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Archive for the ‘Office 2011’ Category

Setting Microsoft Outlook as the default application for email, contacts and calendars via Automator

December 1, 2015 8 comments

While working on an Outlook 2016-related issue earlier this week, I found that there is not a straightforward way to set Microsoft Outlook 2016 as the default application for email, contacts and calendars. To redress this, I’ve developed an Automator application named Set Microsoft Outlook as default application for email calendars and contacts.app to handle this task.

The Set Microsoft Outlook as default application for email calendars and contacts application leverages duti, an open source tool used for managing application ownership of document types and URL schemes on Mac OS X, to set the newest version of Microsoft Outlook on the Mac as the default application for email, contacts and calendars.

The application includes an embedded copy of duti, so it is not necessary to have duti pre-installed on the Mac in order to use this tool. For more details, see below the jump.

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Outlook 2011, OS X El Capitan and the Pinwheel of Patience

September 30, 2015 203 comments

If you’re planning to upgrade to OS X El Capitan and you use Outlook 2011 to get email from Microsoft Exchange, you may want to delay upgrading. On El Capitan, connecting to Exchange email servers causes Outlook 2011 to freeze and display a beachball cursor.



Update 10-7-2015: Microsoft has released Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.6 Update, which resolves the problem with Outlook freezing. To get the update, please use the Microsoft AutoUpdate application or download it manually from the link below:

https://support.microsoft.com/kb/3098229


 Outlook Pinwheel of Patience

The issue appears to only affect Outlook 2011 when configured to access Exchange servers. When set up with only IMAP accounts, Outlook 2011 does not appear to display this behavior.

Microsoft is aware of the issue and has posted a knowledgebase article about it:

https://support.microsoft.com/kb/3098396

Office 2011 14.5.0 and Outlook main window invisibility

May 16, 2015 8 comments

When the Office 2011 14.5.0 update was released, it was initially noteworthy for the fact that in certain circumstances it removed Office’s license. Shortly thereafter, Outlook 14.5.0 became noteworthy for the fact that Outlook’s main window (which displays the mailboxes, list of emails, calendars and other functions) was now invisible.

Another thing that was curious was that this problem did not affect everyone. It seemed to affect only those who met both of the following conditions:

  • Macs running 10.10.x
  • Accounts that had mailbox subfolders and had those mailbox subfolders expanded at the time of quitting Outlook.


Update – 5-22-2015: Microsoft has released Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.1 Update to address this issue. As of 5-22-2015 at 11:37 AM UTC, the 14.5.1 update is not yet available in Microsoft’s update feed for Office 2011, so it will need to be manually downloaded from Microsoft’s website. It’s available from the link below:

https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=47307

With this update, the procedure to fix should now be this:

1. Quit all open Office applications
2. Install the Office 2011 for Mac 14.5.1 update.
3. Once the 14.5.1 update has been installed, launch Outlook

Outlook’s main window should be visible again and work normally.




Update – 5-27-2015: The Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.1 Update is now available via the Office 2011 update feed. If you’re not familiar with updating Office 2011 for Mac, please see here for how to update using Microsoft Office’s AutoUpdate application.

Once the Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.1 Update has been installed, Outlook’s main window should be visible again and work normally.


For better or for worse, I have a large number of mailbox subfolders so I could pretty much reproduce this issue (which I quickly dubbed Inbox Invisible) on demand.

A number of suggested fixes included the following:

  • Removing the Outlook preferences from ~/Library/Preferences
  • Rebuilding the Outlook identity
  • Deleting cache files
  • Some combination of all of the above

In my testing, those fixes would work for one time. I’d launch Outlook, the main window would be there, I’d quit Outlook and re-launch it and be confronted again with Inbox Invisible.

What ultimately fixed it for both myself and those in my shop affected by this issue was the following:

  1. Quitting all Office applications
  2. Uninstalling Office 2011
  3. Restarting the Mac
  4. Reinstall Office 14.4.9 following the restart.

Outlook started working again once rolled back to 14.4.9. The weird thing was that uninstalling Office and reinstalling it fixed the issue, without needing to change anything else. This is one of the very few times I can recall when uninstalling Office 2011 and reinstalling it actually addressed a serious problem. Normally, problems with Outlook are caused by something amiss on the user account or email account level. However, it looks like there may be an explanation. For more details, see below the jump.

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Creating an Office 2011 14.5.0 installer

May 12, 2015 7 comments

One of the issues I worked on this week was building a new Office 2011 installer after Microsoft released the Office 2011 14.5.0 update. I have an existing process to build a combined Office 2011 installer using Packages, which I’ve used successfully for a while.

This time though, I hit a problem. When I installed the combined Office 2011 installer with DeployStudio, then logged in, I was asked to enter a product key. Since my work has a volume license, this isn’t a screen I should ever see.

Screen Shot 2015 05 12 at 3 58 11 PM

This is a problem that I’ve seen before with previous Microsoft Office 2011 installers and usually involves the license file not being applied when it should be. This behavior is seen on Macs in the following cases:

  1. Office 2011 is installed and then updated to 14.5.0 while nobody is logged in
  2. Office 2011 is installed and then updated to 14.5.0 without any Office applications being launched between the initial installation and the update.

These two scenarios will likely apply if you’re building a new machine using an automated deployment tool, but likely will not if you’re a home user.

The easiest fix I’ve found in my testing is to get the necessary volume license file from a machine that has Office 14.4.x installed on it and put it back on an as-needed basis.

The needed file is /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist. If you have a volume-licensed version of Office 2011 installed on your Mac, you should have this file.

Screen Shot 2015 05 12 at 4 49 54 PM

 

To address this issue, you can use Packages’ ability to add resources to a Packages-built package. See below the jump for an an example using an Office 2011 SP 4 installer package, the Office 2011 14.5.0 Update, and the com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist license file to build a unified Office 2011 14.5.0 installer package that does not prompt for a product key.



Update – 5-27-2015: The Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 14.5.1 Update has the same license-removing issue as 14.5.0. The solution is the same for both 14.5.0 and 14.5.1: put the volume license back on an as-needed basis.


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Saved application states and Office 2011 EXC_BAD_ACCESS application crashes

July 26, 2014 10 comments

I had an interesting issue crop up yesterday. One of our users sent in a ticket to report that Word 2011 on her laptop kept crashing with an EXC_BAD_ACCESS error. None of her other Office 2011 applications were exhibiting the behavior; it was specific to Word 2011.

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 10.33.23 AM

When this error has cropped up in the past, I’ve fixed it in the past by removing Word’s Normal.dotm template from /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates or removing the com.microsoft preference files for the affected application from /Users/username/Library/Preferences.

So this time, I moved the following files to a new folder that I created on the user’s desktop:

/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/User Templates/Normal.dotm
/Users/username/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Word.plist

Then I logged the user out, asked them to log back in and had them relaunch Word. Crash. EXC_BAD_ACCESS error again. This was going to be an unusual one…

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Repackaging the Microsoft Lync 14.0.8 installer

April 10, 2014 7 comments

Microsoft has released Microsoft Lync 14.0.8, which included compatibility with Mavericks. Since we have several folks using both Lync and Mavericks, I wanted to get this into our Casper server’s Self Service as soon as possible.

To test installing it, I downloaded the installer on a disk image from Microsoft’s site, then renamed the package from Lync Installer.pkg to Lync 14.0.8 Installer.pkg. After renaming it, I set up an installation policy for Self Service, scoped the policy so that only my test machine could see it, then ran the installation.

Failed.

I go check the logs and see this entry:

/usr/sbin/jamf is version 8.73
Executing Policy Microsoft Lync...
[STEP 1 of 2]
Downloading BOM for Lync 14.0.8 Installer.pkg...
This Apple Package did not have a valid index.bom file. Assuming it is a flat file package.
Downloading http://casper.server.here/repo_name/Packages//Lync 14.0.8 Installer.pkg...
Error: The package could not be found on the server.
[STEP 2 of 2]
Running Recon...
Displaying message to end user...

OK, maybe I did that wrong. Deleted the package and this time uploaded the installer to my Casper server without changing the name from Lync Installer.pkg.

/usr/sbin/jamf is version 8.73
Executing Policy Microsoft Lync...
[STEP 1 of 2]
Downloading BOM for Lync Installer.pkg...
This Apple Package did not have a valid index.bom file. Assuming it is a flat file package.
Downloading http://casper.server.here/repo_name/Packages//Lync Installer.pkg...
Error: The package could not be found on the server.
[STEP 2 of 2]
Running Recon...
Displaying message to end user...

Failed again. Meanwhile, /var/log/install.log on my test Mac only showed that installd was starting and then stopping. In short, Casper’s logs were right; the installation process was starting but couldn’t then find a package.

At that point, I started thinking. How would the developer have installed this package? How did Q&A likely test installing it, however minimally?

Developer – Would have double-clicked on the package to install it, followed by typing in an admin password.

Q&A – Same process as the developer, except they would have tested installing it from the mounted disk image.

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Creating an Office 2011 SP 4 14.4.1 installer

April 9, 2014 13 comments

One of the issues I worked on this week was building a new Office 2011 installer after Microsoft released the Office 2011 14.4.1 update. I have an existing process to build a combined Office 2011 installer using Packages, which I’ve used successfully for a while.

This time though, I hit a problem. When I installed the combined Office 2011 installer with DeployStudio, then logged in, I was asked to enter a product key. Since my work has a volume license, this isn’t a screen I should ever see.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 5.38.23 PM

This is a problem that’s been seen with previous Microsoft Office 2011 installers and usually involves the volume license file not being applied when it should be. This behavior may be seen with the 14.4.1 update in the following cases:

1. Office 2011 is installed and then updated to 14.4.1 while nobody is logged in

2. Office 2011 is installed and then updated to 14.4.1 without any Office applications being launched between the initial installation and the update.

These two scenarios will likely apply if you’re building a new machine using an automated deployment tool, but likely will not if you’re a home user.

With luck, this will only be an issue for 14.4.1 and Microsoft will fix this issue in the next 14.4.x update. In the meantime, the easiest fix I’ve found in my testing this week is to get the necessary volume license file from a machine that has Office 14.3.x installed on it and put it back on an as-needed basis.

The needed file is /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist. If you have a volume-licensed version of Office 2011 installed on your Mac, you should have this file.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 4.17.48 PM

To address the issue of installing 14.4.1 without losing your volume license, you can use Packages‘ ability to add resources to a Packages-built package. See below the jump for how you can use an Office 2011 SP 3 installer package, the Office 2011 14.4.1 Update, and the com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist license file to build a unified Office 2011 SP 4 14.4.1 installer package that does not prompt for a product key.

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