ISV foundation has been impressed by Microsoft’s response to their notice regarding a bug report that they have labeled the Microsoft Office 2003 PDF generation anomaly. Microsoft reaction was very rapid, professional and well-organized with respect to its actions on ISV Foundation behalf and they are very grateful.

It was Microsoft which itself acknowledged the problem with applications like Office 2007 PDF creator that was discovered by a local Bible translator and had released solution for the trouble this month, as told by the Corporate Vice President Jeanne Sheldon.

It was found by a Bible scholar, William Welty that the Word 2007 PDF version has some number of words missing or added. This was related to the ISV Foundation’s Bible and it was also available for download.

At first, Welty considered that the problem lies in Adobe Acrobat Distiller, which is the first and still the dominant creator of portable document format, files popularly known as PDF but then Adobe clarified that it was a problem with the PDF creator in Microsoft office.

In the month of November, the in reading and authoring application in charge of Microsoft Office, Sheldon met with Welty after reading the Register’s story. A few technicians were assigned to rectify the problem which turned out to be the problem arose with major MS Word users not with academic or legal users.

As elaborated by her the problem occurs, she said, when a document involves three conditions:

  1. Copy is set in multiple columns.
  2. It contains footnotes that reset on each page.
  3. The footnotes are variable in width.

If any of the conditions are evolved then the software may either delete or duplicate a word, as confirmed by Sheldon. That issue is more likely to occur in large documents in which the text is only justified, causing text movement that “confuses the pointer” in the software.

As it is a known fact that legal and academic documents contain footnotes, they rarely are set in multiple columns. The newspapers have columns and text is full justification, but they don’t use footnotes. It’s these were the rare situations that software engineers don’t find when they test their products, Sheldon replied that if there is a deep commitment to quality and testing as Microsoft does then you would find all the mainstream errors prior to release.

She also anticipates the correction to be part of the next round of fixes incorporating the past three months of work which is probably going to be released in the week of Dec. 13.Welty also said that he was impressed with Microsoft’s response after Sheldon contacted him. She also sent me a free (software) upgrade, which was nice of her and she’ll be also sending   him the fixes so that they can test it.

ISV used Microsoft Word to create its online version but first will use the traditional commercial printing for the hard copy edition that will be made available in the spring.