Office 2008 Start-Up Issues

As of last week I got myself a fresh and official copy of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. While I’m not quite convinced that the update was worth the price, I see that the new XML-based standard file-formats of the Office suite are getting more and more common with our clients. So I don’t really had an alternative to update, if I wanted to stay able to open our clients’ documents.

From my point of view Apple’s iWork suite offers by far the more advanced and convenient user experience (mostly due to the fact, that the iWork applications really use and incorporate Mac OS X GUI API “Cocoa” and not just fake it’s behaviour like Microsoft Office 2008 does). But what should I do … most clients don’t work on Macs so the will not even have a chance to go and try iWork.

So besides the usual comparison between Office and iWork there is one thing, that really distracted me from frequently using the new Office 2008 apps: slow start-up! There are reports on the web, telling about start-up times for MS Word 2008 between four and ten (!!!) minutes. The start-up sequence usually consumes about 50% of available RAM and usually blocks at least 50 to 60% of raw processing power. Come on Microsoft, that’s ridiculous!

Well, there is at least a solution. Take Word. Most of the time it spends starting up is consumed by “Optimizing Font Menu Performance”.

So after you patiently waited for the diva to show up goto to the “Preferences …” menu and select the “General” settings tab.

After unchecking the “WYSIWYG font and style menus” and the “Show Project Gallery at startup” settings, quit Word and restart it. Voilá … while still not starting up fast start-up time is at least reasonable.

From my point of view this really hints at Microsoft’s weak understanding of Mac OS X core technologies (like the Cocoa API or the AppKit framework, both of which implement advanced font management and previewing function for all apps that’d like to use them).

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