Thanks to Luis Escalante of Windows 98 Central for the tip: Microsoft Corporation is preparing to release the first service release for Office 2000, dubbed Office 2000 SR-1, sometime in the near future. In fact, sources tell me that this collection of bug fixes and updates, which recently hit the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) milestone, will become publicly available in the second week of March.

Office 2000 SR-1 combines a number of new updates with the collection of previously available fixes into a single, easy-to-manage and deploy package. Each of the major Office applications--Word, Excel, Outlook, FrontPage, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, and PhotoDraw--have been updated along with the addition of a number of security fixes. And with SR-1, Office 2000 is brought up to snuff with the system components in Windows 2000, which was released last week.

When it finally ships, Office 2000 SR-1 will become available as a free download or CD. And the Office Resource Kit Web site will issue instructions for system administrators that would like to deploy Office 2000 SR-1 efficiently. I'll have more information as it becomes available. For now, you can check out the Office 2000 Service Release-1 Web site, which is in a holding pattern until the patch is completed