Microsoft announces Lion compatibility for Office for Mac

Mac OS X LionTwo days after Apple’s release of Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion), Microsoft has posted an announcement on its blog about compatibility with Office for Mac to help consumers with their upgrade decisions. Office for Mac users who should not update to Lion are:

  • Excel 2008 users who rely on Microsoft Query
  • Excel 2011 users who rely on Microsoft Query in any language other than English

The post acknowledges two major issues with Office for Mac 2011:

  1. Communicator for Mac (sold only to enterprise customers with volume licenses) crashes when initiating an audio or video call or sending an instant message.
  2. Outlook cannot import mail from Apple Mail. This does not affect anyone who already imported mail prior to upgrading to Lion.

Most other issues with Office for Mac 2011 are minor cosmetic issues that do not affect functionality.

Office 2008 will also need some updates to better work with Lion. For the most part its applications are all Universal, meaning they will run natively on Lion without Rosetta. Rosetta is the Apple technology that allows PowerPC applications to run on Intel hardware. Microsoft Query, however, is still a PowerPC application and needs Rosetta. Excel 2008 users who rely on Microsoft Query should not upgrade to Lion until this application is updated.

In a companion knowledge base article Microsoft also definitively states that Office 2004 will not run on Lion. Applications in Office 2004 are PowerPC native only and can only run on Intel Macs with the assistance of Rosetta. Lion does not contain the Rosetta technology.

Other known issues include:

Excel 2008 or 2011

  • May crash when moving a sheet from one workbook to another
  • Microsoft Query 2011 only works in the English version of Office 2011 for now
  • Date format may display as two digits instead of four digits

Word 2008 or 2011

  • Date format may display as two digits instead of four digits

PowerPoint 2008 or 2011

  • May crash when typing Command + tab to switch to another application while in Presenter View
  • Leaving a Slide Show while in full screen mode may display inconsistent window behavior
  • May be prompted to save when switching windows

Entourage 2008 or Outlook 2011

  • Date format may display as two digits instead of four digits

Office 2008 or 2011

  • Reference tools may have redraw problems and links may not work
  • Chart data labels may not be visible
  • Equation editor may not function correctly

Web Applications

  • Links to files on SkyDrive or SharePoint servers may not correctly open files in the native applications. Setting Firefox or Safari to open in 32-bit mode will work around this.

Updates to address these issues will be announced here and on the Office for Mac blog on Microsoft’s site. Microsoft has a history of releasing updates to Office for Mac on Patch Tuesday, which is the second Tuesday of the month, making August 9 the next likely potential release date for updates.

Update: Microsoft has definitively stated that Office 2004 will not be updated to run on Lion.

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41 comments to Microsoft announces Lion compatibility for Office for Mac

  • becca

    ahhh! i have to use excel 2004 (YEP!) to run “point zero” a budgeting software used mainly (er maybe solely) in music videos and commercial production. everyone relies on excel 2004 because point zero is not compatible with excel 2008 and higher! i just installed Lion, not knowing that excel 2004 wasn’t compatible and now i can’t use the macros to send my actuals in my budgets. AHHHH! any way i can trick my computer into running excel 2004 anyway?? it is completely disabled, even the dock icon has a line thru it, and a warning that lion does not support power pc programs. i know this all sounds terribly antiquated but its a problem everyone in my industry seems to be facing (the whole point zero only running with 2004 thing…) help??!!?!?!

    • At one point Quicken 2007 for Mac users had a little bit of hope. Quicken is a popular personal finance management application that has never been updated from PowerPC code too. They had announced unofficially that they were looking into taking Rosetta and somehow incorporating it into their product so that it would run on an Intel machine.

      Unfortunately, they recently announced to all their customers that Quicken 2007 was the end of the line for Mac users, so they either couldn’t strike a deal with Apple to use the Rosetta technology or they couldn’t get it to work. I suspect the latter.

      PointZero, like Office 2004, is a discontinued product. If neither Microsoft nor SHOWBIZ are upgrading their products then you should start looking for alternatives now before your current hardware fails you. If you continue trying to use this software you’ll eventually find that you’re purchasing older Macs just to keep it alive and you’ll be sinking a lot of money into that.

    • Audree

      I’m in the same boat. Does Point Zero work in windows?
      Can we install windows with Lion & work point zero that way?

    • Mike Armstrong

      I was wondering if anyone had tried using office 2011 on Lion.
      2011 supports Macros so in theory should run PointZero.

      Fingers Crossed.

    • Beth

      Hi I was wondering if you ever solved this issue as I have the same exact one!
      I have a new macbook pro and need to use 2004 because of the commercial budget (Macros) issue. I am unsure what to do. Thank you for your help with this.

  • becca

    hey, its definitely NOT my choice to be using PointZero or having to rely on 2004 Excel. i continue to be SHOCKED by the fact that commercial production seems to still rely on it. its so weird and backwards and horrible! but it doesn’t matter if i try and use another type of software, i will be up against the fact that most people that i work with will not be using it, and when i send my budgets over to people that need to incorporate them into their own files, ill find that they won’t be able to seamlessly do it. and i will look like the heel (not them for still clinging to a completely outdated platform!!) i hate this industry sometimes.

    I’m sure there is some way to run point zero in Numbers and export it as an excel file. ill have to figure that out. and fast! i just booked a job starting monday! eeeek!


  • Nathan

    From, it looks like PointZero works on Windows versions of Excel older than 2008. You could just run an older Windows version of Excel in a Windows virtual machine.

  • Michal

    Well … For me it’s easy: need to downgrade to Snow Leopard again. My Office 2011 does not start in Lion AT ALl :-)!

    • Adrian

      If its any help my mail is working fine with out Exchange Server and Office 2011.
      It won’t work with Lions own mail programme and our Server…Downloads some of the emails but not the current ones…

      Very confused.


  • Vern

    Using 12.0 on MSWord Mac 2008, with Lion.
    I note the following:
    1. It is incompatible with Endnote. Endnote requires at least 12.1 apparently.
    2. You cannot install 12.1 or anything else because the Lion MS Word combination does not at this point allow it.

    Effectively, this is very big for academics and others who use Endnote plug-in for MSWord.

    Downgrading is not that easy. If you have a backup on Time Machine with e.g. Snow Leopard you can potentially erase your hard drive and copy the Time Machine backup. Problem is those of us who bought a new computer and were unaware of incompatibilities and already had installed the Lion before a Time Machine backup.

    My hope is this posting will stimulate MSWord to sort out this major problem. It’s not then just the date problem as claimed.

    • Vern

      1. Uninstall Endnote X.1 itself if you are not upgraded.
      2. Upgrade to Endnote X.1. 03
      3. Install the CWYW plug in (special for this)
      4. Upgrade MSWord 12.0.0 as far as you can. I got to 12.2.0 but could not install 12.3.0 on Lion. This is sufficient for this need.
      5. Now comes the tricky part. Endnote needs to talk to MSWord and you will find that the CWYW plug in is still not in the Word Prefs folder. You must make the two talk:
      a. Go manually and locate the EndNote CWYW Word 2008. Bundle.
      b. Copy it
      c. Go manually to Applications/MSOffice/Office/StartUp/Word/
      d. Paste that EndNote CWYW Word 2008.bundle into it.

      6. Now tell MSWord to recognize it:
      a. Go to Word Prefs/ File locations/ Start up
      e. Manually locate the EndNote CWYW Word 2008. Applications/MSOffice/Office/StartUp/Word/
      7. Restart up Word and Endnote.
      8. Voila, it works.
      9. No reason why this should be limited to this combination though cannot prove. I am an ordinary person, not linked with either company.

  • GaryREM

    Office 2011 starts and runs fine for me.

  • Vern

    Word 12.1 mac 2008 can install in Lion.
    But it does not allow Endnote e.g. X 1 to run all the same even thought it does so in e.g. Snow Leopard.

    Word 12.2 cannot install in Lion using usual techniques. (If there is a way, I cannot find it).

  • Ian Douglas

    Well, for me, MS Word is crashing all the time under Lion. I updated to the latest version, the behavior persists. It’s not happening with newly created files, but rather files I receive from others, and so is virtually impossible to trouble shoot.

    BTW: the new search tab in the sidebar (actually the whole sidebar) cannot be closed by clicking the X to close it. Nothing happens. I have to go to the menu to close the sidebar. Minor bug, but a bug nonetheless.

  • Andrew

    on my macbook pro word in office 2011 will not launch in Lion at all nor will something called solver (don’t know what this is – new machine etc.

  • Em

    Does anyone know if MS word 2008’s equation editor works on lion, or if macTex works? Currently writing a paper and don’t want to loose all my work if i upgrade.

  • Andrew

    Eureka. I completely uninstalled office 2011 using the detailed instructions at

    Then reinstalled and its all good on Lion.

    I then updated solver to the excel 2011 version from the first line solutions website and it too now works fine in Lion.

    Hope this helps someone.

  • chris

    I installed Lion and also updated to MS office for mac 2011. I pull documents from a Mac Server 10.4 G5 power pc, with lots of MS office for mac 2008 documents.
    Ever since the update to Lion i cannot open the document (Excel or MS) from the server…any thoughts? Is it rosetta? Somehow Lion and the G5 server are having an issue and Mac is in the middle…help

  • Paul Hughes

    I don’t have just two problems. I am running MS Word 2011, and it won’t open at all. It says “PowerPC is no longer supported” but I have an Intel Core 2 Duo — and the newest version of Word. On the Dock, all four Office programs are “X”ed out, and when I try to open a document itself, it does the same thing? What am I doing wrong?

    • Is it possible that the icons in the Dock are for an older version of Office? Select icon in Dock > Option > Show in Finder.

      If it is Office 2011 applications, try testing in a new User. Testing in a new User will quickly tell you if the problem is system wide or if it’s your User’s folder that contains the problem.


      Go to System Preferences –> Create a New User in Accounts. Switch to the New User by logging out/in or use Fast User Switching.

      It it fails in the new User, I would remove Office 2011 and re-install. if it works in the new User, this indicates preferences or caches are prime suspects.

      Download and run this script to remove Office 2011

      Re-install Office 2011

    • Brian

      Sounds like maybe (just a hunch) this was all moved onto the powermac from an older PPC mac? Rosetta was so good at running PPC on Intel, you would not have known before. It would have ‘just worked’ then, but Rosetta has finally be cut out for performance reasons, etc… Lion is screaming fast, BTW.

  • Doug

    Entourage 2008 also has issues with spotlight searching and “mail views”.

  • Herman

    Outlook for Mac 2011 keeps crashing since installing Lion. Over and over again. Compatible? Not really.

  • I did a clean install of Lion then installed Office 2008. I’m having no problems. However on the forums we are seeing reports from other users that installed Lion over their previous version and are having trouble. Testing in a new User will quickly tell you if the problem is system wide or if it’s your User’s folder that contains the problem.

    1) You’ll need to drag your Main Identity to Shared so you can test in the new User. Your Hard Drive/Users/Shared


    Go to System Preferences –> Create a New User in Accounts. Switch to the New User by logging out/in or use Fast User Switching.

    3) Open Entourage and let it create the Microsoft User Data folder and a new blank Identity. Quit Entourage.

    4) Drag from Shared your Identity. It will overwrite the blank one unless you rename one.

    5) Launch Entourage. Does it work? If yes the problem is in your User’s folder. (SET TO “LEAVE ON SERVER” FOR TEST)

    6) If it fails, then “Switch Identity” and try entering your accounts in a new Identity and see if that works.

    7) If this fails, the problem is at the base level. You might need to re-install Office 2008 .


    • Nikki

      Thanks for the tip Diane. Tried your initial suggestions and ended up having to reinstall Office 2008. All working fine now – thanks so much for the advice.

  • Michelle

    Found out at 1 am the day after updating to Lion in the iMac that word “is no longer supported). Daughter panicking, paper list in machine! Remembered freeware I’d recently installed on my laptop. Looks just like word and saves in .otd or .doc (word) formats, and lots of others. Worked like a charm. Has all the same templates too: spreadsheet, pp, etc.

  • thueringer


    where do I find now in Lion the Cache for Entourage 2008 (the Main Identity)?

    • The Library is hidden in Lion. Entourage 2008 stores the Spotlight cache files in the same location. Once you make the Library visible you can view them.

      “YOUR USER FOLDER/Library/Caches/Metadata/Microsoft/Entourage”

      Enable the Library folder.

      Option 1) It’s easy to get to your user’s Library folder with a simple Go > Go to Folder command in Finder, then typing ~/Library.

      Option 2) Open the Terminal and type:

      chflags nohidden /Users/[username]/Library/

    • timbk

      Select “Go” and the drop down menu appears (without the Library option) when menu is there press the “alt” key, and the Library navigation appears in the menu. Select “Library” and you are there…

  • Tom Pender

    Am I missing that whether you can mail a Word document directly without going separately into Outlook, etc., with Lion? BTW–no problems with crashes with 2010 Office Suite and Mac Lion.

  • Awais Noorani

    I’ve found a way in which you can import Apple Mail into Outlook 2011 on Mac OS X Lion.

    The software I’m running is Mac OS X 10.7.2 on a 2011 MacBook Pro.

    You need to purchase an app called Emailchemy. It’s 29.99 for an individual license, and 49.99 for a family license. There are enterprise versions available as well.

    Once you run the app, you need to do the following:

    1. Export all mailboxes from Apple Mail to your desktop (or any other suitable location on your computer). You do this by selecting the mailbox, and then clicking on “Mailbox”, and then “Export Mailbox”. Save the destination, and the file is saved automatically.

    2. Then you open Emailchemy and do the following:
    – click on “toolbox” in the bottom left hand corner
    – click on the second box on the top left hand called “advanced email conversion”
    – click on “add file”
    – select the folder (s) you just exported from Apple Mail (e.g. Inbox.mbox)
    Now here comes the trick
    – select format “apple mail 1.0 in the format option at the bottom
    – then 3 sub-folders will appear “info-p.list”, “mbox” and “table of contents”
    Select “mbox”
    – click on “convert” and choose a save file name. Choose the format “MBOX file (standard mbox)”
    – click on save

    And you then have a folder created which Outlook 2011 recognizes and can import.

    I just imported all my Apple Mail into Outlook 2011 – it works really well too – the formatting, attachments, etc are all there!

    Hope this helps.

  • Queso Mal

    Actually Quicken is coming out with updates and has a newer version but most people prefer the 2007 version because the newest version was not nearly as fully featured. The original user shouldn’t have jumped in without first reading up. They can of course save all their documents and grab their old install disk and be good.

  • Erinn VanderMeer

    So, no 2004 supported. Ever. Now if I purchase 2008 or 2011, will I be able to access my 2004 files using one of them? Otherwise I might as well return my macbook and work with my powerbook longer.

    • Both Office 2011 and 2008 can open Office 2004 files. Although you can probably still find copies of Office 2008 I suggest you purchase the latest version so that you’re as up-to-date as possible. The next version of Office after 2011 more than likely won’t be able to import Entourage 2004 mail if you’re using that.