I downloaded the trial of Max 2008 to see if it something my squad could use and I have been trying some modeling. Using some Max 7 tutorials and the help file I have been trying apply a bitmap to a plane as a guide for modelling. I have done everything according to help files but when I put the bitmap into the Material editor, the button to apply the material to an object never becomes active. Is there a trick to getting a bitmap onto a plane in 2008 that differs from earlier versions? I know this is probably a basic question but this is my first step into the 3D realm.
Have you tried dragging the material on the sphere in the material editor directly to the object? I'm not sure about your problem, if you couldn't see the material showing I would say you don't have enable material in viewport selected, but this option should work for now.