Windows Office 2010

With seven editions to choose from buying Microsoft Office 2010 might seem like a daunting task although only three are actually available through the usual retail methods. Each edition adds a few more features than the last and a few pounds to the price tag. This guide looks to give a brief overview of what to expect from each edition and whether or not it’s worth your investment.

Firstly, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition is only available as a preloaded application on newly purchased PCs. It’s essentially free although is the only edition to not include the new Word or Excel programs, instead opting for basic word processing programs. If this is all you need then stick with this free version of office but beware of the advertisements that come with it!

Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student offers a lot of what the Starter Edition does not; not only Word and Excel but PowerPoint 2010 and OneNote 2010. This edition is available for around £70 and unless you’re looking for Outlook 2010 and Publisher then this is as far as you need to look.

Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Business offers Outlook but not Publisher and is available for around £150. Do you really need Access and Publisher? If so, you’re going to have to pay around £225 for the privilege and invest in Microsoft Office 2010 Professional. Microsoft Professional Academic is identical except for the £50 price tag. The catch is it is only available from designated educational retailers and there’s criteria you must meet for the discounted price.

The Professional Plus edition comes with InfoPath, Microsoft Communicator 2010 and SharePoint Workspace 2010 although, like Microsoft Office 2010 Standard, is only available if you’re buying licenses in bulk. The more licenses you buy, the cheaper they’re likely to be.

In terms of actually purchasing Office 2010, there are two methods for the versions that are on general sale. The Boxed Full Versions, available from retail outlets and online, come with full CD copies of the applications, full hard copies of the manuals and licenses for two PCs. The Product Key Cards are essentially just the product activation codes that can be used to download one installation of Office 2010. The Product Key Cards a good deal cheaper than the full boxed versions.

One other alternative to purchasing an entire Office edition is to use the Office Web applications. These are internet browser based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint and offer a limited functionality not dissimilar to Word and Excel Starter versions but with the added benefit of PowerPoint. They’re not robust enough to replace the traditional versions of the programs although form somewhat of a bridge between Microsoft Office 2010 Starter and the rest of the editions.

In conclusion, it’s best to stick with the Starter Edition until you’re sure you’ve a need for programs available only on the higher spec. editions. Then, simply find the cheapest edition that meets your need which, in most cases will be either Office 2010 Home and Student for power point presentations, Home and Business for Outlook email, or Professional for Publisher and Access.

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