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Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 11:00 am PT (02:00 pm ET)

Microsoft issues first update to Office 2008 for Mac

Microsoft on Tuesday released the first update to Office 2008 for Mac in the form of a maintenance and security patch which the company is recommending for all users of the relatively new productivity suite.

"The Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update [114.1MB] contains several changes that improve security, stability, and performance," Microsoft wrote in a lengthy set of release notes. "These changes include fixes for users of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and include fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of a computer's memory by using malicious code."

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also outlined about a half dozen improvements to each of the suite's component applications. For instance, it said Word will no longer quit unexpectedly during launch or during spell check, and that blank pages are no longer printed when using a high resolution printer. Improvements to citation deletion and font substitution were also implemented.

Meanwhile, Excel will also see improvements that will also prevent unexpected quits. In addition, the new version will feature more reliable ledger sheets, present better support for secondary displays, fix formatting issues for rotated text, and respond more reliably when receiving copy and pastes of linked data and charts.

For Entourage users, the update should improve IMAP connections to servers running IBM's Lotus Domino and synchronization with Exchange Server. It should also correct problems with notification sounds under Leopard, import rules, and the stability of Database Utility when used to rebuild large identity databases.

Rounding out the fixes in the Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update are those targeting the suite's presentation software, PowerPoint. After applying the update, users should experience faster launches of PowerPoint, better character spacing and layout, and improvements to saving files to an SMB network volume, as well as saving files in PowerPoint 97-2004 formats.

Tuesday update is the first for Office 2008 for Mac since the software launched in January at Macworld Expo.