Microsoft just put out a service pack for Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac. Don’t install it. Nothing about this service pack appears to be unusual until you try to open certain files in Excel, PowerPoint or Word:
Clicking Yes takes you to a page titled, “I can’t open an Office document after I install Office 2008 SP2 Update,” which includes this gem:
Cause: This is a known issue with Office 2008 SP2 Update.
Solution: Save your Excel workbook by using an earlier version of Office 2008 for Mac.
Uh, how? You just expect everyone to have another computer sitting around that hasn’t been patched yet?
Further investigation brings up a Microsoft knowledge base article about the Office 2008 SP2 problem, which states:
If updates do not resolve the issue, you can re-create or save the Excel workbook, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation in a file format other than Open XML. For example, you can save the file in the .xls, .doc, or .ppt file format.
That’s right – Office can’t open its own files. I wasn’t doing any fancy file formatting, just using Office’s own defaults. So I have to find another machine with an un-updated version of Office, then save the files in the last generation Office file format (thereby losing some cool formatting in the process too.) I’m seeing similar complaints from other users in forums around the intertubez.
Unbelievable, inexcusable and frustrating.
Update August 6th: Good News and Bad News
So the good news is, Microsoft came out with a patch for the XML file issue. The bad news is – well, I’ll let the screenshot speak for itself:
C’mon, guys… And then thirty seconds later:
Who knows? Who cares? I can open my files again. I’m not going to ask any more questions.