More screenshots have appeared of office 2011 for mac and from the looks of it development seems to be progressing quite well. The gallery of screenshots for the next version of office for mac is found here
However, of all the screenshots the one that caught my attention was this one
It seems like MacBU has given us a choice of using the ribbon or the toolbar palette found in earlier versions (or you can use both if you wish to). I also hope that I can customize the toolbar on the top so if I don't like the ribbon or the palette I can go back to the toolbar. Personally, I don't think that the ribbon is a bad idea. It is far more useful than the current use of space that is the "elements gallery" (which is not useful at all especially in word). Ribbon offers a lot more functionality taking up that same amount of space. Plus, the ribbon can be minimized so if you don't like it you don't have to use it. Another thing I didn't like with the elements gallery was that in full screen mode in word for some odd reason the gallery is still there. Of all the things they chose to include in full screen mode it had to be the elements gallery which has no use there. I hope in office 2011 they can make the screen void with no editing tools present.
I'm pretty excited about the next version of office 2011 though I do wonder what version of docx/xlsx/pptx it includes, since in office 2010 for windows it does not use the iso approved formats, but rather sticks to the older format found in office 2007. Also outlook is finally here for mac, though since I don't use entourage/outlook on mac or windows I can't say much about it (I use mail and thunderbird). And macros is back too, I have high hopes for this new version of office. Though I feel bad seeing that in a way they "ripped us off" on office 2008.
On another note, I found this tip in the macrumors forum talking about speeding up boot times for word 08 and it seems to work. The thread is found here. Basically you go to word preferences and turn off or uncheck "WYSIWYG font and style menus" as well as "Show Project Gallery At Startup" and quit/relaunch word. For me only took three bounces to load up word, I will compare it again after a restart next time.