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Open XML compatiblity issues spring up in Service Pack 2 update for Office 2008

A few weeks back, Microsoft released its Service Pack 2 update for Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac. While adding a host of features and refinements (such as Custom Path Animation in PowerPoint and increased speed and load times in Word and Excel), the service pack apparently packed too much of a punch.

The update has prevented some Open XML files from opening, for which Microsoft provides the following suggestions, and I've done a bit of MS-to-English translation (with apologies to DF)... read on to get the gist.
  1. Save your Excel workbook by using an earlier version of Office 2008 for Mac.

    Don't update to Service Pack 2.
  2. Save your Excel workbook using Office 2004 for Mac with Open XML converter.

    If you can't open the Open XML based document, and if you didn't uninstall Office 2004 when you upgraded to Office 2008, open said file with Office 2004. However, if you did uninstall Office 2004, but your neighbor hasn't yet upgraded to Office 2008, now's the time for him to pay you back for watering his grass every day when he was on vacation fishing in the Ozarks. And while you're there, you might as well print on his nice color laser printer.

  3. Save your PowerPoint presentation, such as .pptx, .pptm, or .potx, by using 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows.

    Switchers, this is our secret way of getting back at you for switching to the Mac. Office 2007 opens this file without any problems.

  4. Save Excel workbooks to the .xlsb format in Excel 2007.

    See #3.

  5. Save your document to .doc, .xls, or .ppt format by using Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update or an earlier version.

    See #1.

  6. Save your document to .doc, .xls, or .ppt format by using Office 2004 for Mac with Open XML Converter.

    See #2. Are you sensing a pattern here?


  7. Convert your document to .doc, .xls, or .ppt, by using Open XML Converter.

    See #1.

  8. Save your Word or Excel documents by using Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 2 for Windows.

    See #3
    .

  9. Save your document to .doc, .xls, or .ppt format by using Microsoft Office 2003 or an earlier version with Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

    Our quality control process was better for our earlier version of Office for the PC than it is for this newer version for the Mac.

  10. Use the AppleTime Machine to roll back to Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update or an earlier version.

    You're lucky you have a Mac.

  11. Remove Office manually, reinstall Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac from the original installation media, and then upgrade to Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update. Do not upgrade to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 (12.2.0) from Microsoft AutoUpdate.

    You may want to try Apple's iWork instead. It's not as expensive, and does most of what Microsoft Office does.
In all fairness, Microsoft will be releasing an update in August to address this issue. Also, it's generally a good practice to put off a week or two before installing any major updates (whether it's for OS X, Final Cut Studio, or Microsoft Office) that aren't absolutely critical, especially for things that are crucial to your business or school work.

Thanks to reader Kevin for the tip.

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