Microsoft Office 2008 Update Brings Speed Increases and New Features

Microsoft today announced that it will be releasing Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 later today, a free update bringing speed enhancements and other new features to the application suite. The update is scheduled to launch at 10:00 AM Pacific Time and will be available on Microsoft's Mac download page and through the Microsoft AutoUpdate application.

Microsoft Corp.'s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) released Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 (SP2) today -- a midcycle free update that is designed to improve the Office 2008 experience where it matters most to customers: speed, stability and compatibility. SP2 delivers highly requested features throughout the suite as well as a new tool, Document Connection for Mac, that helps improve access and browsing to documents on SharePoint Products and Technologies and Microsoft Office Live Workspace.

The new update reportedly brings significant speed increases to Word (app launching and scrolling) and Excel (calculation performance). Updates to PowerPoint will also allow users to set default themes for new presentations, as well as offer a new Custom Path Animation tool to allow users to create their own motion-path animations.

Office 2008 for Mac SP2 will also bring new tools for document sharing and collaboration via Document Connection for Mac, which will allow users to save and open Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to Microsoft Office Live Workspace directly from Microsoft Office applications. Microsoft Office Live Workspace is also now compatible with Safari 4 in addition to the existing support for Firefox 2.0. Finally, Document Connection improves access to collaboration tools for Mac users via integration with Microsoft's SharePoint solution for server-based content management.

Update: Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 (12.2.0) is now available for download. The update weighs in at 297 MB.

Microsoft also released Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.1 (45 MB), an updated version of Microsoft's utility that allows Office 2004 and v.X to open files in the default Open XML format used by Office 2008.