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Make Office 2008 and Spaces Play Nicely

Spaces is a great feature in OS X that lets you have multiple desktops. Microsoft Office 2008 is also a necessary tool for many Mac users who wish to edit and share documents with others. Unfortunately, Office 2008 does not work well with spaces, with windows and especially the formatting toolbar jumping around everywhere. Microsoft has issued several updates (12.1.3 is the latest as of this writing), but has yet to fix the problem. However, you can follow the steps below to (mostly) fix these issues.

Go To Your Space

To prevent Office 2008 document windows from jumping around randomly whenever you switch a space, assign the application to always use a certain space. Open up System Preferences, go to “Exposé & Spaces” and navigate to the Spaces tab. “Application Assignments” is the area where you can assign Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. to a specific space. Although doing this helps alleviate the problem of windows jumping around, it will still happen on occasion. Also, this does not fix the formatting toolbar issue.

Collapse Formatting Toolbar

The formatting toolbar is especially annoying with spaces because it jumps to another space when you switch and doesn’t come back when you switch back. If you close the toolbar and reopen it, it will return to the correct space until you switch again. The best workaround then, is to set the toolbar to automatically collapse after a few seconds of non-use. To do this, click on the top right arrow button to reveal the settings pane. Put a check next to “When inactive for:” and set it to go away after a few seconds. Although this can be annoying when you are working and want to see the toolbar out at all times, it is a good workaround if you often switch spaces while using Office.

Where’s the Patch?

Besides this issue, Office 2008 is also rather slow and buggy in other ways, not to mention lacking features such as VBA support. Still, I find it to be useful and can live with it after applying the above workarounds. Here’s to hoping that Microsoft will fix these issues in the future and make the next Office much better.

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