I have been working for a few days with Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 now (affiliate link), having upgraded from the earlier version PowerPoint 2008. For me, the Mac is still a secondary machine, and testing this software is one of the key determinants whether I can move across all together to a Mac environment. All my clients use PC-based Microsoft Office software, so Keynote cannot replace office.

Initially I was a bit wary of Office 2011, having read some poor reviews on Amazon and by columnists such as David Pogue. Maybe it was because of this that I wrote this impulse post about stability issues of PowerPoint 2011.

I managed to solve the problem (after a lot of searching online). Somehow, PowerPoint 2011 can crash every time you enter slideshow mode after you have done some heavy toolbar customization. It happened to me a few times in a row. All fine, customize toolbars, crash, reset toolbars, all fine, customize toolbars, crash. At the moment I stopped the poker game (do I have the courage to add another toolbar customization or not, at the risk of having to reset all previous modifications?) at a level that I am happy with my current toolbars. So the issue remains.

For the rest, I must say that I actually like PowerPoint 2011. The differences with the PC version are minimal, someone with experience with PowerPoint on a PC can switch over instantly. The previous version (PowerPoint 2008) had a user interface that was different from the PC, and also lacked some functionality. Now there is a level playing field. (Well almost, for some reason you cannot change the spacing of the grid in PowerPoint 2011, making it hard to set a grid line exactly at 0 of your slide).

So in conclusion a great piece of software, but I am waiting for that one upgrade that will kill this toolbar customization issue.

I have not yet reviewed Word 2011 and Excel 2011 (the latter got the harshest verdict from David Pogue).

UPDATE 1: OK, there is one big difference with PowerPoint 2010 for Windows: boolean operations on shapes. On the PC version you no can join and subtract shapes. Not in the Mac version. See an earlier post where I praised shape subtract.

UPDATE 2: I think I managed to track down the source of this toolbar bug myself. Do not try to drag the straight arrow connector buttons into your customer toolbar, see a later post here.

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