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Office 2003 SP1 Available

Microsoft on Tuesday posted Office 2003 Service Pack 1, a collection of bug fixes for all the Office applications as well as feature enhancements for OneNote, InfoPath, Outlook and Access.

The company has been using the information from its error reporting pop-up boxes that confront Office users whenever an Office application crashes to devote engineering resources to the most common problems. In the past, Microsoft officials have said that "Watson" technology has shown that the majority of crashes are caused by a small number of bugs.

OneNote 2003, a new application primarily for taking notes on Tablet PCs, received several feature enhancements in SP1. With the service pack, OneNote now allows users to insert Office documents directly into OneNote, to import meeting details from Outlook 2003, to create Outlook 2003 contacts or appointments and to publish pages to Word 2003. Among other improvements, the application also now is capable of supporting video and synching it with typed or handwritten notes.

InfoPath 2003, an Office application for developing solutions and end-user interfaces for XML solutions, also came in for several enhancements in SP1. There is now improved support for developer-oriented features including using managed code, digital signatures and form sharing via e-mail. For end users, InfoPath has additional handwriting support for Tablet PCs, better support for e-mail attachments and improvements to digital signature functionality.

SP1 is supposed to build on the spam controls in Outlook 2003 with better management of incoming international messages and allowing movement of messages to the junk mail folder based on the sender's country suffix or character encoding. SP1 also includes support for automatically adding names of e-mail recipients to the Safe Sender list.

The service pack is available for download at www.microsoft.com/office/.

While not part of the service pack, Microsoft also announced the availability of tools and documentation for converting existing Access databases to Access 2003. The Access Conversion Toolkit is available at www.microsoft.com/Office/Access/prodinfo/default.mspx.

Office 2003 originally shipped in October. Microsoft had planned to get the first service pack out by late last month.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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