Software

Microsoft releases Service Pack 1 for Office 2008

On Tuesday, Microsoft released Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2008 for Mac, designed to add stability, security, and performance enhancements to the suite of office applications. The update features suite-wide fixes, as well as improvements to the individual applications that make up Office.

Microsoft says the service pack will improve performance when you type text into a text box, shape, or chart element. A more-intelligent Remove Office tool will no longer search for copies of Office in a Time Machine backup, while another fix provides for proper layer positioning with inserted PSD files.

Office 2004 applications could quit unexpectedly when users tried to copy content into them from an Office 2008 program; Service Pack 1 fixes this bug.

Word 2008 changes: Improvements to the word-processing application include a set of new business card templates that work in Publishing Layout view. Among the fixes to Word, the Service Pack will properly apply the Customize workspace background setting in Publishing Layout view and Notebook Layout view to new documents; correctly apply font formatting changes to content when you use the Repeat command; and allow characters such as hyphens to display correctly when the font formatting is changed to Small Caps. The update also fixes a number of problems with Notebook Layout View.

Excel 2008 changes: Service Pack 1 restores chart formatting options available in previous versions of Office and improves the spreadsheet program's ability to alert you to potential compatibility issues when you save the workbook in a file format compatible with previous versions of Excel (including Excel for Windows). Changes made when you move or resize the formula bar will now be retained. Microsoft also improved support for secondary displays.

PowerPoint 2008 changes: The presentation software now remembers when you fix a broken movie link and then save your file. In addition, the update fixes speed and stability issues when printing, while making it easier to see and drag static guides. Microsoft introduced a set of new AppleScript classes and commands for creating scripts that select and perform operations on selected objects. Users can also now apply transitions to slide masters.

Entourage 2008 changes: The update fixes a vCard bug that prevented Entourage from exporting cards without photos. It also improves Microsoft Sync Services stability, fixes problems with hyperlinks, gains an updated definition file for more effective junk e-mail filtering, and retains original received dates and times of imported messages. The e-mail client will now skip bad messages when it's connected to POP e-mail accounts so that it can continue to download remaining e-mail messages. The update prevents duplicate contacts and calendar events after syncing with an iPhone or iPod touch for the first time and now renders HTML signatures correctly.

Office 2008 SP1 will be available by noon PDT (3PM EDT) today as a download from Microsoft's Web site or via Microsoft Auto Update.

Service Pack 1 is the second update released by Microsoft since Office 2008's debut. In March, the company issued Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 which offered security and stability improvements for the productivity suite.

[Updated at 6:37AM PDT to say the update will be available later today.]

[Updated at 9:29AM PDT to clarify the update will be available by noon PDT time (3PM EDT) today.]

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