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Microsoft Corp. is offering customers greater choice and more flexibility among document formats, as well as creating additional opportunities for developer and competitors, by expanding the range of document formats supported in its flagship Office productivity suite. The 2007 Microsoft Office system already provides support for 20 different document formats within Microsoft Office Word, Office Excel and Office PowerPoint. With the release of Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2) scheduled for the first half of 2009, the list will grow to include support for XML Paper Specification (XPS), Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5, PDF/A and Open Document Format (ODF) v1.1.
A new flaw has opened up in Microsoft Excel, which could allow an attacker to compromise a remote user's computer. Microsoft warned this week that an attacker could use the vulnerability to create a malicious Excel file. Users who open an infected file would be subject to having their computer compromised. Users would need to download and open a malicious file for it to have any effect. Once opened, though, the attacker has the ability to remotely access the victim's PC, exposing personal data and other documents. This makes it a serious problem especially for businesses. The vulnerability affects the following versions of Excel: 2000, 2002, Viewer 2003, 2003 Service Pack 2, and Mac Excel 2004. So far Microsoft has not announced when it will be releasing a patch to fix the problem, but it has encouraged users who think they may have been attacked to contact its support line.Source: TG Daily
Microsoft Corp.’s Macintosh Business Unit today announced the official availability of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac at the Macworld Conference & Expo 2008. Office 2008 for Mac is significantly enhanced to provide a simplified user experience that helps beginners and longtime experts alike deliver professional documents that are compatible for co-workers and friends on Macs and PCs. The suite provides the Office tools Mac users rely on, with a Mac-like approach and style. In addition to Office 2008, the Mac BU Web site, Mactopia (http://www.microsoft.com/mac), features a dramatic transformation to provide an even more resourceful hub for all things Mac BU.
The 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 1 delivers important customer-requested stability and performance improvements, while incorporating further enhancements to user security. This service pack also includes all of the updates released for the 2007 Office suite prior to December of 2007. You can get a more complete description of SP1, including a list of issues that were fixed, in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 936982: Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office suite Service Pack 1. Service Pack 1 will install even if a publicly available update has already been installed on your computer. SP1 also includes stability improvements developed as a result of user input from the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis and from Microsoft Product Support feedback.
Microsoft today is beginning roll-out of the public beta of Office Live Workspace, a secure online workspace to which Office users can post Word, PowerPoint, Excel or PDF files directly from Office applications to work on remotely from virtually any web-connected PC and collaborate on with others.
Two weeks ago, an issue involving the calculation of numbers around 65,535 and 65,536 has been found in Microsoft Excel 2007. If you try to calculate "=850*77.1" in Excel 2007, it will display an incorrect value, but if you then multiply the result by 2, you will get the correct answer. As of today, fixes for this issue in Excel 2007 and Excel Services 2007 are available for download here. Microsoft is in the process of adding this fix to Microsoft Update so that it will get automatically pushed to users running Excel 2007 or Excel Services 2007. Additionally, the fix will also be contained in the first service pack of Office 2007 when it is released. The release date has not yet been finalized.Source: MSDN blog
In an attempt to counter the success of Google’s online office applications, Microsoft has just launched the beta of its new Office Live Workspace. The service allows users to share, collaborate and comment on Microsoft Office documents such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. However, unlike Google’s service, Microsoft requires that users own a copy of Microsoft Office in order to use the service, and users who wish to make changes will have to open their copy of Office and then upload any alterations once complete. The service is compatible with both Office 2003 and 2007 - if you want to take a look you can sign up for free by visiting the Office Live website. Microsoft has also renamed the current Office Live service to Office Live Small Business.Source: TG Daily
The Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) at Microsoft Corp. today announced at the Apple Expo in Paris its product lineup for the upcoming Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac release. The flagship product, Office 2008 for Mac, is the core suite that includes Microsoft Office Word 2008, Microsoft Office Excel 2008, Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2008 and Microsoft Office Entourage 2008 for exceptional productivity on the Mac.
Any techPowerUp! readers running Microsoft Office 2003 may be interested to know that Microsoft has just released the third service pack for the software. The main changes are as follows:
- Office 2003 can no longer open or save certain file formats. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938810.
- MAPI forms do not run in public folders and user folders. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938816.
- Office 2003 can now be configured to allow or deny specific COM components. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938815.
- Some COM components with unusual characteristics may not function as expected. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938814.
- Changes have been made to the behavior of Microsoft Office Document Imaging. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938813.
- Attachments with the .gadget extension can no longer be opened in Outlook. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938811.
- Access add-ins can no longer be configured for use by all users. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938809.
- The Fast Save setting in Microsoft Office Word has been removed. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938808.
- Documents saved in certain formats no longer contain the version number of Office. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938807.
- Certain macros in older Excel file formats have increased security. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938806.
Microsoft has released a new compatibility pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 file formats. This pack should allow Office 2000, XP or 2003 users to open, edit, and save documents, workbooks, and presentations using the Office 2007 format, which may be useful to people moving documents between work and home where different versions of Office are in use. Before you install the pack, make sure you have installed all high priority updates from Microsoft Update – you can download the 27.5MB pack here.Source: Microsoft
Microsoft today announced that it plans to expand its global reach (and presumably reduce piracy) by offing stripped down bundles of software including as Windows and Office for a mere $3 to people living in developing countries. Although in essence this is a non/low-profit project, Microsoft may be planning ahead by enabling poorer nations to grow using Windows instead of free alternatives such as Linux, a move which could expand its potential market for the future. The project, named Microsoft Unlimited Potential, would see the $3 software package (including Windows XP Starter Edition and Office 2007) being supplied to governments who could then distribute machines costing no more than $300, with students being Microsoft’s main aim. This news comes after figures show that just 244 copies of Windows Vista have been sold in China, and should, alongside the One Laptop Per Child project, help poorer countries developed improved IT infrastructures.Source: The New York Times
As some of you know, there are already plenty of things out there that can harm a computer through Word 2007. Microsoft already thought through this, and added some software that automatically detects when Microsoft Word 2007 is being exploited, and shuts it down. However, this software also will shut down Word 2007 if it detects a Word document that it cannot read. While your computer is safer at the end of the day, there certainly is irony in how Word 2007 stops itself from crashing by, well, crashing.Source: The Inquirer
Australian professors at the University of NSW have done some significant PowerPoint research. If you ever get bored watching a PowerPoint presentation while someone is talking, then you're not alone, and there's a scientific reason behind this. Scientists have discovered that people learn best when given media on paper or verbal media. A combination of the two tends to cause a brain overload, mixes the two forms of information, and can hurt a lot more than it can help. This is due to the fact that the brain can only handle two or three tasks at once, and otherwise will start to budget time away from some tasks to help others Professor Sweller says that "It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."
Google already has Docs and Spreadsheets – free web based software which lets you create word processed documents and spreadsheets - but now it is planning to add presentation software to this mini office-suite. The information, which was discovered by accident, suggests Google is set to add Presently to it’s web-based line up sometime in the future, which should be able to create online slide shows. This will essentially complete the basic applications in Google’s office equivalent, and should be free to anyone who has an account with Google.Source: eWEEK
Security firm iDefense has found a "Merry Christmas" Powerpoint presentation that comes with a nasty surprise- a trojan. E-mails with the following subject and attachment are very likely to be a security risk:
Subject: Merry Christmas to our hero sons and daughters!Ken Dunham, of iDefense, says that this attack is similar to other exploits of Microsoft products throughout the years, and that the attacks are based on a remote server in China. If you think you may have caught the trojan, the two files that it installs are msupdate.dll and sdfsc.dll.Source: The Inquirer
Internal sources within Microsoft have hinted that Office 2007 Ultimate Edition are suggested to retail around £600. Considering that (after factoring in the exchange rate) copies of Office 2007 Ultimate Edition are suggested to retail around £357, Microsoft is charging UK customers 68% more for the same product. However, Microsoft claims that it is not to blame for the increased costs for UK customers. A spokesman for Microsoft says:
It's up to our partners to set the pricing. We're not allowed to fix prices - that would be illegal.Microsoft is also blaming exchange rate, regional taxation and different channels of retail distribution for the increased cost to the UK.Source: PC Pro