Announcing Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office System

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We’re pleased to announce that Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system is expected to be released in the near future.  Although we aren’t yet announcing the exact release date, it will fall between February and April of 2009.

Historically, we have waited to communicate details about service packs until their release (or very shortly before).  As we communicated with SP3 for Office 2003 and SP1 for the 2007 Office System, we will be taking steps to increase transparency and visibility into the Office servicing model at the request of our customers.  To that end, we would like to start sharing some details into what will be included in SP2 for the 2007 Office system.  This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything included in this service pack and we will share more details prior to the final release, but we want to start communicating to customers what they should be aware of at a high level.

To be fair, this is not the first time we have talked about SP2.  Several months ago, we announced that we’ll be further demonstrating our increased commitment to interoperability by including support for Open Document Format (ODF), XML Paper Specification (XPS), and Portable Document Format (PDF) in SP2.  In addition to those file format additions, some other highlights that you’ll find in SP2 include:

For Office Desktop Programs:

· Improved Outlook Calendaring Reliability

· Improved Outlook Performance

· Enabling Object Model support for Charts in PowerPoint and Word

· Improved cryptographic functionality by supporting all cryptographic algorithms offered by the operating system

· Improved functionality in Excel’s charting mechanism

· Ability to ungroup SmartArt graphics (and as a result, the ability to add animations to them in PowerPoint)

· Ability for Visio to export UML models to an XML file compliant with the XMI standard

· Tool that enables the uninstall of Office client Service Packs

For Servers:

· Performance and manageability improvements to variations in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages

· Improvements around processing status approvals from Office Project Web Access into Office Project Professional 2007

· Improvements to read-only content databases and index rebuild timer jobs in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

In the coming weeks, individual product teams across Office will begin updating their blogs and highlighting some of the specific work that they’ve included in SP2.  You can find the links to some of the blogs at the end of the post.

In the next few days we will also invite a select set of Office enterprise customers to a private SP2 beta.  From these customers we hope to gather great feedback about the service pack, including areas that we’ll need to improve upon before we release it to the general public.  Based on the success of the SP2 beta program and customer needs, we will certainly evaluate whether to expand this in the future.

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