Office 2008 Installation

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Installing and configuring Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. 

  • Some tweaks mentioned below may have already been set with customized installer, including default file formats.

System Requirements

To run Microsoft® Office 2008 for Mac, your computer must meet the following requirements:

  • Processor: A Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500 MHz or faster) processor
  • Operating System: Mac OS X version 10.4.9 or later
  • Memory: 512 MB of RAM or more
  • 1.5 GB of available hard disk space
  • Hard Disk: HFS+ hard disk format (also known as Mac OS Extended or HFS Plus)

Steps to take before installing (recommended)

(If you use Entourage) Backup the Entourage database: COPY (do not move) the folder called "Microsoft User Data" (located in the "Documents" folder inside your Home directory) to an external medium (network drive with sufficient storage, external hard disk), or a different folder on the computer, such as the Desktop.

Installation steps

  • Use the default options that the installer offers.
  • During the installation process, you will be asked to provide some personal information. Your first and last name are sufficient. (Note: None of this information is sent to Microsoft, or other parties, it is used solely to make your installation of Office more personal).
  • At the end, the installer will offer to help you update. Please use this opportunity to update Office before launching any applications. See the recommended notes, below.

Steps to take after the installation finishes (recommended)

Performing Updates (HIGHLY recommended)

  • It is highly recommended to update Office to the latest version, before using it. Microsoft has fixed many bugs that were present in the initial version. Some of the more serious bugs that will be resolved by updating include the inability to save and open documents in certain situations.
  • Updates can be performed using Microsoft AutoUpdate. To launch Microsoft AutoUpdate, you should choose the "Update" option available at the end of the install process. You can also open one of the Office applications (such as Word), and start the update process by clicking on the "Help" menu and then clicking "Check for updates". It is recommended to set the updating frequency to "Weekly".

Recommended tweaks for Microsoft Word

(Note: It may take a minute or two to open Word for the first time. Subsequent launches should be faster. )

Click on the "Word" menu in the top left corner and click "Preferences".

  • In the preferences window click on "Save", and from the "Save Word files as" menu select "Word 97-2004 Document (.doc)".
  • Click on "Show All", then click "Compatibility" and set "Recommended options" to "Microsoft Word 2000-2004 and X".

(the following recommendations may not be necessary if you had earlier versions of Office installed)

  • The default font for Word 2008 is Cambria. To change to Times New Roman (or another font):
    • Click on the "Format" menu and click "Font".
    • In the Font box enter "Times New Roman".
    • Click "Default", then click OK.
  • The default spacing in Word 2008 is double.  To change this:
    • Click on the "Format" menu.
    • Select "Style", then select "Normal", and click "Modify".
    • Click on the drop-down menu in the lower left corner and click "Paragraph".
    • Under "Spacing", change "After" to be 0 pt.
    • Click OK and OK, again.
    • Click "Organizer", and under "Styles" highlight "Normal" in the list on the left and click "Copy".
    • Confirm that you want to replace the Normal template. Click Close. Quit Word (it doesn't matter if you save the document or not, the normal template will be saved automatically).

Decreasing Word launch time

You can decrease the time it takes for Word to open by turning off Font preview. Note: This will stop Word from displaying fonts in their typefaces in the "Font" menu and the font drop-down box (where you choose the font):

  • Click on the "Word" menu in the top left corner, then click "Preferences"
  • In the preferences window click on "General"
  • Remove the check mark next to "WYSIWYG font and style menus"
  • Click OK

Recommended tweaks for Microsoft PowerPoint

(Note: It may take a minute or two to open the application for the first time. Subsequent launches should be faster. )

Click on the "PowerPoint" menu in the top left corner and click "Preferences".

  • In the preferences window click on "Save", and from the "Save PowerPoint files as" menu select "PowerPoint 97-2004 Document (.ppt)".
  • It is not possible to change the default font, theme or slide layout in PowerPoint. The line spacing in PowerPoint is normal, so there is no need to change it.

Recommended tweaks for Microsoft Excel

(Note: It may take a minute or two to open the application for the first time. Subsequent launches should be faster. )

Click on the "Excel" menu in the top left corner and click "Preferences".

  • In the preferences window click on "Compatibility", and from the "Save Excel files as" menu select "Excel 97-2004 Document (.xls)".

Recommended tweaks for Microsoft Entourage

  • Please skip this section if you do not plan to use Entourage as your e-mail client.
  • If you have never used Entourage before, but you would like to start using it, you should follow the directions in the Entourage 2008 document on our documentation site.

After following the above instructions, or if Entourage is already configured, you should consider making the following modifications:

Junk E-Mail Protection

  • Click on the "Tools" menu and click "Junk E-Mail Protection"
    • Click on the "Level" tab, and click on "Low", then remove the checkmark next to "Delete messages from the Junk E-Mail folder" (just a recommendation)
    • Click on the "Safe Domains" tab, and enter middlebury.edu Read the note there on how to add other domains to this safe list.

Fonts, spelling, attachments options

  • Click on the "Entourage" menu in the top left corner and click "Preferences".
  • Under Fonts set "Arial" for HTML messages and "Courier New" for plain text messages.
  • Under "Spelling" remove the checkmark next to "Ignore words in UPPERCASE" and place a checkmark next to "Always check spelling before queuing outgoing messages".
  • Under "Compose" => "Attachments", set "Encode for" to "Windows". Ironically this works better for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Also place a checkmark next to "Append file name extensions".

Save and Move - add missing buttons

  • If you are missing the "Save" button when writing an e-mail message:
    • Click on the "View" menu and click "Customize Toolbar". Drag the "Save" button to the toolbar, next to the "Send" button.
  • If you are missing the "Move" button when you are viewing received messages:
    • Click on the "View" menu and click "Customize Toolbar". Drag the "Move" button to the toolbar.

Turning off My Day

  • To disable the "My Day" application:
    • Click on the "My Day" button. Click on the "My Day" application in the Dock.
    • Click on the "My Day" menu in the top left corner, then click "Preferences".
    • Remove the check mark next to "Open at login".

Known issues with Office 2008

Word Crashes On Longer Documents

  • Word 2008 freezes or crashes after a few minutes of editing a document, if the document is long (about 90 pages or more) and has mixed english text with another language (or just a few non-standard words), and if the checkbox "Check grammar as you type" is checked.
  • The fix is to disable automatic grammar check: Open Word => Preferences => Spelling and Grammar, uncheck "Check grammar as you type".

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage 2008 are slow when opened the first time after a reboot

  • This is widely reported by users but there is no known solution. The issue is much improved with the latest Office 2008 for Mac updates (At least 12.2.x). Decreasing the number of active fonts helps. Also see the note for Microsoft Word above, regarding disabling WYSIWYG font menus.The programs open fine subsequently (sample situation: you reboot your Mac, you open Word, it takes a long time to open, but you patiently wait... it opens, you do your work and when done, you close it. The next time you open word it will startup fast. The cycle repeats after a reboot).

Can't send meeting invitations (error -17997)

  • Microsoft Office Update 12.1.3 introduced this issue http://blog.entourage.mvps.org/
  • Solution: Update to the latest version of Office for Mac (Update 12.1.4 fixed the issue)

Cannot open documents

Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint gives the following message:

Microsoft (Word|Excel|PowerPoint) cannot open the file.
You may have to download the latest updates for Office for Mac.
Do you want to visit the Microsoft Web site for more information?

Opening documents created with very old versions of office

You cannot open documents that were created in very old versions of Word. The following message appears when you double-click such a file:

DocumentName.doc uses a file type that is block from opening in this version.

This feature was added by Microsoft to increase security. Microsoft has not offered a fix, but does give a workaround:

    • Open Word.
    • Click on the File menu, then click Open.
    • In the window that appears, navigate to the document that you'd like to open, and open it.
    • Click on File, then click Save.
    • After following the above procedure, you won't get a warning again if you try to open this document. You will need to repeat the procedure for other documents, but it is a one-time per document procedure.
    • For details see this Microsoft Knowledge Base page

No visual basic support

  • There is no visual basic support, so Visual Basic macros won't run in Office 2008. More information on how to resolve this is available at the Mactopia Developers site


  • With Office 2004 and 2008 installed at the same time, the applications from Office 2008 are always the default applications for opening documents. There's not way to change this.
  • One customer noticed that Word 2008 doesn't print the images on one of her documents. This seems like a very isolated case. However, it is possible to install Office 2004 alongside Office 2008 without any negative effects (however, document do open in Word 2008 by default). You can use middfiles, bigcat, or the Office 2004 from Library Circulation to install Office 2004.
  • Endnote X1 is not compatible with Word 2008, out of the box. A free patch is available at www.endnote.com/support/CWYW_Word_2008.asp For details, see the article on Endnote
  • MathType requires re-installation after Office 2008 installation.
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