Microsoft plans to release before the end of the year the third and likely final service pack (SP) for Office 2007 before the product exists mainstream support in April 2012.
(Given Microsoft is referring to SP3 as the "October 2011 release," I'm thinking it probably will be out this month.)
"Service Pack 3 contains a roll-up of all 2007 Cumulative and Public Updates since Service Pack 2 for both Office client suites and applications as well as SharePoint Servers, in addition to some new fixes for issues discovered during the lifecycle of SP2," according to an October 6 post on the Microsoft Office Updates blog. Users who are up-to-date with Automatic Updates for Office 2007 already have installed most of what's coming in SP3, Microsoft officials said.
"SP3 is much smaller than 2007 SP1, SP2 or the recently released 2010 SP1. We will provide documentation detailing the changes and the affected packages on TechNet," company officials said. And unlike the case with Office 2010 SP1, customers won't be asked to deploy the accompanying Cumulative Update at the same time as the coming SP3.
SP3 will include changes in the following areas, according to Microsoft:
Office Client 2007 Suites
Office SharePoint 2007 Servers
Office SharePoint Search Server 2007
Office SharePoint Designer 2007
Office Project 2007
Office Visio 2007
Office Proofing tools 2007
Calendar Printing Assistant for Outlook 2007
Office InterConnect 2007
Office Compatibility Pack
Office Servers Language Pack
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0
Office Access Runtime and Data Connectivity Components
The planned SP3 rollout will follow the usual procedures: "Initially SP3 will be offered through the Microsoft Download Center as a manual download, through Microsoft Update as an Optional update. No earlier than 90 days after release, we will convert SP3 to an Automatic Update for our 2007 customers," the Softies said.
Microsoft is advising Windows customers on Office 2003 (or earlier) who are considering upgrading to a new version of Office to go to Office 2010 rather than Office 2007, given that Office 2010 will continue to offer free mainstream support until 2015.
Microsoft released SP2 for Office 2007 in April 2009.