Microsoft is throwing a small bone to Apple users. No, Redmond hasn’t announced Office for iOS. However, they have showered Mac users with some love. The latest update for Office for Mac 2011 puts it more in line with the company’s more feature-rich Windows counterpart, Office 2013. In addition, the Mac software is now more immersed into the Office 365 ecosystem.

In many respects, Office for Mac 2011 14.3.4 looks to be a launching pad for more things to come. Firstly, it includes the Calibri Light font for the first time. Prior to this addition, Windows users often saw font substitutions when they received documents from Mac users.

The update also adds built-in support for SkyDrive, and SharePoint in Microsoft Word.

Other new features, according to the release notes include:

  • Coauthoring session with Microsoft PowerPoint Web App and Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which all updates during a coauthoring session with the PowerPoint Web App client come through as conflicts.
  • After token expires, does not prompt for credentials in Microsoft Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue that causes Outlook for Mac not to prompt for credentials after the Kerberos token expires.
  • SetupUI is shown to user on start after Office for Mac is already activated
    Fixes an issue in which, upon startup, the user is prompted to reactivate the subscription when multiple Office for Mac applications start.
  • Folder contains excess white space: Error 1025 in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which folder names with leading white-space characters are not accepted for Gmail accounts.
  • XLIST command that is used by Gmail is deprecated in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which the discontinued XLIST command for Gmail uses the IMAP List Extension for Special User Mailboxes to detect special-use folders.
  • Local group mail cannot be sent in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issues in which messages that are addressed to local contact groups in Outlook for Mac cannot be sent.
  • Remote devices lose control while in Presentation Mode in Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which keyboards and remotes may lose control in a PowerPoint for Mac slide show.
  • File format extension support in PowerPoint for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 content may be lost when it is saved in PowerPoint for Mac 2011.
  • Searching continues after user cancels in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which item searches in Outlook for Mac continue in the background after the user cancels the searches within the application.
  • Items go into Junk Mail in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which messages that are sent from an account that is present in the Blocked Sender list in Outlook for Mac are displayed in Junk Mail instead of in Sent Items.
  • Blocked Senders List under Junk Email Protection in Outlook for Mac
    Fixes an issue in which the wrong senders are blocked for certain kinds of accounts and account formatting in the Blocked Senders list under Junk Email Protection.

Perhaps the most important new feature in the update is the option for users to jump to the subscription version of Office if they want. Called Office 365, this initiative offers users the ability to install the entire productivity suite on up to five computers, and receive automatic updates.

These computers can be a combination of Mac and Windows-based machines. Subscriptions begin at $100 per year for the Home Premium edition, or $9.99 per month. Student discounts are also available.

This is a great step that will benefit Mac users that continue to use Office. Hopefully, future updates will narrow the differences between Office 2011 and Office 2013 even more. And Office for iOS? With no native app in sight, the best alternative is to be an Office 365 subscriber, and bring up your favorite application via mobile Safari.

The latest update requires OS X 10.5.8 or later. Office Home Premium 365 requires an Intel Mac, and OS X 10.6 or higher.