Enable retina text in Office for Mac 2011

The MD of one of our best clients recently bought himself a retina screened MacBook Pro - his first Mac. He loves it but he was on the point of going back to a Windows laptop for one reason: he spends a fair amount of time each day working with Excel spreadsheets. He showed us the non-retina text rendering of Office for Mac 2011 and we understood immediately why it was such a big deal to him. The blurred text in tiny speadsheet cells made for a wretched and painful user experience.

We’re not an IT support company but sometimes we are able to help out. Converting to Numbers wasn’t a viable option, the client has too many complex spreadsheets integral to their business processes which are shared with customers and suppliers. The initial information we found online wasn’t promising with many posts complaining about lack of retina screen support. A couple of posts gave us hope and we found a simple solution: upgrade to the latest version.

Automatic upgrades are not always automatic

According to this Microsoft support post Office for Mac has supported retina devices since version 14.2.4 but our client was running an older version. We then found Microsoft AutoUpdate for Mac, following instructions in another support article we confirmed that AutoUpdate was enabled but not working.

The solution was simple: manually click the Check for Updates button. It indicated that AutoUpdate itself needed updating. Once complete we manually checked for updates again, AutoUpdate found the latest version, installed it, and Office for Mac now has crisp retina text rendering.

N.B. if necessary you can download AutoUpdate for Mac direct from Microsoft.