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Time and time again, we have problems with Office 2008, especially when used by users with network accounts (and usually seen through Word, but then, that is the primary application of the suite our users are using).

Over time I've seens and used tips and solutions, but I've never collected them all in one place before. If you have any tips or things you should do to make Office 2008 work well.

I'd like to keep things to one tip per post, so that they can be upvoted by how important they are.

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This should be community wiki –  squillman Nov 9 '09 at 21:44
It is now community wiki. –  Clinton Blackmore Nov 9 '09 at 22:02
Thanks. Should check your answers as CW also, just for completeness! :) –  squillman Nov 9 '09 at 22:07
Done. Huh. I thought answers were automatically CW if the question was. Perhaps that is not the case if the question is not CW when the answers are made. –  Clinton Blackmore Nov 10 '09 at 16:43
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3 Answers

At the root of your network sharepoint, make sure a folder called ".TemporaryItems" exists with read, write, and execute permissions.

# On the server hosting the sharepoint,
cd /Path/To/Sharepoint
sudo mkdir .TemporaryItems
sudo chmod 777 .TemporaryItems/

and run ls -a or ls -dl .TemporaryItems to verify that it created properly.

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Redirect the network cache folder to a local folder. [Note that doing this seemed to solve problems and cause problems for us, so I can not unequivocally recommend it.]

Instructions are here for doing this with MCX. Basically, it will create a symlink from ~/Library/Caches to tmp/[username]/Library/Caches on login. Theoretically, you can have it delete the symlink and recreate the directory on logout (but it didn't work when I tried it).

Important: This can lead to hard-to-track down issues if it creates the symlink and then the managed preference is turned off. People will find that there software (such as Word, and even Firefox) will crash, usually at startup, and it turns out to be that they have a broken symlink instead of a Caches folder.


After reading this article on Temporary Files and safe saving, I am trying settings as follows:

Workgroup Manager Redirection Settings

The idea is to redirect the ~/Library/Caches folder to the local hard drive, but ensure that ~/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems exists on the same drive as the users files (so that when a Safe Save is performed, a temporary file is written, the original file is deleted, and the temporary file can be renamed -- without having to move from one file system to another! -- resulting in an atomic write and very little chance of data loss.

I may make a couple of changes to this setup, both related to the logout redirection of ~/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems.

  1. As it was done second, it should be undone first, and
  2. it doesn't need to be undone at all, given the actions of undoing the other redirection.

Lastly, I wanted to mention a utility called Network Home Redirector. While I have not used it, it sounds like a useful alternative to using MCX, and mentions folders you may want to redirect.

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Bypass Office Setup Assistant and Set Standard Office Formats

This is adapted from http://managingosx.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/managing-office-2008/, which goes into more detail. What we will do is back up your office preference files, create tweaked versions, import them into workgroup manager, and restore your files. You can do this on a test account, of with your real account.

In a terminal:

cd ~/Library/Preferences

# Back up your preferences
mkdir OldMicrosoft
mv *.microsoft.* OldMicrosoft/

# Create new preference files as you want them
defaults write com.microsoft.autoupdate2 HowToCheck "Manual"
defaults write com.microsoft.office "2008\\FirstRun\\SetupAssistCompleted" -int 1
defaults write com.microsoft.Word "2008\\Default Save\\Default Format" "Doc97"
defaults write com.microsoft.Excel "2008\\Default Save\\Default Format" -int 57
defaults write com.microsoft.Powerpoint "2008\\Default Save\\Default Save\\Default Format" "Microsoft PowerPoint 98 Presentation"

Next, we'll import the preferences. Before doing so, you need to know that you'll be asked how frequently to manage the preferences. I'll concur with the author of Managing OS X -- manage com.microsoft.autoupdate2 and com.microsoft.office "Often" (settings are reapplied every time users log in) and manage the rest "Once" (so users can change their default save file format). Managing "Always" is not a good idea for applications that aren't built to support it (ie. anything not made by Apple).

Now, go to workgroup manager, select the user/computer group you want to manage, hit the Preferences icon, and choose the "Details" tab on the right. Hit the "+" button below and import all the com.microsoft.*.plist files, choosing how often to manage the preference. Now log in as a user who should have this preference managed, and test!

Lastly, you'll want to restore the original preferences.

cd ~/Library/Preferences
rm *.microsoft.*
mv OldMicrosoft/* .
rmdir OldMicrosoft
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