March 04, 2008

Mac: Office 2008 is RUBBISH SLOW.

Mac: Office 2004 ran slow on new mac’s as it was coded for older mac’s Power PC architecture, therefore had to run through Apple’s Rosetta dynamic translator in order to function on the new Intel chipsets being used from 2006. Fair enough you might think, its old software.

While every other software house were adapting their applications to run as “Universal Binary”, allowing them to run native on both platforms, MS were probably folding their arms and whistling saying….nah we can’t be bothered to waste time doing that, we’ll just make the next version UB and that will keep everyone happy.

Okay so everyone with an Intel Mac has put up with Office running sluggish for the last year and a half or so waiting for this great new update which would finally do the platform justice.

WRONG. How very wrong. I can’t understand how it is possible for Mac: Office 2008 to run SLOWER as a native Intel application than as a PPC app running through emulation.

Only Microsoft could put out such a bloated, slow, piece of rubbish as this. Has it even been through bug testing or did it just get slapped on a disk with a cursory glance?


Loves crashing even on the most simplest of tasks. (I swear it has a sensor so that it crashes just before an auto save so you lose the most amount of work)

Takes about a minute to boot PowerPoint from a cold start. A minute?! This is a freaking productivity app!! I could have started Final Cut and be well into capturing video by the time this rubbish opens.

What’s up with the elements gallery? Make your mind up, is it the Ribbon or not? At least let me friggin get rid of it.

Generally very sluggish. This isn’t 5 year old hardware. It’s a 2.2GHz Macbook Pro with 2Gb of Ram and 128 of VRAM. A word processor shouldn’t be this bloated!

I know its not just me either, people all over the world are having exactly the same problems with it.

And yet…...I still use it despite cursing every time it crashes and keep coming back to it. Why? Because there is no realistic alternative. I’m sure the freeware brigade will promote NeoOffice or the Apple elite, Pages, but for word processing in a University environment, Word is really the only way to go.

Its also got some nice features. Smart Art is the best thing Apple never did. Whoever came up with that should be given a cookie, honestly its amazing! Just stop the damn thing crashing!

So alas, Microsoft is this REALLY the best effort you can do with 4 years of development? Really? Oh dear.

- 6 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. You know there’s supposedly a fix for this (sorta), its to do with font rendering or something at startup and making it hang, and it just needs to be disabled.

    05 Mar 2008, 21:57

  2. ooo believe me I’ve tried to no avail…..! Besides WYSIWYG Font rendering is damn sexy.

    05 Mar 2008, 22:00

  3. And it doesn’t support RTL languages properly, as I found out yesterday.

    06 Mar 2008, 13:49

  4. Adrian Holliday

    I”ve got rid of WYSIWYG and it hardly makes any difference. Entourage is pure shit. Takes forever to log on and send/receive. Prettier but dumber and a whole lot slower. Don’t buy, it’s AWFUL.

    10 Mar 2008, 14:56

  5. Dave

    I’m going back to 2004. I read an article on Mactech that claimed it was so much faster — and so I purchase and installed it. But this is stupid slow bloated shit. Disabling wysiwyg did nothing to improve it.

    11 Apr 2008, 22:26

  6. Grant Walker

    Having used Office 2004 frequently I grabbed Office 2008 as soon as it came out. In terms of features version 2008 is great – a big improvement, really nicely designed. It comes with three licence keys too which is pleasing. About the only thing I dislike is being unable to hide Document Elements toolbar when working in Print Layout view (I understand their design decision but still want the option).

    BUT… although I like the features of Office 2008, its performance on my PowerBook G4 (1.67GHz, 2GB RAM) is poor. I don’t consider my laptop to be slow – it’s great for most things (apart from Virtual PC which is usable but only just). But with Office 2008 it really tries my patience, and not just because the startup time is long even with WYSIWYG font menu disabled. When there are other programs working in the background I find myself waiting for a beachball with every clipboard operation or undo. Scrolling or resizing becomes really sluggish. It harks back to the early days of Word 97 OLE which was cool but unusably slow.

    Yesterday I offered to help a friend revise his CV. My PowerBook had been transcoding an AVI using Toast 8 for an hour, which I didn’t want to cancel, but after half an hour of slow progress in Office 2008 I gave up in disgust and sent the files to an old PC with XP and Word 2003 which absolutely flew by comparison. Though I love my PowerBook G4 and use it more than my XP & Ubuntu boxes I’m finding Office 2008 is unproductive. When I need things done quickly I keep going back to Mariner Write. And now that 11.5 update for Office 2004 has arrived I’ll probably uninstall 2008 and revert to 2004.

    Bottom line:
    • Owners of modern fast Intel Macs will find a lot to like about Office 2008.
    • Those with MacBook Air or older Intel Macs will find Office 2008 performance OK but not great. Give Pages a good look before buying.
    • Most G4 owners will be better off staying with Office 2004.
    • Microsoft’s portability layer may be transparent in a few years time but for most users now it’s still a substantial performance hit. It smells of dot net, which would be fine if it wasn’t a sluggish resource hog.

    10 Jul 2008, 01:24

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