Microsoft Releases Office 2007 Service Pack 1 Early

Update focuses on stability, performance, and security

A year after its initial release, Microsoft today announced it is shipping the first Service Pack for Office 2007. Office System Service Pack 1, originally expected in early 2008, improves stability, performance, and security, according to Office product manager Reed Shaffner.

“SP1 provides stability and performance improvements across the 2007 Office system, keying in on customers’ leading productivity concerns, and beefs up security precautions to stay ahead of the latest threats from malicious software and other risks,” Shaffner noted.

The update addresses both client and server products. The company says it has fixed, at a minimum, the five top bugs in each Office 2007 application that cause a crash. For example, Excel 2007 will no longer stop responding in “some instances when opening a workbook containing calculations.” The “instances” were not specified. Outlook 2007 will no longer close unexpectedly when the junk rule is set to “null.”

Dozens of bug fixes are included in the update. For example, a serious display error that occurred when Excel showed calculation results between 65,524 and 65,536 is fixed. (One example provided on an MSDN blog explained that the formula =77.1*850 displayed 100,000 instead of the correct result, 65,535.)

Among the notable fixes: correcting problems opening large mail files in Outlook 2007, properly enabling Word users to open and edit embedded objects that contain other embedded objects, the ability to open PowerPoint presentations from e-mail attachments in Office Outlook Web Access, and proper display of the Modified Date function in search results from SharePoint Server 2007.

“Crashes are one of the most frustrating experiences customers have, and the team worked hard with SP1 to make our products more stable. We’ve also included most of the previously-released hotfixes that also help reduce the incidence of crashes in Office applications.”

Performance improvements include faster searches thanks to improved indexing in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and shorter delays opening large mailbox files in Outlook. The Service Pack also includes support for AJAX deployments, which Shaffner says should help developers create custom Web Parts.

Information on security improvements was vague. The company said only that “Service Pack 1 incrementally improves security in the 2007 Office release by incorporating the latest security research and responding to ongoing application testing results.”

SharePoint Server 2007 has been updated to be compatible with Microsoft Windows Server 2008. SP1 updates all applications within the core Office suite: Access, Excel, Groove, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. It affects all Office suites and will be provided in over 35 languages.

SP1 is available through Microsoft’s Download Center, Microsoft Update, or (for Windows XP users only) Office Update. It can be downloaded from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/default.aspx; customers can also order a CD at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx.

A white paper detailing all enhancements is available at http://office.microsoft.com/search/redir.aspx?AssetID=AM102512381033.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).