Microsoft updates Office for Mac

Office for Mac

Microsoft has released a free upgrade for its Office suite for the Mac, bringing Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac up to Service Pack 2 a year-and-a-half after the product was released.

Among other changes, the upgrade adds a new Document Connection tool to help Mac users work in the Microsoft Office Live Workspace, which can also now be accessed using the Safari 4 browser.

Mike Tedesco, senior product manager for Microsoft's Mac Business Unit, said the new tool is the first step to bring Microsoft's "software plus services" more commonly dubbed software as a service to Mac users.

"This connection unlocks the door for Mac users to Microsoft services for easier collaboration and file sharing with colleagues, customers and classmates," he said in a statement.

PowerPoint users can now use default themes and create motion path animations. SharePoint has new collaboration tools, while Word and Excel have seen a speed boost.

Project manager Blair Neumann wrote on the Office for Mac blog: "We took a bite out of start up and scroll speed in Word for example in Word's Outline View scrolling is now up to 10 times faster! We also improved calculation performance in Excel with an increased speed of up to 24 per cent."

The service pack can be downloaded here, or you can wait for it to roll out over Microsoft's AutoUpdate system.

Microsoft last week unveiled the technical preview for Office 2010, which includes web-based versions of the suite.