Microsoft Office compatibility issues with OS X 10.7 Lion have garnered news in different sections of media. The news was a bit dampener for Mac users who were expecting Microsoft to offer new features in Office for Mac. Microsoft had tried hard to entice the Mac users to use Office by offering new features such as Fullscreen, Autosave and Versions. Users who relied on these office features are forced to reconsider their decision and give importance to known compatibility issues that exist between different Office versions and Lion OS 10.7 before upgrading the OS. Software bugs are quite common in software packages. Some bugs require fix that are provided through an update patch that is provided by developer. Some bugs are minor in nature while some bugs in software packages can disrupt the entire workflow.

After reviewing the situation, Microsoft has went ahead and published the information for users about compatibility issues between different Office versions and OS X 10.7 Lion in their knowledge base article on their website. Technical experts have advised Mac users against upgrading their OS, if they rely on Office 2004 for their work.  They should only consider upgrading to new Mac OS, if they have new versions of Office for Mac such as Office 2008 or Office 2011 versions. Office 2004 is based on PowerPC code and will not work on Lion OS.

Users do have an option to upgrade. Another solution to these problems is installing Snow Leopard OS in alternate partition which will allow them to use Rosetta which can run PowerPC application on Intel Mac machines. However, users may require purchasing new licenses before using these software’s. Microsoft has announced that it is working with Apple to resolve the issues related to Office for Mac 2011 and 2008 and OS X 10.7 Lion. Microsoft is aware of two major compatibility issues of Office for Mac and Lion OS. They are the Communicator for Mac crashes when user starts an audio/visual call or sends an IM. Microsoft will release an update to resolve this issue shortly. Microsoft has announced that Office 2004 will not run on Lion OS.  It has cited reason that Rosetta was supported in previous Mac versions and latest Lion OS does not support Rosetta. Rosetta is an Apple Mac OSX bridge technology that allowed older application with PowerPC code to run on Mac’s latest chip architecture.

Microsoft is working to resolve issues that occur in specific situations. Some of the compatibility issues that Microsoft is working on are Excel crashes when user moves from one spread sheet to other. The date format displays years in two digits instead of four digits.  The date format issue is common is Excel 2008 and Word 2008.  The issue related to PowerPoint is the application crashes, if the user presses the combination of command and Tab keys while in Presenter view mode.

Users are advised not to upgrade to Lion OS, if they rely on use of these functions in Office for Mac that have issues.  Mac users who consider upgrading to new Lion OS should keep an eye on the updates that Microsoft will provide to fix the issues.