Office 2008 for the Mac on Demand – Review

Office 2008 for the Mac on Demand
By Steve Johnson

Que Publishing
US $29.95
554 pages
ISBN 978-0-7897-3923-0

Microsoft released Office 2008 for the Mac back in January of 2008. While the initial flurry of books and manuals had slowed, new titles continue to arrive.

Prolific author (46 titles for Que alone) Steve Johnson’s new addition to the On Demand series is Office 2008 for the Mac On Demand. Is this the right help book for you? Let’s see.

Office 2008 On Demand (2008OD, for short) is a visually-oriented guide. It depends more on screen shots than text to instruct you how to perform certain tasks. The text exists to clarify what you see in the screen shots, and to provide chapter overviews. Johnson does provide a plethora of very useful “Did you know?” text balloons that add valuable bits of information.

With 554 pages, including index, there’s plenty of space for Johnson to give Office 2008’s major components, Word, Excel, Entourage, and PowerPoint, plenty of coverage.

I found 2008OD to be more useful as a reference than as an instructional book. If you want a book to help you learn how the Office applications work, and work together as a suite, 2008OD is probably not for you. It does not provide the overview and sweep that helps the user get the feel of the Office 2008 suite as an integrated whole.

But 2008OD is a fine tool for visually presenting how to accomplish certain tasks. If you’re trying to use the Format Painter in Word, and are stuck, you can quickly find the relevant screen shots and text, and figure out the problem without having to wade through lots of text.

If you’re a task-specific, visually oriented learner (I’m not), this is a worthwhile book.

One nit needs picking, however. The back cover has a balloon saying that buyers get a “FREE online edition with purchase of this book. Details on Last Page.”

I followed the instructions, only to find that you have free access only for 45 days! After that, you have to pay for online access. Que Publishing is engaging in a bit of bait-and-switch here. rating 3.5 out of 5. For visually-oriented users, Office 2008 On Demand may fit the bill. Points off for for touting free online access, when it’s only 45 days.

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