More details and a cautionary note on the coming Office 2007 update.
As Office Watch suggested last week, Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will be released to the public on 28 April – less than two weeks away.
The main contents of SP2 has been announced in the past:
- Integrated Save to PDF and XPS (instead of the free add-in necessary now)
- Support for the OpenDocument formats as well as Microsoft’s OpenXML formats.
- Improved performance and stability for Outlook 2007 (once you’ve waited for some time after applying SP2).
- Access reports can be exported to Excel
- An uninstall option for the Service Pack.
This last point is important and long overdue. Up to now the only way to uninstall an Office Service Pack was to uninstall Office entirely and re-install it up to, but without, the unwanted Service Pack. You’ll need a separate uninstall application (instead of going to the Control Panel) but nonetheless it’s a welcome addition to the Service Packs.
On 28 April, Microsoft will also release a longer list of Service Pack 2 fixes and additions – we can only hope this list won’t have the mysterious items of past SP’s which have been about as useful as the Delphic oracle.
Better to Wait
As we’ve said many times before, and will say again I’m sure …
We normally suggest that Office users delay updating their computers for a few weeks after an Office Service Pack is released.
Microsoft has a patchy record with Office Service Packs and sometimes there are traps for those eager to update. Many Office 2003 users were caught by some‘features’ in Office 2003 Service Pack 3, some of which had to be reversed later.
It usually takes Microsoft a few weeks, at least, to admit publicly any problems with a Service Pack. So best to wait until Microsoft comes clean.
Service Pack 2 changes
Office Watch has previewed the main Office 2007 Service Pack 2 changes with screen shots already.
Here’s the partial Service Pack 2 fix / update list given by Microsoft. It is broken into fixes for the desktop applications (Microsoft Office) and updates for related server technologies.
Changes that impact desktop applications
- Service Pack 2 adds the ability to open, edit and save documents in version 1.1 of the OpenDocument Format for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These applications now let users save, open, and edit files as OpenDocument Text (*.odt), OpenDocument Spreadsheet (*.ods), and OpenDocument Presentations (*.odp).
- The 2007 Microsoft Office Service Pack 2 is the first service pack to support uninstall of client updates through the Microsoft Service Pack Uninstall Tool for the 2007 Microsoft Office Suite as well as via Windows Installer command line. The Service Pack Uninstall Tool will be available as a separate download.
- Save As PDF/XPS support has been built into the SP2 of these Office applications. Users no longer have to download the add-in separately.
- When many graphic objects are present performance has been improved.
- In many scenarios, expect increased print fidelity of graphical objects.
- Improved interoperability using standard DrawingML markup to describe the visual properties of the SmartArt graphic.
The 2007 Office Suite SP2 has been tested and is supported for Internet Explorer 8. Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows 7 and Windows Server R2 will all be supported upon their release.
- The ability to export reports to Excel has been added.
- Fixes for issues with the import data wizards, report printing and previewing, macros, Excel integration, and date filters.
Updates to Access Developer Extensions are now included in SP2.
- The charting mechanism has improved robustness and targeted performance improvements.
- A chart object model has been added to Word and PowerPoint.
- Improved printing of graphical content, especially on PCL printers.
- Improved form tools.
- Synchronization reliability has been improved.
- Increased compatibility between InfoPath forms and other Microsoft products, such as Groove and Outlook.
- SharePoint synchronization has been improved which helps reduce the load on SharePoint servers and produce fewer errors.
- Performance in startup, shutdown, view rendering, and folder switch has been improved.
- Calendar updates, search, and RSS are more reliable.
- The object model has been improved.
- Resaving of files is faster.
- Several printer-specific problems have been fixed.
- The Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model has been more fully integrated.
- The scheduling engine, Active Cache, and Gantt charts all have improvements.
- There is additional reliability with earlier versions of the .mpp format.
- Fixes have been made in the following areas: print preview, compatibility with Internet Explorer 8, e-mail on Windows Vista, and saving to the Content library.
- Improved compatibility with other Microsoft products in several key scenarios, such as inserting Visio drawings as linked objects in PowerPoint or Word, exporting reports to Excel, and saving drawings as Web pages for browsing in Internet Explorer 8.
- Fidelity of PDF and XPS output has been enhanced.
- Fuller integration of the Microsoft Office Excel Chart Object Model.
Changes that impact the server products
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 SP2 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server SP2 include fixes and enhancements designed to improve performance, availability, and stability in your server farms. SP2 provides the groundwork for future major releases of SharePoint Products and Technologies.
- An STSADM command line that scans your server farm to establish whether it is ready for upgrade to the next version of SharePoint and provides feedback and best practice recommendations on your current environment.
- SP2 offers support for standards-based documents formats and compatibility with a broader range of Web browsers.
- Substantial improvements to Forms-based authentication.
Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server R2 will be supported on their release.
Enterprise Content Management (ECM)
·The performance and stability of content deployment and variations feature has been improved.
·A new tool has been added to the STSADM command-line utility that enables a SharePoint administrator to scan sites that use the variations feature for errors.
Excel and Access Services
·SP2 makes it easier to configure Excel Web Access Web parts on new sites. Several rendering, calculation, and security issues have been resolved.
·Some display issues have been addressed.
·Improved compatibility with Mozilla Firefox browsers.
·Groove Server 2007 Manager will install and run with SQL 2008.
·Groove’s LDAP connectivity and auto-activation functionality have been improved.
·Error reporting in the Groove Relay Server has improved significantly.
·Groove Relay Server has improved robustness.
·Memory requirements and the page load times for large browser-rendered forms have been reduced.
·Browser rendering of various controls, such as the ‘cannot be blank’ asterisk and the rich text field has been improved.
·Better memory management in the queue service.
·Performance to certain database table indexes is improved
·Resource plans, build team, cost resources, and the server scheduling engine have improved.
·Improvements to the reliability and stability of very large corpus crawls.
·Backup-restore has been improved.
·A new command has been introduced to the stsadm.exe tool that lets a SharePoint Administrator to tune the Query processor multiplier parameter.
·Improved accuracy in searches involving numbers.
- Office Service Pack 2 A Significant Stability, Performance and Interoperability Upgrade
- Word 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- PowerPoint 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- Outlook 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- OneNote 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- Excel 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- Access 2007 Service Pack 2 – the official fix list
- Office 2007 SP2 – changes and problems
- Office 2007 SP2 – list of fixes
- Office 2007 Service Pack coming in April
- Office Service Pack leaked
- Long time waiting after Outlook patch
- Traps in Office 2003 Service Pack 3