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Computing News: Microsoft Office XP

Microsoft Office XP, the latest version of Microsoft's suite of software applications, includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. As of May 31st, 2001, Office XP is available for Windows 98, ME, NT, and 2000.

Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will support the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint components of Office XP for its clients, including off-campus students. ISC recommends that most users adopt a "wait and see" attitude, continuing to use previous versions of Office until after the initial bugs in Office XP are identified and fixed.

Microsoft Office XP has significantly greater system requirements than previous versions of Microsoft Office. ISC suggests the following minimum system requirements:

  • 64 megabytes of RAM (128 megabytes of RAM if using multiple applications at the same time or if running Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or Windows 2000 Professional)
  • 233 MHz Pentium II (300 MHz Pentium II if running Windows NT Workstation 4.0 or Windows 2000 Professional)
  • approximately 450 megabytes of free hard drive space

Note that Office XP will not run on Windows 95-based PCs.

Three Different Versions

Office XP will be available in three different versions from the Computer Connection.

  1. Office XP Standard includes three University-supported primary applications (Word 2002, Excel 2002, and PowerPoint 2002) and Outlook 2002.
  2. Office XP Professional adds the Access 2002 database to Office XP Standard.
  3. Office XP Developer adds the FrontPage Web site creation and management tool to Office XP Professional and includes developer-only versions of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and Exchange 2000 Server.

Like Office 97 and Office 2000, Office XP is an evolutionary revision of Microsoft's application suite, and Office XP applications include a more modern look and feel. Office XP also offers better inter-application integration and improved HTML code generation. Office XP is also one of the first available parts of Microsoft's .NET initiative for EXtensible Markup Language (XML) Web services; Excel 2002 and Access 2002 natively read and write XML.

Office XP builds more document recovery tools its applications - Word 2002, Excel 2002, and PowerPoint 2002 will now let you save open documents after they crash or lock up and will attempt to automatically repair damaged files when you try to open them. Finally, the animated paperclip is no longer part of the standard installation - which marks a significant change in Microsoft's help philosophy.


There are a number of known issues with Office XP, several of which are especially relevant to Penn’s users:

  • As stated above, Office XP does not run on Windows 95. If you are running Windows NT Workstation 4.0, it requires Service Pack 6.
  • Office XP's size: as an example, Office XP Professional requires an average of 450 megabytes of free hard drive space.
  • Most of the file formats in Office XP remain the same, but Access 2002 has a new file format which will make sharing Access databases between users of Access 2002 and users of previous versions of Access problematic.

--John Mulhern III, IT Project Leader, and Steve Strawser, IT Support Specialist, ISC Technology Support Services (May 31, 2001)


Information Systems and Computing
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