Even though Office 2000 was launched last June, you're probably still trying to figure out what half of the new bells and whistles do. Learning the new suite can keep you too bogged down to give much thought to downloading bug fixes and updates.
But now Microsoft has readied Service Release 1 (SR-1), a collection of all the bug fixes and updates made for Office 2000 since its release. You can download it from the Office Update site, or get it on a CD-ROM free of charge.
SR-1 is certified for Windows 2000 and includes updates and bug fixes for all of Microsoft's Office 2000 software, including Access, Excel, FrontPage, the FrontPage server extensions, the Office server extensions, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word.
If you're running an older version of Internet Explorer, SR-1 gives you the option of upgrading to IE 5.01, the version that ships with Windows 2000. But to upgrade to Office 2000 SR-1, you must have your Office 2000 CD-ROMs available.
While you're on the Office Update site, you might also want to download the Auto Update utility and the Save My Settings Wizard, two new free e-services for Office.
With Office Auto Update, much like the Windows Auto Update utility, you won't have to constantly check Microsoft's site for fixes and updates. Instead, when you go online, the utility checks Microsoft's site in the background, and alerts you of new patches or updates.
Based on your system configuration, the utility suggests updates for you to download. You can also set Office's update feature to alert you whether the update is critical or recommended, according to Lisa Gurry, Office product manager.
The other free e-service, Save My Settings Wizard, lets you save your Office 2000 settings in a web storage place on Microsoft's Office site. When you switch systems or use someone else's PC, you can grab your settings and use them.
"It's useful for a mobile office or for a home user," says Gurry. "So rather than (redoing settings) on each machine, you go to the Office Update site, pick and choose your settings, and save them on the site." Once you save your settings, you can retrieve them from any internet-connected PC.
If you're still waiting to upgrade from Office 97 to 2000, you might want to hold out a little longer. Starting in May, new Office 2000 suites will include all of the SR-1 updates in the box.
Also starting in May, Office 2000 Premium versions will include Microsoft's PhotoDraw 2000 Version 2 software as well. PhotoDraw's tools help you create web pages, printed documents, and presentations. Current customers will be able to upgrade and obtain the additional application.