Office 2007 Service Pack 2 - some time on

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A look at the progress of Office 2007 SP2 – bugs fixed or not.

It has been over a month since Office 2007 Service Pack 2 was released.  Here’s a look


Outlook 2007 won’t start

We mentioned reports of Outlook 2007 not starting after SP2 was installed.

Those initial reports appear to be a problem with SP2 and the Citrix System Monitoring Agent Service on a Citrix Terminal Server setup. Check out this forum thread.

However we now have other reports of non-starting Outlook 2007 SP2 on stand-alone machines. So it would seem there’s more than one problem in this area.


Server products expire

A truly embarrassing bug in Service Pack 2 for



  • SharePoint Server 2007
  • Project Server 2007
  • Search Server 2008
  • Search Server 2008 Express
  • Forms Server 2007

Applying the SP2 patch effectively cancels your license for the products and put them back in ‘Trial’ mode. That gives you 180 days from when you installed SP2 to fix the license problem.

Microsoft has details of the fix here – note carefully the ‘more information’ section when you have more than one of the affected products on the same machine.


ODF problems

Office 2007 only supports ODF 1.1 documents while OpenOffice v3 recommends ODF 1.2.

That doesn’t mean Office 2007 SP2 won’t open ODF v1.2 documents (except worksheets, see below) but it does mean there’s a greater risk of compatibility problems. When you save the document it will be saved in ODF 1.1 format with possible loss of information.

As with all document conversions – the more complex the document formatting, the more likely there will be conversion problems. Don’t expect full document fidelity with any document conversion.


ODF worksheet problems

The main problem with OpenDocument support in Office 2007 is worksheets. The differences between ODF v1.1 and ODF v1.2 are very significant for worksheets.

If you open an OpenDocument worksheet (.ods) using the v1.2 system, Excel 2007 will ignore the formulas and use the last calculated value for each cell. Obviously that’s effectively makes the worksheet useless.

Amazingly, there is no standard for spreadsheet formulas. Even simple formulas like IF() or TODAY() can vary in the details of how they work, let alone more complex formulas. ODF v1.2 is partly aimed at addressing that problem.

Aside from that major hassle there are some other issues that the fault of the ODF format – it’s the varying capabilities of the software.

For example, the number of rows – OpenOffice Calc software is limited to 64,000 rows while Excel 2007 has an upper limit of a million rows. Worksheets saved in ODS will include all the rows but OpenOffice Calc can’t open them if they exceed the software limitations.


Save as PDF/XPS is lost after uninstall

If you uninstall Service Pack 2 (SP2 is the first Office SP that allows direct uninstall of the patch) you’ll also lose the ‘Save as PDF/XPS’ which is considered an add-in for Office 2007 and Office 2007 SP1.

The fix is simple. Either choose ‘Repair’ from Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs (or equivalent in your version of Windows) for Microsoft Office 2007, or download the small add-in from Microsoft and re-apply it.


Excel chart axis problems

Microsoft is reporting a problem with Excel charts when the primary and secondary axis settings are different. The labels overlap when you open that chart in Excel 2007 with SP2.

The fix is to change the secondary axis to display left to right.


Extra ‘Add/Remove Program’ entries

For reasons that defy sense (or apparently explanation) updated help files are not included in the main Service Pack 2 updates. The help files have to be downloaded separately we have details here.

If you’ve installed SP2 but not the help files, the may be some anomalies in the Add/Remove Programs list in Windows.


Outlook 2007 SP2 help arrives

When Service Pack 2 was released there were also new help files for all parts of Office 2007 with the notable exception of Outlook 2007. At the time we called the Outlook 2007 help files ‘missing in action‘.

In early June the Outlook help files (user and developer) finally appeared here.

No reason or apology has been given for the five week delay.

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