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Microsoft refreshes Mac Office

Service Pack 1 fixes security flaws and updates applications

While the battle between Microsoft and Apple Computer for the nascent digital media market intensifies, Microsoft's Mac Business Unit has released a significant update for Office 2004 for Mac.

Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Office 2004 for Mac was released this week, and is available through the built-in AutoUpdate feature of the application. It is also available for direct online download. The release "addresses potential security issues and bugs" identified by customers.

Mac Business Unit group product manager, Scott Erickson, explains: "Our customers who use Office for Mac every day are a valuable resource because they put the product to the test in real-life scenarios that expand on our experiences in the lab."

Erickson is keen to stress his company's commitment to quality: "We strive too deliver the best possible product experience through extensive testing and by gathering customer feedback. This helps us determine issues to address within a service pack and to prioritise which improvements will make the most difference."

The company has added a built-in fault-reporting feature to its second-generation Mac OS X productivity product. This is called "Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol" (or MERP, for short). MERP exists to let customers report bugs to the company anonymously.

A host of improvements have been made across Microsoft's productivity applications.

In Word, AutoRecover now functions correctly when Mac OS X's FileVault feature is enabled.

Security has also been improved when opening documents including macros - Word, Excel, and PowerPoint now support an additional level of security that affects macros that open other Office documents containing macros. You can use the Application.AutomationSecurity property to set the level of security desired.

PowerPoint users can expect improved performance when they play movies within a slide show, better font compatibility and improved behaviour when dragging objects on a slide when the ruler is turned on.

Entourage also sees improvements, with improved connectivity, status displays and better support for emailing iPhoto files.


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