Microsoft has announced the new version of Office for Mac is on the way, and should be available during the second half of the year.

Office 2008 for Mac will be a universal binary, and should enable Mac users to work seamlessly across the Mac and Windows platform.

The company has included all new technologies like Office Art 2.0, which gives you the ability to add professional graphics quickly to documents, and a new user interface that introduces the Elements Gallery, which “emphasises discoverability” and gives quick access to frequently used tools.

The Elements Gallery also contains a new tool called Document Parts, which tries to simplify common tasks like adding headers and footers.

Several of the new features are Mac-only, like Publishing Layout View, to let users create documents like newsletter and brochures; Ledger Sheets, to make using Excel easy; and My Day, a standalone application that lets users track activities and their schedule.

As with Office 2007, Office 2008 for Mac will use the new open document standard, Office Open XML.

As yet, Microsoft hasn't announced pricing, but Office 2004 for Mac sells for around $400.