Microsoft Releases First Service Pack for Office 2003

While SP1 primarily rounds up security and bug fixes, it also enhances features in the 2003 versions of OneNote and InfoPath.

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday released the first service pack for Office 2003, which is largely a collection of security and bug fixes for the entire Microsoft Office System but also contains some new feature enhancements for Microsoft Office OneNote 2003 and Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003.

Office Service Pack 1 (SP1), available for download here, also will be available on CD in early September at a fee that covers postage and packaging. The English client download is about 18MB, and the administrator version is 74MB.

"This release improves the reliability and security of our products, and we have also been able to use customer feedback and customer feedback tools to improve our products and make the enhancements to One Note and InfoPath," Simon Marks, product manager for the Microsoft Office System, told eWEEK in a interview.

The majority of SP1 comprises bug fixes and security enhancements, essentially fixing any issues since the release of the product last year. But customer feedback about how the Redmond software maker could improve OneNote and InfoPath also has been incorporated and delivered in the service pack, with 90 percent of OneNotes enhancements based on customer feedback.

Some of those OneNote enhancements include increased functionality around sharing and collaboration, with OneNote sessions now able to be shared in real time, allowing dynamic, live collaboration.

The interaction between OneNote and SharePoint and SharePoint Portal Server has been improved, along with its ability to work with other types of rich media, Marks said. The product can be used together with a PocketPC or Smart Phone and can record video notes, capture screen clippings and the like, he said.

"One of the biggest pieces of feedback we got was better integration with Office and to be able to directly import details from Outlook and be able to put your notes into a meeting request or the like," Marks said.

Next Page: InfoPath improvements center on the design end.