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Ask Max: MacBook and old versions of MS Word

Asked on 11/14/2007:

I'm in the market for a laptop on which to create documents in Microsoft Word. I purchased Word for Mac several years ago when Microsoft still made a version for Mac. I still have Microsoft's installation CD and its upgrade for Mac OSX. Do you think the software will install on a new or refurbished MacBook? Thanks, Jim


Versions of Microsoft Office for OS X will work well on a new MacBook, but you may have a problem installing it. If the upgrade CD you have requires the OS 9 version of MS Word or MS Office to be installed before it lets you upgrade it, then you are going to have a problem. Older OS 9 programs will not install onto an Intel Mac like the MacBook. However, you have a easy way of moving over your OS X applications and files. Included on all 10.4 and higher Macs is a utility that will import your data from your old Mac. This will work as long as you have a 6-Pin to 6-Pin Firewire cable, and a Mac with a factory original FireWire port (except the B&W G3 tower). When you start up your new Mac it will walk you through connecting both computers and it will move all your files to the proper place. This same process can also bring over applications, if you instruct it to. It is called the Migration Assistant, and although it runs the first time you start the computer, it can also be used at any time; it's found in your new Mac's Utilities folder.

Also of note is that Microsoft still makes Word and the other Office suite of programs for the Mac. Microsoft Word 2008 is due to come out in a few months but if you buy a current version now, you can update for just $10 when the 2008 version is available with the Microsoft Office 2008 Guarantee form.

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