Install Office 2008 on Lion

Mac OS X LionIf you do a fresh install of Lion or need to re-install Microsoft Office 2008 at a future time, users that have an original DVD version 12.0.0 of Microsoft Office 2008 can install on Lion, but will need to do an additional step  after installing from the DVD. Until this step is complete, Office 2008 cannot see any future updates. If you have Office 2008 v12.1.0 or later there are no special instructions.

See this article for compatibility issues with Lion: Microsoft announces Lion compatibility for Office for Mac. It’s possible that Microsoft will issue a future updater to fix these issues. Always set the Microsoft AutoUpdater to check for updaters automatically. They will not install without your input, but you will get the announcement to alert you to any future update.

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16 comments to Install Office 2008 on Lion

  • Max

    Hi, I’m trying to install Office 2008 (campus license) on the new macbook air (os lion). Irrespective of my attempts, the installation stops each time after 30 sec. Any idea?

    • One user reported: “had to download on a USB drive and then I was able to install the dmg file from there. The air doesn’t have a typical hard drive.

  • Jake

    Are you serious? This was already the most poorly written software out there and Microsoft have managed to make it even worse and locked it out of updating itself. What a rubbish program.

  • H Lamar Thomas

    I have used Office and Apple computers for close to 22 years now. The new OS 10.7.1 does have compatibility issues with Office 2008. The problem is not with Office, it is with the design of Lion in that it is trying to do too much at once in adding iPad and new iPhone to the mix.
    So, I am having troubles with the two together but in defense of Office 2008, it is is not Office 2008 or Office 2011 where the problems lie.
    The help for this problem can be found in Mac forums. Each machine has it’s own set of quirks in adjusting to the change.

    • BrianM

      every Mac OS X version has changed things behind the scenes (API’s) that has caused issues with a variety of software over the years… including earlier versions of Office.

      Networking in Lion has had some more issues, but again, this isn’t the first time, 10.4 and 10.5 had quite a few issues when first launched. These things are typically mostly fixed by the x.x.3 release.

  • Mark

    What machine are you running this on?

  • Joe

    Upgraded to lion, and now office for mac 2004 does not work. Can I upgrade to 2008 or 2011 without losing data?

    • Yes, but if your Entourage 2004 data is corrupt, you might have trouble getting it into either Entourage 2008 or Outlook 2011. While you still have Office 2004 that will open, I suggest you export your data as .rge file. I would do this for each item individually as well as all-in-one file. This way if the import goes badly, you can import the missing data from the .rge file that’s needed. Entourage 2004 will not open at all in Lion so all work needs to be done prior to upgrading to Lion. Apple Mail requires Entourage to be open to import. So if you’re thinking of moving to Apple Mail in Lion, have Mail import the data before upgrading. (Office 2011 H&S does not contain an email client)

      Note: When exporting as .rge you should get “Done” at the end. If you get one or more items failed to export, you are missing data. You’ll need to clean up first.

      Amazon has Office 2008 H&S for $41.38

  • Rorschach

    Diane: Brilliant…brilliant…brilliant! My new iMac 27″ | 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5 | 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 just arrived and I am having some software compatibility issues as anticipated. The info you’ve provided here did the trick when installing Office: Mac 2008. I thought perhaps this might be helpful to your ‘Readers’; How to completely remove Office 2008 for Mac:

    Unrelated, are my other concern/annoyance with OS X 10.7.3 “Lion” preinstalled on my Machine; the Reinstall software is resident on the HDD. I’m Old-School and like hardcopies of my software. Call me Crazy. Also … where the heck did iDVD go. To bad Apple jump the gun on its demise. Thnx agin for your outstanding help! ~ RJ

    • Did you install iLife on your new computer? You can now buy the individual applications in the Mac App Store if you don’t need the entire suite in iLife.

      You can always make your own installer on a CD/DVD. Just do a search to find directions. However from a support side of things not requiring a CD/DVD to install is greatly beneficial for users that can’t manage to find theirs.

      See this link for Lion compatibility for apps.

      Another option is to open System Profiler > applications and sort on Kind column. You’ll see any PowerPC applications listed. Obviously, look for slashes across an app icon for applications that will not run under Lion.

  • joe mongrel


    I am trying to get Outlook to import my emails for the last 5 years from my Entourage 04 to my Office 11. I am running Lion and was not aware of compatibility issues with Entourage 04 when updating to Lion. I have read many blogs and forums and I don’t seem to be able to find the answer.

    Do I have to go back to Tiger….?

    Please help. Desperate…….


    • Hi Joe, Look for an email from me regarding my services to move your data to Outlook.

      If Outlook will not import your data this is a sign the data is corrupted. Apple Mail will not import from Entourage unless it will open. So unless you can open Entourage 2004 to recover your mail or have a friend that has Office 2004 installed, you will have to revert to Tiger to do it yourself. I’ve done this for several users and unless there is lots of corruption the cost is not too bad considering the time it will save you.

  • Rick

    I updated to Lion and installed Office 2011 and still had Entourage 2004, which I found out was not supported. I updated to Entourage 2008 with all updates after I read forum posts, but Entourage 2008 will not open, with a pop-up window saying “Entourage cannot access your data. In an attempt to fix the problem, rebuild your database”. The database utility pop up with choices, but no databases listed to choose from. I have rebuilt my desktop to no avail. I have an iMac 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 duo.

    Anyone know a solution?

    • Did you select to import your Entourage 2004 Identity into Entourage 2008? Normally you don’t get a rebuild option when importing, the import will just fail to import all data.

      Your Entourage 2004 Identity needs to be in the Office 2004 Identities folder. Select this Identity to import into Entourage 2008. If this fails, your data in Entourage 2004 will have to be recovered first before it will import.

      I work with clients to recover Entourage 2004 Identities after moving to Lion.