Office for Mac 2008 Service Pack 1 Out Today; Visual Basic Coming Back to Macs

Today Microsoft is hooking up all Office for Mac 2008 users with Service Pack 1. The company is also announcing the return of Visual Basic for Applications—in the next version, though, so no specified date yet. Hey, at least they heard your concerns, right? Here's a link to the SP1 download, which is said to provide "increased stability, security and performance enhancements to the suite." After the jump, there's a press release with details on all the particular bug fixes.

Microsoft Mac BU Delivers Strongest Launch in History of Office for Mac

Group releases Service Pack 1, announces the return of Visual Basic for Applications in next version.

REDMOND, Wash. — May 13, 2008 — Microsoft Corp.'s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today announced details about the success of Office 2008 for Mac and reaffirms its commitment to future products for the Mac. Office 2008 launched at Macworld Expo 2008, and sales for the productivity suite continue to soar, selling faster than any previous version of Office for Mac in the past 19 years. The Mac BU developed Office 2008 to help Mac users simplify their work with a Mac-like interface, tools to easily create professional documents, and, most notably, the most cross-platform compatible suite on the market for the Mac. The Mac BU today is releasing Service Pack 1 (SP1) that provides increased stability, security and performance enhancements to the suite. The group also is providing a glimpse at the road map of Office for Mac by announcing the return of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in the next version.

"The response has been amazing — since we launched in January, the velocity of sales for Office 2008 is nearly three times what we saw after the launch of Office 2004," said Craig Eisler, general manager of the Mac BU at Microsoft. "As we set our course for future versions, we are working closely with customers and will also expand our staff to ensure that Office for Mac remains the most powerful and compatible productivity suite for Mac customers."

Office 2008 for Mac Gets Updates Requested by Users

The Mac BU consistently seeks and uses customer feedback to identify, prioritize and then improve its products through beta programs in pre-release stages. The team looks to user forums and tools such as the Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol (MERP), which allows customers to anonymously communicate issue reports, once a product is launched. With the launch of SP1, the Mac BU is addressing the top issues as reported by customers via MERP and other feedback channels. Office 2008 for Mac SP1 features key suitewide updates for increased stability, increased security and overall performance improvements. Users also will find application-specific updates, including the following:

Microsoft Office Excel

· Compatibility. Improved compatibility with files exchanged between Excel 2008 for Mac and Excel 2003 and Excel 2007 for Windows

· Custom Error Bars. Restored formatting option on the Error Bars panel for data series

· Printing. More reliable printing for elements on Excel 2008 workbooks

Microsoft Entourage

· Calendar. Significant enhancements to improve calendar view and all-day reminders with reoccurrence

· Exchange Server support. Overall improvement to synchronization support, including removing attachments from Exchange Server messages and synchronizing to the server, as well as support for editing the contents of Exchange Server messages via AppleScript and synchronizing the changes to the server

· E-mail images. Ability to send and view images in Entourage from third-party tools

Microsoft Office Word

· Printing. Improved accuracy when orienting tables with cell shading

· Document map. Improved reliability and responsiveness to select items

· Notebook layout. Updated formatting, recording status and a variety of display options

Microsoft Office PowerPoint

· Printing. Improvements to eliminate crashing when printing documents to high-dpi printers and increased overall printing speed by 10 times on some large presentations

· Mobile viewing. Ability to view Mac .PPTX files on Windows Mobile phones

· AppleScript. Ability to use the PowerPoint selection object in AppleScript to implement custom scripts that operate on the current selection in PowerPoint

Customers can download the update for free at http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.mspx1, and it will be also available from Microsoft Auto Update.

VBA Returns to Future Versions of Office for Mac

The Mac BU also announced it is bringing VBA-language support back to the next version of Office for Mac. Sharing information with customers as early as possible continues to be a priority for the Mac BU to allow customers to plan for their software needs.2 Although the Mac BU increased support in Office 2008 with alternate scripting tools such as Automator and AppleScript — and also worked with MacTech Magazine to create a reference guide, available at http://www.mactech.com/vba-transition-guide — the team recognizes that VBA-language support is important to a select group of customers who rely on sharing macros across platforms. The Mac BU is always working to meet customers' needs and already is hard at work on the next version of Office for Mac.