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Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Microsoft releases new updates for Office 2004, 2008 for Mac

Microsoft on Tuesday evening released a new update for Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac that bundles a number changes aimed at improving the overall stability and performance of the new productivity suite. Separately, it issued a patch for Office 2004 for Mac that allows the older software to support documents saved by newer versions of Office.

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.1 Update

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.1 Update [153MB English] arrives a little more than a month after the Redmond, Wash.-based company first began to fortify the software suite with the release of Service Pack 1 (SP1). The new patch delivers better preservation of formatting in Word documents, improved reliability when working with Excel files, enhanced performance of PowerPoint, and a more stable version of Entourage.

Specifically, Microsoft said Word now preserves macros and multiple spaces between words in documents that were created in or saved by Word 2008 for Mac or by Microsoft Office Word 2007. It also fixes an issue that prevents Microsoft Word 2008 for Mac SP1 from opening Word documents downloaded from the Web. Other improvements to Word include better preservation of items in Notebook layout, font sizes in tables, and dates in charts.

Similarly, Excel has also gained a fix that will now allow documents downloaded from the Web to open correctly when double-clicked. The spreadsheet application also sports improved reliability of chart updates, reference links, and formula calculations and edits. Another fix targets an issue that caused Excel 2008 to reject the entry of international decimal separators in some Error Amount entry boxes.

Meanwhile, PowerPoint was updated with a fix to an issue that caused the presentation software to take a long time to open files that rely on the "DFP" family of fonts, while Entourage gained a fix to an issue that caused the email and personal information management application to quit unexpectedly when a Mac was being woken up from sleep.

Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update

Separately on Tuesday, Microsoft also issued Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update [59MB English], which improves compatibility when using documents that were created in Office 2008 for Mac and in 2007 Office for Windows.

For users who've installed the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, this update enables Office 2004 for Mac to read and to write Office documents that are in Open XML Format. The update also improves stability, Microsoft said.

Also on Tuesday, AppleInsider reported that Microsoft's Mac Business Unit has kicked off the largest hiring spree in its history as it prepares to accelerate development of a new wave of software products for Mac users.