Microsoft Corp. today released the second service pack for Office XP, combining bounties of updates to the company's suite of office software into a single package.

The service pack 2 (SP2) is available as a 15mb download from Microsoft's site or can be picked ordered on CD-ROM.

The pack will be a collection of all the bug fixes that Microsoft has issued and has been working on since December's release of SP1, including security flaws discovered in Excel and Word, as well as in Outlook earlier this year.

In addition, SP2 contains 5 previously released fixes from April, May, and June, one of which corrects an annoying flaw that may shut down word when trying to send multiple attachments.

SP2 is set to bring cures for many of the little annoyances users have encountered from the fifteen-month-old software suite, including fixes for Access, Word, FrontPage, Outlook, Publisher, PowerPoint and SharePoint Team Services, as well as shared Office apps.

Among the major changes, a fix for Excel that corrects images from being flipped when an Excel 97 workbook is opened in Excel 2002, and an update to correct a problem where objects were incorrectly displayed when using some third-party magnification software.

The company also changes a number of problems facing foreign users, including the inability to set Ukrainian as the default language in either the Ukranian or U.S. versions, as well as altering flawed language in the German privacy policy.

Stability improvements developed as a result of Microsoft's error reports, an online feature that allows you to send software problems directly to the company, were also added in to the release.

Of importance in this category, SP-2 will include an update for PowerPoint that corrects the application from unexpectedly closing when clicking on a link to view a different slide in the slide sorter view, and an update for Outlook that stops the application from shutting down when a mail recipient from an e-mail message is added to the user's contacts list.

Microsoft has added some additional security specs, including an Excel update that prevents the loss of digital signatures when auto-saving spreadsheets.

The software giant has set up a technical Webcast to assist with deployment in enterprise computing environments. Oddly, the company has rescheduled the Webcast for September 11th, the one year anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.

Today's update is the first major change to Office XP since Microsoft fully implemented a new licensing program at the end of last month, under which customers pay 29 percent for desktop software on an annual basis.

The software giant is currently working on the next version of Office, code-named Office 11, which is expected to involve significant use of XML . The new release isn't expected to make its way to the public until the middle of next year.