Grading MS Office 2007's Service Pack 2
A major update to Microsoft Office 2007 - Service Pack 2, a free download that promises to fix bugs, improve performance and add a few new features in the company's growing bundle of productivity applications - officially made its debut last week.
What were the results?
Perhaps the headlining attraction of Office 2007 SP2 comes in the form of the network support it adds for some important, non-Microsoft file formats.
It can read and write Open Document Format files, which may help Office users share files with people running the sometimes-unimpressive, but always free and open source OpenOffice.org.
Office 2007 SP2 also lets users save a copy of their work as a Portable Document Format file - a helpful feature that the manufacturer had unwisely required people to install an optional add-on to use before.
This update should arrive automatically if you use Windows' Microsoft Update option, or you can download the 290-megabyte file yourself.
According to some Fort Lauderdale computer repair professionals, installing the Service Pack 2 on a Windows XP desktop running the "Standard" edition of Office took several minutes and required a restart.
After that was completed, opening OpenOffice 3 documents in Microsoft's suite yielded mostly positive results - most looked about right, with only the occasional misaligned graphic or indent, but nothing glaring.
However, the OpenOffice spreadsheets opened in Excel have resulted in more problems for users - formulas vanishing from cells, replaced by the last number OpenOffice had calculated in those spots, to name one common example.
A blog post by an ODF developer did acknowledge that the ODF spec "does not yet specify formulas." This is a rather significant omission that Ft. Lauderdale consumers should be aware of before they realize, too late, that there is something wrong with their spreadsheet(s).