updated 03:05 am EDT, Tue May 13, 2008
Office 2008 SP1 unveiled
The Microsoft Mac Business Unit on Tuesday announced the release of Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack 1, a major update that provides increased stability, security, and performance enhancements, as well as an update for the former 2004 version. The update culminates several months worth of feedback from the Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol tool into optimization and improvements. Microsoft is posting the download on its website, but says it is also available through Microsoft Auto Update.
Excel's compatibility with files exchanged between 2008 for Mac, 2003, and 2007 for Windows has been enhanced, and error bars can be formatted through the Error Bars panel. Printing from Excel 2008 workbooks is also more reliable.
Microsoft Entourage's calendar was also improved, with increased reliability for reoccurring reminders on all-day events, and calendar views. Exchange synchronization support is enhanced, allowing users to remove attachments from Exchange Server messages. Synchronicity and editing message contents via AppleScript have all been optimized.
Printing from Word 2008 now features improved accuracy when orienting tables with cell shading, while the document map offers increased reliability and responsiveness. Notebook layout mode provides users with updated formatting, recording status, and several display options.
Lastly, PowerPoint's printing engine was also refined, resolving crashing issues when used with high-DPI printers, while also improving print speeds by up to 10 times on larger presentations. Windows Mobile compatibility with Mac .PPTX files was added, as well as the ability to use the PowerPoint selection object in AppleScript for implementing custom scripts.
In addition to Service Pack 1, Microsoft is offering users a glimpse of its product roadmap for Office 2008 and beyond. Microsoft will bring Visual Basic for Applications back to the Mac platform in a future revision of Office, in addition to the current Automator and AppleScript support initiatives. The move comes from Microsoft in recognition that users require cross-platform macro compatibility, since Windows users can not use the previously mentioned scripting methods.
Update The SP1 update will be available by noon PST.