Harvey Balls for Office Documents

If you’ve been around for a while and/or you subscribe to Consumer Reports Magazine, you know what Harvey Balls are.  They are little circles with varying amounts filled in which can be used to represent a level of completeness, sophistication, match to a standard, etc.  They are a good replacement for numerical scales in many cases because they give a very quick visual cue.  Many people can scan a list with Harvey Balls and zero in on something they want faster than they can with numeric representations.

image

Today I wanted to put some Harvey Balls into a PowerPoint presentation, so I Binged “Office 2007 Harvey Balls” and found that a kind soul named Alastair Bor had created a Harvey Ball font for use with Office.  Having built these little beasties from scratch a few times over the years, I was very glad to have such a simple solution, so I thought I’d share it.  By formatting the numbers 0-9 with the Harvey Ball font, you get the nice Harvey Balls above.

 

Want to see how you can show Harvey Balls using a Display Template in SharePoint 2013? See my post Harvey Balls Redux – Display Templates for Site Columns by Dave Paylor.

Adding Graphics to Microsoft Word 2007

I’ve been using Word 2007 since it was released, but somehow I’ve not needed to do any real graphical work in it until now.  I was getting frustrated trying to figure out how to add multiple graphical objects into my Word document until I found something which talked about adding a Drawing Canvas.

To do this, you go to Insert / Shapes / New Drawing Canvas.  No, you’re not being dense, it’s way down at the bottom of the dialog.  (If it’s somewhere else more obvious, then I’m missing it.)  Once you’ve added the Drawing Canvas, you have the full Office 2007 graphics engine available to you.  What this means is that you can build up graphics like you may be used to creating in PowerPoint, with grouping, alignment, etc.

The only drawback I’ve found so far is that I can’t paste graphic objects from the Vista Snipping Tool into the Drawing Canvas.  Instead, I find that it works to save the screen snip to a file and then use the Insert / Picture / From File dialog.  A little cumbersome, but not a bad workaround.

Office 2007 / WSS / MOSS SP2 Is Available

I’m unlikely to unearth better details on this than good ‘ole SharePoint Joel. Check out Joel’s post for all the dirt. If, though, you’re like me and you just say “Gimme the downloads!” here are the key bits:

2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 2 (x86)
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B7816D90-5FC6-4347-89B0-A80DEB27A082
2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 2 (x64)
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B7816D90-5FC6-4347-89B0-A80DEB27A082

2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 2
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B444BF18-79EA-46C6-8A81-9DB49B4AB6E5

Sun ODF PlugIn for Office

We got an ODP file (turns out that’s a presentation file a la Powerpoint) from a friend the other day and couldn’t figure out how to open it until we found the Sun ODF Plug In for Office.

The overview from the above site:

  • The Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office gives users of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint the ability to read, edit and save to the ISO-standard Open Document Format (ODF).
  • The plugin works with Microsoft Office 2007 (Service Pack 1 or higher), Microsoft Office 2003, XP and Microsoft Office 2000.
  • The plugin is based on StarOffice technology and is easy to setup and use, the conversion happens transparently and the additional memory footprint is minimal.
  • The Sun ODF Plugin is currently the only converter with Enterprise support available. Enterprises who want to use the ISO-standardized file format with Microsoft Office can sign service contracts with Sun. Contact Sun Sales for further information.
  • Wait For It…The 2007 Office System Service Pack 2 coming to WSUS in April

    <UPDATE date=”2009-04-15”> Seems I was a day early, as Microsoft announced today that the public release date for SP2 will be April 28.  From Gregg Keizer at Computerworld’s article Microsoft sets Office 2007 SP2 release for April 28:

    Microsoft Corp. has set April 28 as the release date for Office 2007 Service Pack 2 (SP2), the first update to the company’s popular application suite since December 2007.

    Office 2007 SP2 adds support for Open Document Format (ODF) version 1.1 to Word, Excel and PowerPoint; boosts the performance of the Outlook 2007 e-mail client; debuts the ability to uninstall service packs using a separately utility and the Windows command line; and integrates the "Save As PDF/XPS" command into the suite’s applications.

    </UPDATE>

    Sure, this is from the WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) blog, but if SP2 will be available from WSUS, it won’t be far behind on plain old Microsoft Update (nee Windows Update).

    Service Pack 2 for the 2007 Office System will be made available to Windows Server Update Services in April, classified as a service pack.  Service Pack 2 includes some significant work, including: built-in ability to save as ODF & PDF formats, improvements to Outlook’s performance and calendar reliability, significant bug fixes for charts in core Office applications, the ability for client service packs to be removed using an uninstall tool, and a host of customer-requested improvements to the Office Server products.  It is also a rollup of all fixes that have previously been released for Office 2007 products.  Additional information will be posted to the Office Sustaining Engineering blog later this month.

    Thank you.

    -Cecilia Cole
    WSUS Program Manager

    If you (like I) just can’t wait for that great new software smell, keep an eye on the Office Sustaining Engineering blog.  Synthesizing some of the expected features lists out there on the ‘Net, Office 2007 SP2 should bring to the table:

    For Office Desktop Programs

    • Improved Outlook Calendaring Reliability
    • Improved Outlook Performance (thank goodness!)
    • Enabling Object Model support for Charts in PowerPoint and Word
    • Improved cryptographic functionality by supporting all cryptographic algorithms offered by the operating system
    • Improved functionality in Excel’s charting mechanism
    • Ability to ungroup SmartArt graphics (and as a result, the ability to add animations to them in PowerPoint)
    • Ability for Visio to export UML models to an XML file compliant with the XMI standard
      Tool that enables the uninstall of Office client Service Packs

    For Servers

    • Performance and manageability improvements to variations in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages
    • Improvements around processing status approvals from Office Project Web Access into Office Project Professional 2007
    • Improvements to read-only content databases and index rebuild timer jobs in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

    Note the mentions of WSS, ECM, STSADM, etc.  We should expect to see some stability improvements and fixes for MOSS as well.