, Schweib said “I’ve been told that we must have cut VB to intentionally drive users to use virtualization and Windows Office 2007 on Macs”.
It may not have been intentional, but that’s the only way I have been able to run Excel on my Mac and maintain compatibility with Office 2007.
It’s not just the lack of VBA, it’s the crippled filtering, the lack of graduated color conditional formatting, the lack of filter by color, the lack of sort by color, all features that I became dependent on in 2007.
Microsoft is in denial about the lack of compatibility, look at this page:-
http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/office2008/why-office.mspx
“Compatibility is Essential
No one likes being caught off guard, especially when the pressure’s on. That’s why it’s vital that shared documents, presentations, and spreadsheets open as they were designed—regardless of the computer or operating system.”
and
“Microsoft ensures that Office 2008 for Mac is forward, backward, and cross-platform compatible.”
and
“Office 2008 for Mac is the best option for Mac users who share documents at home, work, or at school.”
The above statements are just not true.
It is my belief that the high sales rate is a result of misleading advertising.

VBA at the level it will be in the Windows version of Office at that time.
If we truly have to wait until 2010, 2011, or beyond, what have you been doing in Redmond? Remember when Apple revealed that Mac OS X would run on Intel chip sets? Three operating systems later, when they made the strategic announcement to switch from Motorola/IBM sets, they had ALREADY wrote Mac OS X to work on the Intel set. Now how come the MacBU of Microsoft couldn’t have thought the same way. Oh, yeah, you’re Microsoft not Apple. But really, you mean to tell everyone that VBA will still be years away? Honestly? You don’t have a group of programmers locked-up in a hole and are ready to release it with Office 2008 SP2??? It must be incredibly awkward to show up to work every day and feel like you’re making a contribution to the world of computing!
Sorry for the harshness but after being treated like black americans (in the computer OS sense) for so long, you must understand. We Mac users wouldn’t feel this way if you didn’t jerk us around. We’d be happy to use Office if it behaved just like it does on Windows so we can use the product at work AS WELL AS AT HOME AND SCHOOL. Face it, Apple’s Mac OS is not going away so you had better figure this out.
Oh, and your triple shipping numbers relative to Office 2004…guess which operation system continues to grow at about the same rate over the 2004 – 2008 time frame. So, stoke-up the monkeys in the basement and finish the VBA programming for Office 2008 SP2 to have even a chance of being in the game come 2010, 2011, or beyond.

I am only thirteen, yet even I use VBA scripting! I use it to create a new journal entry by virtually hitting return, inserting a date that won’t change, and hitting return again. I execute this script by hitting the keystroke Option-F7. It comes in handy. I don’t want to have to have to use Automator’s Watch Me Do function to replicate VBA the VBA script macro recording function in Office 2008 for Mac. So, if you could publish an update to Office ’08 as soon as you finish porting VBA scripting to Xcode, that would be great. It would also be nice if you could make it so that the the little bar under the toolbar woul slide under the toolbar when not in use. Then, when you mouse over to the toolbar, it would slide out. It would act kind of like the Dock and the menu bar do when you are in Quick Look’sfull screen mode. Plus, you could make it a normal toolbar. Everything counts for user-friendliness. Thanks.

More than VBA I miss a couple of programs to made Mac Platform a real deal for the enterprise:
1. Visio: There is a very good alternatives in Mac, but they are not binary compatibles with Visio. If port visio is too complicated or expensive, at least consider to create a convertion tool form the binary form to the xml form that run on Mac OS (Universal please)
2. Project: There are good alternatives to Project, but nothing that integrates with Project Server. Even you have a very good compatibility with the binary files, but if you work with Project Server… sorry, no macs allowed. (The web interface requires Internet Explorer, probably because of some activeX controls). At least consider create a web interface wich runs with safari and Firefox….
thanks.
clemare

Schwieb,
Sadly I have only just discovered this Forum, I wish I’d seen it in 2009 before I wasted my money on Office 2008, and I share and sympathise with the frustrations of many commentators above who are bemoaning the stupidity of crippling VBA etc. in 2008 and then not telling anyone about it.
Quote:-
“The response has been amazing — since we launched in January, the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004? in that same press release) which seems to indicate that most of our users don’t find the lack of VB to be a major issue.”
Not so in my case, Office 2008 lasted less that 3 hours on my machine, I NEARLY uninstalled it when I found that I couldn’t use my own macros, I DID uninstall it when I discovered I could not create Custom Headers and Footers, but had to choose from a stock list of ‘Fashionable’ ones, which frankly sucked.
Had I known these facts BEFORE I bought, you would not have sold 2008 to me.
I’ll check VERY carefully in my local Apple Shop, to see what has been returned, and maybe what else has been left out before I risk another purchase/upgrade.
Now on Lion, I had to re-install it, but I’ll keep Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro as long as possible and do the headers and footers there, and learn Applescript to get round the VBA issue. You could have had a Loyal Customer here, instead you have one that feels betrayed.

We call DLL’s on the PC and shared libraries on the Mac. Please include declares of frameworks on in VBA for Mac. Object parity with PC word objects is also very important.
Anyway to be in on an early release? We’ll sign an NDA… Thanks! -doug

You have commented that despite the short falls of Office 2008, it is selling well. In my case, I purchased it prior to realizing it had been neutered. I welcome VB’s return, I used to use it constantly. By the way, I am now a two computer user, my old lap top sits at the side of my new one just so I can run what I need to. Please double your efforts to restore to faithful long term users the tools we trusted would always be available. Dumbing down a product is never a way to win up grading customers, failing to publicize adequately the neutering of excel prior to its release left me an extremely disillusioned user. My mouth dropped when I realized I had just spent money on a giant step backwards. So thank you for for working on bringing it back. Will it be a software update, or a repurchase?

I have VMWare Fusion, and can run Windows XP with applications on it for work (particularly Framemaker, Netmeeting, Windows specific tools like VoIP phones, and Office). My company is big on using Word/Excel/Powerpoint.
However, I have found that NeoOffice is quite capable of opening Word/Excel/Powerpoint files and resaving them as Office documents. I have a 2GHz 2GB ram Macbook Duo_core.
The Neooffice site states at http://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/features.php
Handles Most Excel VBA Macros NeoOffice includes the Excel macro support developed by Novell’s ooo-build project. The ooo-build project is an open source project that continually develops feature enhancements to OpenOffice.org.
And its free too. I urge you to download it with the latest patches and try it. Set its preferences to save as Office format instead of its own format.

I write a lot of Macros via Word 2003 and Visual Basic on an XP machine, which are then used by numerous staff members multiple times a day. Worries about macros being potentially broken by changes in any given OS/Office upgrades (be it in Vista or Mac OSX) certainly slow down company’s ability to bring in new machines and roll out new upgrades — too much testing is needed first, too many little compatibility worries . . . Dropping Visual Basic from Mac Office 2008 just makes things worse. So I’m glad to hear that VB will be coming back in the future — I’ll likely buy Mac Office at least for myself at that time. Until then, I’ll stick with older versions of Office or will make sure to the Windows versions via Parallels on my Mac. . . Many thanks for working on this!

[…] Does this mean the next version of office (2010) will no longer support VBA macros?         Looking a little further, I discovered VBA support was removed from MAC Office 2008 because of the PPC to x86 processor change.  However, the lead programmer for windows says VBA will be returned to next office revision http://www.schwieb.com/blog/2008/05/13/saying-hello-again-to-visual-basic/ […]

I’ve created my personal Time Journaling System based on Outlook and VBA functionality.
Task records in special folders acts like projects and sub-tasks, special contact folder is used as a list of partners and special journal folder with my own template works for journaling of time used for particular project, task and partner.
Even in the journal template, there is VBA script for internal functionality. Most of the evaluation is than based on VBA macros with dialogs etc. and even reports are created from Outlooks VBA by connection to Word.
I plan to switch to Mac, but missing VBA is a kind of trouble. As a freelancer, but with several partners using my Time Journaling System as well I need it for daily use.
I do use VBA in Excel for simple data transformations or for simple program solvers.
Having VBA in Office:mac would be great.

i just bought Office 08 without any knowledge of the lack of VBA support for the software and i am very much not happy about it. But if you are bringing VBA back in the next version of Office it would make me much happier.
As far as what i would like to see for VBA in the next Office… i don’t think you should change the look and feel of the developement environment too much, i feel you may alienate a large base of VBA users by changing where things are and how you go about finding them. i feel much the same way for the object model, it would be kinda turn off to find objects don’t work the same between MAC and Windows Office. one thing i have always wanted in VBA i would be to have the ability to add fully functioning objects of own in VB world. this may be a bit much to add, but for an old object oriented programmer like myself i would really like more OO characteristics in the VBA model.
until i get VBA support for mac i am forced to play my version of PONG in excel on windows. why shouldn’t i be able to play on mac?

As a developer for Word since version 2.0 on Windows, it’s a little odd to phrase the question “what parts of VBA are important…”
The entire design of this word processor and what made it so interesting to program for — is that anything you can do in the application UI was accessible through wordBasic (and then VBA). That one to one correspondence has diminished over time — but should still be a goal.
The IDE in MacVBA has never been on a par with the Windows IDE. AutoComplete and keystroke access to parameters (for instance). The link between IDE and Help items more tightly integrated. It would be nice to have them a bit more on par.
A cross platform nightmare has always been how dialogs (due to differences in font rendering) do not translate. What looks great on the Mac is too big on the PC, what’s right for the PC is illegible on the mac. The only workaround is to customize every dialog with a custom (and more mappable font) — like Courier. It would be great if there was some sort of translation table/conversion.
Importing forms/modules did not work on the mac as it does on the PC — which makes module management and cleaning of templates harder.
Other than that — anything the PC can do the Mac VBA should be able to do the same. The exceptions really are limited to OLE integration and Shell(api) commands which need to be reprogrammed using AppleScript on the mac. (examples of how to do that would be nice).

Is there any deadline for when the new office with Excel VBA will be available? Just figures today that my office 2008 doesn’t support this… Is there no download available so VBA can be used in the meantime?

Up until excel 2008 I was happy to fork out my hard earns for mac office. I felt I was getting value for my business. I use VBA extensively and this new version does not do half of what excel 2004 did for me. 2004 was good but awfully slow compared to excel 2007 for windows so I decided to bite the bullet and buy Office 2007 which I have to boot up in bootcamp. Excel 2007 is great, but that is the best I can say for windows other programs (that I have tried) and OS. I want mac excel to be at the very least, comparable to excel 2007 for windows and I want it now so I will not have to use windows at all.

I code the Wordfast translation tool used by dozens of thousands of translators, Mac users included.
The removal of VBA in Office 2008/Mac is primarily a problem for… Ms-Office. What I mean is that translators who buy a Mac and/or Office do it thinking “will that run Wordfast?”. So they stick to Word:2004. That’s what they all tell me. They’ll skip Office 2008, it’s that simple. Just fine. 2004 is stable, 2008 doesn’t offer any cutting edge anyway. As far as Mac-based translators are concerned, MS will not recoup its investment in Office 2008, but we’re unhurt – there seems to be a justice out there.
MS seems to be now run on short-term ROI principles. In the Bill Gates era, parting with VB was an unthinkable thing. A Word processor (Word) is a processor, a number cruncher (Excel) is a cruncher, at least he got that right. An application that can neither process nor crunch on automatic is a crippled one. Let’s hope the recession restores vision and reason at the helm.

I need VB now, not later. I need it for the scorekeeping program and the state qualifying program that was written for our gymnastics program. I didn’t know our program used VB until I tried to open our scorekeeping program to check some scores and I got the “Visual Basics does not work in Office 2008 for Mac” message…I want to throw up. It eliminated errors in choosing qualified participants to advance to state competition. I don’t know much about this programming stuff, but I want to be able to open a program and have it work. Period, end of sentence.
I am a simple end user. I don’t know what else to do besides uninstall Office 2008 and put it in the shredder. Thanks for making me miserable.

When exactly is the VB version going to be available, and can we patch it in to the Office 2008 for Mac?
(I, too, am very disappointed about the totally unexpected lack of Macro editing capacity in the new version. I have created 33 macros for use in my professional translating work, and must use an older version of Word to operate them.)

I have just switched to Mac from Windows as much for the quality of the hardware (Macbook Pro 15″ with SSHD) as the elegant OS, with both of which I am entirely delighted. Like other commentators before me, I was not forewarned of the unexpected lack of VB in the current version of Office for Mac (2008). It is a complete and utter disappointment and deal breaker!
Over the years I have built up a library of custom Excel functions and write and use a number of VB programs having Excel as the user interface in research and teaching in veterinary science. Without these, Excel seems rather toothless and holds little thrall for me. Indeed I might as well use a free spreadsheet such as the online Google Documents for simpler spreadsheet tasks. To have to run Windows on my Mac and / or load an earlier version of Office for Mac seems such a retrograde step! A free upgrade to the next version of Office for Mac with VB support for those of us who have unwisely invested in v2008 would be the very least we should expect! I’m not saying anything new here, mainly just adding another name to the petition to MacBU to keep its promise!

Well, a little over a year since my last post, and Microsoft is still “confident” they’re making the right decision and timing to bring VBA back to Office. Great, I get to pay $100s to upgrade to Office for the Mac 2011/2012 and get the functionality of 2004, maybe something more. Are you kidding?
By 2011/2012, Apple’s Numbers will mature, OO/NeoOffice will have grown on more desktops, and Microsoft will (re-)introduce VB in Office. Don’t you guys see a problem here? You’ll on the downward slide as a result of 2008. Yes, as Apple’s market share rises and moms and dads equip those school machines with Office (“because we need it”), you’ll continue to have the “cool-boss-guy” tell the world 2008 sales are phenomena. But, your customer base will actually shrink as those new Mac users file other means of producting “office” documents on the Mac.
Here’s the only way to redeem yourself in 2011/2012. Have all those Product IDs of paid 2008 customers entire them to a completely free version of 2011/2012. Then we’ll see how sincere the Mac BU/Microsoft is about it’s Mac base. You’ll definitely re-ignite some level of true loyalty from the Mac community. Charge $129 or $349 for an upgrade and it will be Adios for good!

“This seems to me to be a strong example for the MacBU naysayers that we’re really listening to what all of our users want, and that we’re most definitely not slow-marching to some bagpiper’s funereal drone!”
Put it back into Office 2008 or give me a free upgrade to the next release of Office and I’ll actually believe that line.

To all those who are disillusioned with MacBu at Microshaft I urge you to try Neo Office I did in January and I havn’t looked back. Now I have no Microsoft products in my office and my computers all seem to work better.

The fact that VBA was lost in the upgrade to 2008 was a sad event, but the big problem for me was that no SDK or interface was detailed that would enable me to provide the functionality in Excel that 2004 did.
It was not a question of there not being a particular interface (VBA) available to me, but the fact that there was NO interface available at all. Without an SDK or a detailed interface, we had no method by which to provide the functionality required by our users.
Be it XCode, VBA or a some other method – please give us an interface that we can use to extend the functionality of Excel to meet the needs we have. My requirements are not met by off-the-shelf products, and more than likely never will be. I doubt that I am alone.

PIVOT TABLES in Excel should be identical to those of Windows. Having to drag fields onto the sheet to see the affect does not work near as well as dragging them to the ‘input’ boxes that Windows uses.
Also, this situation begs the question “Why don’t you put the Office 2004 VBA into a service pack for those of us who bought 2008 and had to ‘downgrade’???

I’ve just placed an order for Mac Word 2004, having already bought Word 2008 two months ago, in order to get macros back. I had a whole suite of macros for my MS Word X, but for some reason that application will not run on the new (post October 2009) iMacs. This is not the fault of Snow Leopard by the way, as Word X (plus macros!) works perfectly on my Intel MacBook with OS 10.6.2.
I am a journalist, editor and book author, and my needs may be slightly different from some of your other respondents, which is why I am writing this. I found macros invaluable for editing, or for tidying up imperfect text either due to my own bad typing or someone else’s. I had one f-key to trigger a macro which would swap a character with the one to its right (a macro I called “transpose”) as this is one of the most common mistpyings (see what I mean!); I had one f-key to delete the whole word under the cursor wherever it may be, one f-key to translate Roman text instantly into italics, one to insert page numbers into a document, one that would make the first letter of a word Upper Case (and another key for vice versa), an f-key for spell check (less necessary but I used it all the time); one to change fonts from Courier to Times Roman or back — and so on. The joy of macros was that you worked out the sequence of things you wanted to do to the text, eg select a letter, “cut” it, move one space forward, paste letter into text – and then just repeated it with the record macro command on, having designated a function key, then saved it. Apple script just will not allow that. I am so frustrated by the lack of macros with 2008 that I am prepared to fork out for the older version, 2004, where macros still work, thank God. If I had the money to sue Microsoft I would, I’m so cross!

Will macros VB really be back, and if so, when?
I created hundreds of commands using 2004 for Mac, which I use in translating repetitive texts. I upgraded to 2008 when suddenly a bug in the Macros caused them to stop working completely. I have no idea why this happened – launching macros now causes word to shut down.
I have currently my first mac (powerbook G4) running Word 2004 for Mac, and it’s functioning well. But the computer is about to croak, sadly. I will need to either purchase a new Word 2004, or wait for the new version.
Which is why I ask – when is it planned?
Much thanks!

I have entirely different issues w/ Office 2008, which I got most importantly due to wanting access to .docx and .xlsx formatted documents that I sometimes receive. My issues aren’t total deal-breakers, but irritations.
I have tons of really old documents in Word 4 and Word 5 format, even a few in Word 3. Word 2008 doesn’t open them in any easy way. I can use the Open dialog, but then I have to figure out the path to to the file I was trying to open. Grungy. Or I can open ’em in AppleWorks via MacLinkPlus to see if the file is the right one & if so, close it, & go thru the above. Also grungy. There may be a better answer, but I’ve looked & don’t know where it is. Word 4 & 5 didn’t have macros, so I don’t see why Word 2008 requires this workaround just to open a file. (Maybe it was too embarrassing to explain to people that Word 6 w/ evil macros was the problem – I never got Word 6! – & it would look bad if Word 2008 would easily open Word 5 files but not Word 6 files.)
Word ought to open files from *all* previous versions. Ditto for Excel & PowerPoint. This should be nearly seamless. A few oddities are ok – for instance, if an ancient file uses ancient bitmapped fonts, it’s ok to warn about that when opening the file. Similarly, a Word 6 file w/ macros should be easily accessible but the macros don’t have to work – in fact, they should be OFF by default, even if you include the capability.
About VBA & scripting: I never used VBA. Glad to hear it’s coming back, not so much for my own use, as because VBA is essential to Excel/Mac’s commercial future. I have simple scripts in AppleWorks, and I do some fairly light scripting in FileMaker. Haven’t done much w/ Excel 08, but one project worked *really well*, much better than in Excel 98 which had been my previous version. Remember, I don’t use VBA. PowerPoint is similarly much better in 2008 than in 98.
I intentionally use a rather old Mac & OS 10.4 so that if I have to, I can boot into OS 9. (Yes, I’m a fossil.) On that rather old Mac (933 MHz), Word 2008 is slow to open. Grrr. Microsoft went thru that before w/ Word 6; Word 98 was much improved. But something I like about my setup: I can save in my choice of .doc or .docx & test .doc files w/ Word 98 to make sure others w/ old sw can open the files.
I tried OpenOffice. I’m glad I have it handy, just in case, but I use it only when someone sends me a file that opens in it.

Agree that sales have been good, since most people don’t know a macro from a mud hen and like me, run into the problem by accident. Other big thing driving sales, I would guess is that many, like me, chose to switch to Mac when the other choice was Vista. Not impressed to learn that I will have to buy the next iteration of Office to get functionality that every other version of the software previously in existence has. Not comforted to learn that Microsoft, given a choice between shipping “crap” now and shipping “quality” later, chose the former.

I have mac 2008, and I run into the problem of not having VB a lot as I am in business school. What is the best way for me to switch to Excel 2004?

Word for Mac 2004 will not run on Snow Leopard or Lion, so I will not be able to upgrade until I can use this Macro in Word (It revises PDF copy, eliminating all the paragraph returns):
Will it easily PASTE and COPY into the new Word for Mac?
Sub Netcopy()

‘ Netcopy Macro
‘ Macro recorded 2/18/83

Selection.Find.ClearFormatting
Selection.Find.Replacement.ClearFormatting
With Selection.Find
.Text = “>”
.Replacement.Text = “”
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
With Selection.Find
.Text = “^p^p”
.Replacement.Text = “|”
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
With Selection.Find
.Text = “^p”
.Replacement.Text = ” ”
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
With Selection.Find
.Text = “|”
.Replacement.Text = “^p^p”
.Forward = True
.Wrap = wdFindContinue
.Format = False
.MatchCase = False
.MatchWholeWord = False
.MatchWildcards = False
.MatchSoundsLike = False
.MatchAllWordForms = False
End With
Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.LargeScroll Down:=-2
End Sub

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