Microsoft Fixes Office Flaws Found in Patch Tuesday Updates

Microsoft today issued a fix for a problem in its Outlook 2007 email client caused by an update that shipped two weeks ago.

It was the second time in the last six days that Microsoft patched bugs introduced in Office applications by updates it issued April 12.

"After installing the April 2011 Public Update, some Outlook 2007 users reported difficulty with print previewing messages," Microsoft acknowledged in a post to its Office Updates blog. "To correct this issue, we have issued a public hotfix which you can download and install."

Although not a security update, the original Outlook 2007 fix appeared on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's monthly roll-out of bug updates. The April 12 update for Outlook was described as offering "stability and performance improvements."

Users quickly began reporting problems after installing the Outlook 2007 update, with some saying that they could no longer send or receive mail , while others claimed that they could not print.

Microsoft pulled the update from its Windows Update service. "This update was recalled by Microsoft and will be re-released shortly," a company support document read.

The latest Outlook 2007 hotfix can be downloaded from Microsoft's site.

That re-release was the second Office snafu Microsoft has addressed in under a week.

Last Saturday, Microsoft released a set of fixes for PowerPoint 2003 after problems surfaced when users applied MS11-022 , one of the security updates in a record-setting collection that fixed 64 flaws . The MS11-022 update patched three vulnerabilities in the presentation maker bundled with Office XP, 2003, 2007 and 2010.

The bug in PowerPoint 2003 corrupted some presentation content, Microsoft admitted in a support document.

"When the error occurs, you receive a message that states that some contents (text, images, or objects) have corrupted," the document stated. "You can determine what content has been lost by viewing the layout, but not by viewing the slide content. Items that were removed will display a blank box or a box that contains 'cleansed.'"

Customers lambasted Microsoft for messing up their PowerPoint slideshows.

"[This] makes it impossible to work with PowerPoint documents that contain background images," said a user identified only as "Pete" in a comment to the Microsoft blog announcing the April 12 update. "As our company's master document contains background images, we have a huge problem. Someone should get slapped on his head for releasing that crap."

"Breaking the majority of PowerPoint files across our enterprise is unacceptable," added another user.

Microsoft has issued a hotfix that must be manually downloaded, but promised it would push the patch to all users in June through Windows Update.

The company has pulled the plug on updates or reissued fixes before, most recently last January and February , when it took two passes to correct flaws introduced by a December 2010 security update for Outlook 2007.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com .

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