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Microsoft updates Mac Office 2008, 2004

Redmond pushes security fixes for users of the older Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, while owners of the recently released Office 2008 receive a large dose of stability fixes (more like instability fixes) and security patches.
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Written by David Morgenstern, Rest in Peace on

Redmond pushes security fixes for users of the older Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, while owners of the recently released Office 2008 receive a large dose of stability fixes (more like instability fixes) and security patches.

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit informed us via the corporate blog in late February that the first Office 2008 for Mac update would arrive on Tuesday and it did. The download page can be found here.

There's a long list of fixes in the Knowledge Base article about the Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update. Here are some of the highlights:

Security. Aside from the patches for malicious code attacks, the update fixes an important security hole for Macs with multiple users such as found in computer labs.

This update fixes an issue that could give a local user who does not have administrator permissions access Office 2008 program files. This issue occurs when the non-administrative user account was assigned User ID (uid) 502. This issue affects only computers that have more than one local user account, and primarily affects environments, such as public computer labs and workplace networks, where access to program files is restricted.

Word. A handful of bugs were quashed including one that screwed up fonts when opening documents on PowerPC-based Macs.

The update also fixes a bug that caused Word 2008 to crash "unexpectedly when you try to start it." This is different than the times it crashes when you start it and you expect it to crash.

Excel. Redmond fixed a bunch of problems related to copying and pasting data from Excel to other programs as well as an issue that would update the data in charts that were pasted into Word files or PowerPoint presentations.

In addition, the WORKDAY function now calculates correctly.

This update fixes an issue that causes the WORKDAY function to return incorrect results when calculated on a sheet that uses the 1904 date system. The 1904 date system is the default date system for new sheets in Excel for Mac.

According to this discussion, the same bug can be found in Excel 2007 for Windows.

PowerPoint. Reliability on PowerPC computers is improved, the article said, particularly in presentations that linked to audio.

When a PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx) file that contains a link to a sound file is saved in the PowerPoint 97-2004 Presentation (.ppt) file format, this issue may cause the file to become corrupted and unreadable. When you try to open a file that is affected by this issue, you receive the following error message: There was an error accessing path_to_file. File cannot be opened.

Entourage. Lots of fixes here. One that caught my attention was about syncing with Exchange servers.

This update improves synchronization support for users of Exchange accounts by reducing instances of duplicate or missing calendar events and by providing more consistency with changes to the calendar on the Exchange server. Additionally, this update fixes an issue that prevents some Entourage 2008 users from synchronizing their contact list together with the Exchange server.

Sounds familiar.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.4.1 Update patches a couple of security holes.

Speaking of Office 2004, the Mac BU blog said the final version of the Open XML File Format Converter Update to Office 2004 for Mac is delayed until late June. It was supposed to be out late last month. The beta version is still available.

I noticed that one of the downloads on the site tried to get me to download Silverlight for Mac. Maybe even the version 2.0 beta, but I canceled it before I really looked closely. If you've never seen it, Silverlight is Microsoft's mulitplatform rich media technology, aka "Flash killer."

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