Along with Office 2008 updates and announced Macintosh Business Unit hiring, Microsoft has also bestowed blessings upon older Office users (2004) with the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.5.0 Update and version 1.0 of their Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.
The Office 2004 update adds enhanced compatibility for documents that are in Open XML Format and fixes an issue where installer was not properly ignoring backup copies of Office that were created by the Time Machine backup tool. Word 2004 has stability improvements and there are fixes for table display and “Page Setup” dialog functionality. Excel has four groups of fixes and improves compatibility when running 2008 and 2004 side-by-side (and copying/pasting data between applications). Running both is not uncommon as the older version of Office still provides VBA support unlike its newer, shinier cousin. PowerPoint has two improvement areas and will be a welcome update for those with large presentations. You can grab the 59 MB update directly from Microsoft.
The Open XML Converter allows you to convert Open XML files that were created in Office 2008 for Mac or Office 2007 for Windows so that you can open, edit, and save them in earlier versions of Office for Mac. Open XML Converter can convert Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations that are in the Open XML Format so that you can open and edit the files in Office 2004 for Mac and Office v. X for Mac.
If you experience problems opening the converter application after you install it, make sure that
/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office Converter Support is installed on the startup volume. If it is missing, or if any of the files listed above are missing, try installing the converter application again.
If Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac is installed on your computer, you will also find the new fonts installed to either
/User/username/Library/Fonts/Microsoft (new fonts include: Cambria, Calibri, Consolas, Constantia, Corbel & Candara). Consolas makes a fairly decent Terminal font, btw.
Drop a note in the comments if you make use of either the update or the tool.