Office for Mac 2011 Previewed Ahead of Launch Scheduled for Later This Year

Microsoft today announced a sneak preview of Office for Mac 2011, set for release later this year. The preview, scheduled in conjunction with Macworld Expo in San Francisco, details several significant changes including the adoption of a "ribbon" interface similar to that introduced for Windows in Office 2007.

We took your feedback and haven't completely rearranged what you know and love: the new design is an evolution of the Office 2008 Elements Gallery and uses the classic Mac menu and Standard Toolbar giving you the best of both worlds. You can even collapse the ribbon and the Toolbar for more screen space or for the more advanced users who rely on keyboard shortcuts. Together these tools make it easy to find and discover new and frequently used commands.

Also included are new co-authoring tools and integration with Office Web Apps to foster collaboration and easy file access from anywhere.

Another major change highlighted by Microsoft is the replacement of Entourage with Outlook for Mac. As previously detailed, Outlook for Mac will be Cocoa-based and will leverage the Exchange Web Services platform to enhance productivity, particularly in enterprise settings. Newly-announced today is the capability of Outlook for Mac to import .PST storage table files from Outlook for Windows.

Pricing for Office for Mac 2011, which has been expected to ship in the "holiday season 2010", has yet to be announced.