Microsoft has released the second package of bug and security fixes for its Office XP application.

Typically, Microsoft Service Packs contain a collection of all the bug and security fixes made available on a separate basis since the product's release. But the Office XP SP-2 (Service Pack 2) also contains a new fix, which is being made available for the first time, to protect Office web components from hackers. Excel 2002 has also been updated to prevent the lost of digital signatures when users auto-save a spreadsheet.

In addition to bug and security fixes, SP-2 contains the latest product updates designed to improve the stability and performance of Office XP, according to Simon Marks, a product manager on Microsoft's Office team.

Marks said the maximum size of SP-2 is 15MB, and users can download it from Microsoft's website or order a free CD and pay for the shipping charges.

SP-1 for Office XP was released on 13 December last year, and must be installed before SP-2.

Beta versions of the new Office 11.0 product are due to be released in the next few months, with the product launch to follow some time next year, Marks noted. The new version will feature enhanced support for XML, additional collaboration capabilities, and improvements to the user interface of the Outlook mail client.