Office 2007 Update Due in Spring

Microsoft said via a company blog Wednesday that Service Pack 2 (SP2) of Office 2007 will ship between February and April of next year.

The software maker had already said that SP2 will introduce support for the Open Document Format (ODF) used by Office's chief competitor, OpenOffice.org, the Portable Document Format (PDF) created by Adobe Systems Inc., and its own XML Paper Specification (XPS) that is meant to compete with PDF.

The Office Sustained Engineering blog confirmed those features, and some others:

A more reliable calendar and faster performance for Outlook 2007;

Improvements to Excel 2007's charting;

Enabling Object Model support for charts in PowerPoint 2007 and Word 2007;

An uninstallation tool for Office 2007 service packs;

Improvements to server editions of Office 2007.

This is in contrast to SP1 of Office 2007, released last December, which mostly provided bug fixes rather than new features.

Office 2007 was released to businesses in November 2006, the same time as Windows Vista, with shipments to consumers and small businesses in January the following year.

Office 2007 was far different than prior versions, using a new "Ribbon" interface. Despite the risk of customer rejection, Office 2007 has been widely considered a sales and marketing success, unlike Vista.

Microsoft said it plans to divulge more details in Office blogs in the next few weeks. It will also begin inviting Office enterprise customers to a private SP2 beta in the next few days, which may or may not turn into a public one.

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