25 Nov 2011

Can I use Office 365 on an Apple Mac?

Concentra SharePoint Team

This is the question one of my customers asked me this week. Enough to send a chill down the spine of a die-hard Windows advocate? Well fortunately I'm both a Windows and an Apple Mac user so was in a position to advise.

The answer is that some of Office 365 works on a Mac. The best thing to do is to list what works and what doesn't:

What works

  • Exchange Online: This pretty much works the same, except you can't use Outlook 2010 of course! I've not seen the Outlook Web Access experience in Safari, but suspect it will be like the previous version i.e. will be a cut down version of what you get with Internet Explorer

What kind of works

  • SharePoint Online: The official line from Microsoft is that Safari users are now 'First class citizens' when it comes to using SharePoint. This means that most of the stuff you want to do in the browser works, but not all. It's also much harder to save documents straight into SharePoint, in my opinion making it a jump to far to use it as a document management system in a Mac environment

What doesn't work

  • Microsoft Office Professional 2010: This comes as part of Office 365 and quite simply doesn't install on a Mac. So you will need to buy Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. It sounds like it might be one year ahead of Office 2010 but don't be fooled! It feels to me like it's 5 years behind. Outlook in particular is ugly, clunky and with features missing

Not sure

  • Lync: I've not tested if this works. With Office for Mac 2011 you get a Microsoft Instant Messenger client but I don't know if you can connect it to Lync. My suspicion is you can't

My advice would be to get yourself an Office 365 trial and test it out on your Mac to see if you can live with the limitations. Office 365 is a great set of applications and Apple Macs are awfully pretty - a match made in heaven???

Office 365 trial

Concentra SharePoint Team