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Office 2004 (#5): General issues; Word: workaround for older files; Entourage: Silk conflict; Excel: Red X problem gone; more

Office 2004 (#5): General issues; Word: workaround for older files; Entourage: Silk conflict; Excel: Red X problem gone; more

General Issues

Installation location MacFixIt reader Gabriel Dorado notes that if you follow the included instructions, you may install Office 2004 on the wrong place. While the directions prompt the user to drag and drop the "Microsoft Office 2004" folder "on your hard disk icon," if you do so, the applications will not be saved on the Applications folder, but on the first level of the hard disk. Instead, drag and drop over the Applications folder. (Problems often arise when applications are located outside their designated folder.)

.swf files Some readers report that they are no longer able to play ".swf" files (Flash animations) with QuickTime Player Pro 6.5.1 after installing Office 2004.

One reader writes "After the installation that is no longer possible. Instead you get the error 'invalid media data.' Clearly Office 2004 overwrites some previous video components. Note that I installed also:

  • Remote Desktop Connection 1.0.2
  • Windows Media Player 9.0

Three product keys = three installations? MacFixIt reader Harv Rubinstein notes that his version of Office 2004 came with three product keys, and is wondering if the additional keys allow him simultaneous installations on self-owned machines - an issue for which we are seeking confirmation from Microsoft:

"My edition came with three different product keys, so I am hoping this allows me to have a copy on three different machines on the same network at the same time. The Apple genius said that is the case. [...] As with Office X, the System Profiler/Applications only reflects Entourage. The other components are still missing."

MathType compatibility on the way Yesterday we noted a conflict between MathType 5.0 and Office 2004. We've now received word from Peter Cooper, Director of Engineering at Design Science (MathType's developer) indicating that compatibility is on the way.

"MathType 5.1 will be available shortly, and this will be fully compatible with Office 2004. This will be a free upgrade for owners of MathType 5.0."

Word

Formatting problems with older files, workaround Yesterday we noted problems with some Office v.X-created files that do not open properly in Word 2004 but open properly in Word v.X.

MacFixIt reader Art Riddle notes a similar problem, as well as a workaround: "I have had the same issue with Word 2004 opening some old Office v.X files. I have found the problem is when there are grayscale images placed they will not show up in Word 2004. I opened the document in v.X copied the picture and pasted it into Photoshop. I then converted the picture to RGB and copied/pasted into the same document in Word 2004. My B/W and color images are drawn correctly. "

Launch performance Some users are noticing that Word 2004 takes an inordinately long time to launch:

"Installed a few days ago. Each time I open Word 2004 after a reboot or cold boot-up I get a hang and spinning beachball while it says 'Optimizing Font preference Menu performance.' Takes 10+ seconds to open at this point.

"After the first start of the day this problem does not occur if I quit and restart Word. Again, it only seems to occur after a system restart or first boot-up of the day."

If you are having a similar issue, particularly with a third-party font management tool installed, please let us know.

Entourage

Silk conflict There appears to be a conflict between Unsanity's Silk and Entourage 2004. Silk is a haxie that enables the Quartz text rendering and smoothing introduced in Mac OS X 10.1.5 in all Carbon applications. This allows antialiased text in a variety of third-party apps, including Office 2004 programs.

MacFixIt reader Scott Shaffer writes

"I have had no problems after installation until I tried to use Silk. This caused an immediate shut down and the message mentioned above. This problem went away after shutting off Silk for Entourage."

Another reader offers separate confirmation, as well as some detail on how he narrowed down the culprit to Silk:

"Just wanted to note that I recently installed Entourage 2004 and it would immediately quit when launched. I checked out your forums and other sites and tried rebuilding the database files as well as running Cocktail to fix any permission issues but nothing worked. Upon looking at the crash report generated by the new Microsoft Error Reporting feature, I noticed a ?Bad Exception Error? with (Unsanity?s) Silk. I turned off Silk completely and restarted, then launched Entourage and it finally worked! I now have Silk running but included Entourage not to be ?silked? in the exclude applications list. All other Office 2004 Apps work fine with Silk enabled."

More on problematic, individual e-mail messages Yesterday we reported that Entourage will crash on certain, specifically formatted e-mails (generally those containing no header, subject or body). We noted the workaround of using a Webmail interface or another e-mail client to delete the offending messages, allowing the rest of the inbox to flow as normal.

Today MacFixIt reader Sheldon Furst offers confirmation of the issue, and the solution:

"I'd just like to confirm the Entourage crash problem with certain Emails. I didn't have the energy to isolate exactly which message was causing the problem. But I can state that turning off Rules did NOT solve the problem. Only solution was to manually delete the mail from the POP server."

Excel

"Red X" problem gone MacFixIt reader Brett Gaspers reports that a problem where Excel-created images placed in PowerPoint presentations did not display correctly on some Windows systems is gone from the 2004 release:

"The red X problem when pasting graphics from say, Excel into PowerPoint and then attempting to view on Windows (and vice versa) appears to be gone! I could always reproduce this by copying a chart with vertical text on the y-axis and copying it as a picture to PowerPoint. This was a major pain when working with clients who are Windows-based."

"The bad news, at least with Excel, is that it appears to be much slower in calculating. My company developed a forecasting model in Excel that does Monte Carlo simulation. Running a simulation in Office v.X took 12 minutes, in 2004 almost 16. That is a pretty substantial difference (33%)! I had restarted my system prior to running both tests."

PowerPoint

Slow QuickTime performance, reducing size improves Yesterday we reported that in-presentation QuickTime performance has degraded significantly for some users since installation of PowerPoint 2004.

Tom Ryder notes that decreasing the movie's playback size alleviates the performance bottleneck in some cases:

"I have noticed a similar problem. Reducing the size of the video to half the size of the frame improves playback. But there is definitely a problem when the video is larger. I took have a 1ghz powerbook and am running 10.3.3. And Office 2004."

Feedback? Late-breakers@macfixit.com

Resources
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