Microsoft ships Office 2007 SP1 in advance

Microsoft has released its first Service Pack for Office 2007 in what has been an unusual move for the world's largest software maker.

The software developer has pushed hard to get the update out of the door, well ahead of the deadline previously set.

The SP will enhance stability, performance and security according to Microsoft's Press release.

"These enhancements span the software applications and servers that home and office workers use each day and will make the 2007 Office system an even more robust and effective productivity tool," Reed Shaffner, Office product manager, wrote on Microsoft's Web site. "In essence, SP1 targets the issues that customers told us mattered to them most."

SP1 tackles a number of problems including an issue related to opening large mail files in Outlook 2007 which caused problems to a number of users.

Amongst the slew of new features in SP1 are support for the yet to be released Windows Server 2008 and improved compatibility between Office Open XML - Office 2007's default file format - and file formats used by previous Office suites.

More than 12 million trial versions of Office 2007 have been downloaded from Microsoft.com with more being shifted by partners and other download sites.

The pack can be downloaded from Microsoft's website and will be delivered as an automatic update via the Windows Update system within 90 days.