Posted by: kurtsh | August 30, 2008

INFO: Compatibility issues when installing Outlook 2003 over Office XP

AddToOutlook Our Solution Specialist for Information Worker technologies, Ralf Weber put together this document of issues that an organization should anticipate having if they install Outlook 2003 over an existing installation of Office XP.  It was done in tandem with several other technical resources and was so good that I thought it should be shared:

1. Upgrading to Outlook 2003 without upgrading the rest of Office limits Outlook functionality in the following ways:

  • Users cannot use Word as their Outlook email editor which also means:
    • Users lose the ability to right click on a signature and choose a different one
    • When selecting a different email account the signature won’t change to the one assigned to the new account
    • The Outlook editor has fewer autocorrect features than Word and lacks auto text and other useful tools
  • Users cannot use the MailMerge feature where it involves Outlook, especially users can’t:
    • Start MailMerge from within Outlook
    • Use Outlook contacts as data source
    • Merge to email
  • The Office envelope capability is not available.
    • This is the email header that is displayed in Word, Excel and other Office programs when users click the envelope button or choose the File | Send to | Mail Recipient
    • Users can still send documents as attachments
  • Users won’t be able to select a Contact and choose Actions, New Letter to contact.
  • Minor problems can occur with the Office Assistant
    • I.e. when one Office application turns the Assistant on, and another one turns it off



2. Double efforts for Updates, Patches and Service Packs

  • Upgrading just Outlook means twice as much work when applying patches and service packs, as users need to apply patches for two (or more) versions. Users many need to repair Outlook 2003 after installing patches for older Office applications.
  • Due to the tight integration of the Office applications updates for Office XP can reinstall Outlook 2002 bits. This results in Office XP needing to reconfigure itself each time Outlook 2003 is active.
  • Detect and Repair may be more difficult and requires media for each version of Office



3. Other known issues

  • Error Message: "Excel could not start the e-mail program" when you users use the Send To command in Excel 2002, this occurs if
    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 is the mail client AND
    • Users try to send the workbook as the body of the message to the recipient.



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