Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Another day in the Office - with Office 2003 & 2010 problems.

Some real odd stuff going on today with Office and/or it's users. A user had a problem with Excel running out resources. That's Excel 2010 on a 32bit Windows 7 Pro with 4Gb RAM in the machine. CPU and memory are fine according to Task Manager. Close the workbook and open it again, et viola, it's fine.So I check for updates as first port of call (after checking memory usage, page file, free hard drive space and the Event logs) and notice it needs the new Office 2010 SP1 update... This is where another problem I wasn't expecting reared it nasty (yet curable) head.

Great, so this will take a matter of minutes to sort out... nope. The Service Pack kept failing to install, no matter what I tried it wouldn't budge, until I had almost exhausted all options expect for removing Office 2010 or repairing it. I chose the latter as it would be quickest, so a quick repair and reboot later I could install SP1 for Office 2010 successfully! Hurrah!

I hid the remaining update 'Bing Bar 6.0' with the users permission - who needs toolbars in this day and age with Chrome and IE9? Only people who want to clutter their UI and reduce the performance of their browsers. I'm yet to hear back form him to see if SP1 cured his resource problems, though a quick read through the fixes for Excel in the "Microsoft Office 2010 Service Pack 1 Changes" workbook does not indicate a fix for this, so I'm hoping it was fixed and not listed. If not I'll get him to save the workbook in the new Excel format instead of 96-2003 format, which he didn't want to do because his older machines use 2003 *ugh*

The next odd thing I've not seen before and think it's worth mentioning as I see a few people have had the problem but no one seems to have found a fix  (on my quick Google search at least). So if you're having a problem in Outlook 2003 (possibly Outlook 2007 and 2010, I've not confirmed if this effects them) whereby HTML and Rich Text emails you create, reply to or forward have the correct formatting that you would expect.

However when creating, replying to or forwarding a Plain Text email the text and signature are not Left Aligned, as they are in most cases. I opened the text version of the signature in notepad and sure enough, it too was Left Aligned. I opened it in Word 2003 and it was Centered. Anyway, I checked the Normal.dot template file for Office 2003 and sure enough the 'Normal' Style had been set to Centre the text.

Before making the change to the Normal.dot template, I emailed myself in plain text and sure enough it came out Left Aligned, as expected - but when creating the email, the text was Centered on the end users screen. Disabling Word as the editor for Outlook made the problem 'go away', but hey we have Word and want it as the editor, so I put it back to being the HTML and Rich Text editor and changed the normal.dot file after explaining to the end user what had been causing the problem. No doubt tomorrow I'll get a call asking to change the Normal style back to being Centered.

So to recap, repairing Office 2010 allowed me to install the Office 2010 SP1 that wouldn't install at all.
Altering the Normal style in the Normal.dot template alters how new, replies and forwarded Plain Text emails appear in Outlook 2003.


Th-th-th-thats all for now folks!

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