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Updated August 10, 2009

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Microsoft confirms Office SP2 can't read Win-created files

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Microsoft is recommending that Office 2008 users who upgraded Service Pack 2 should remove it and roll back to an earlier version. The update, released last week, disables Office for Mac applications' ability to open files in the Open XML format (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) created by Office 2007 for Windows. Microsoft gives this advice, amoung others:

  • 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.
  • Use the AppleTime Machine to roll back to Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.9 Update or an earlier version.
  • Convert your document to .doc, .xls, or .ppt, by using Open XML Converter.

On Monday, we reported that some users could no longer open .pptx (PowerPoint) files. Today, we have several reports from readers who cannot open .xlsx (Excel) files after the SP2 update. Several readers also reported some odd symptoms.

Peter Jones received an explanation from a Microsoft representative who said that the problem was specifically with Open XML files created by Windows users:

I have not had any problems with .pptx files, however after installing Office 12.2.0 on my Powerbook G4 I found that I could no longer open Windows-created .xlsx files, in particular, our expense voucher format--this matters a lot! I had to revert to Excel 12.1.7 using my Time Machine backup. At that point the .xlsx files opened fine.

I received the following information from Microsoft on this problem: "Basically, the situation is that we made a change in 12.2 to only allow .xlsx files with valid application tags in the file to open. Unfortunately, it turns out that Windows Excel doesn't write out that tag (although it should) when files are created in certain ways (such as by opening a .csv or .txt file and then saving as .xlsx). We're working with the Windows Excel team to get them to fix that issue and also working on a solution for Mac Excel so that it can open those files."

I concur with the recommendation that folks hold off upgrading to 12.2.0 until Microsoft can correct this issue.

Brad Eastman reports a symptom:

Same problem for me. Tried to open it and it asked for a password. Opened in PowerPoint 2007 in Windows XP (in Parallels) without any difficulty.

John Philip gets a link to the Microsoft web site:

Noone in our group can open .xlsx files after the update was installed. Instead, a link pops up.

If you've seen this problem

Comment below

MS Office 2008 SP2 update may disable pptx compatibility

Monday, July 27, 2009

PowerPoint 2008 no longer opens PowerPoint .pptx files after last week's Service Pack 2 update, according to reports by a reader and posts to Microsoft's forum. The problem may also extend to last week's update of the Open XML File Format Converter 1.1. Graham Norbury reports:

Looks like Microsoft has screwed up and PowerPoint can't open pptx files after the update to 12.2. I've got a one-slide simple PowerPoint file (.pptx) that I can no longer open with PowerPoint. I converted it through Keynote. I guess OpenOffice/NeoOffice would be just as good. Looks like there are a few people with the same problem which may exist in the Open XML File Format Converter as well.

If you've seen this problem

Comment below

Office SP2 XML bug not in preinstalled version; may fix Entourage bug

Monday, August 3, 2009

A reader reports that a clean download of Office 2008 SP2 does not have the bug that prevents it from opening Open XML files (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) created by Office 2007 for Windows. Another reader said that SP2 actually fixed an Entourage sync issue. A third reader uses Numbers.

Ben Brown downloaded a preinstalled version at the Micrsoft Volume Licencing Services (MVLS) site:

I've just noticed that the bug where Office 2008 SP2 will not open Windows crafted office xml (.xlsx, .docx, .pptx) files does not apply if you head over to MVLS and get the dmg of Mac Office 2008 with SP2 and do a clean install. (Tested on G4 877Mhz, 1Gb, 80Gb, 10.4.11)

Brad Schrick likes the update's effect on Entourage:

I can open .---x files with Mac Office 2008 SP2, created with Office 2007 on Windows by others at my company. The update to Entourage fixed some syncing issues that one of our guys was experiencing since moving his mailbox to Exchange 2007, so I'm not going back.

If you've seen SP2 fix Entourage syncing issues

Russell Hall suggests Numbers:

I can't open .xlsx Excel documents since the Office 2008 SP2 update. I get sent to this page. Of course, I can always go back and "Save your Excel workbook by using an earlier version of Office 2008 for Mac", or do one of the other stupid things that waste even more of my time than Office 2008 already does. Or I can simply open it in Apple's Numbers.

Office 12.2.1 update fixes SP2 file bugs; Open XML Converter updated

Monday, August 10, 2009

On Friday, Microsoft released the Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.1 Update, which fixes bug in the recently released Service Pack 2 for Office 2008. The Service Pack 2 bug prevented Office 2008 applications from opening Open XML files (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) files that were created with Office 2007 for Windows. The bug (and the fix) also applied to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint templates.

Microsoft also released the Open XML File Format Converter 1.1.1 Update, which fixes bug in version 1.1 that was similar that in Office 2008 SP2. Open XML File Format Converter is a free utility for converting .docx, .xmlx, and .pptx files to previous Office versions (.doc, .xml, .ppt). The utility is intended for users of Office 2004, which does not support the Open XML formats.

Graham Norbury tried the Office 2008 12.2.1 update and confirmed that it fixes the bug:

FInally Micrsoft seems to have resolved the problem with the Office 2008 12.2.1 update. With SP2, I discovered that I could open some .pptx files, but many I could not. However, now with 12.2.1, so far I have opened all the files without any problems.

If you've tried the update to Office or the File Format Converter

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