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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Which Office 2010 Edition Is Right For You?

MS Office 2010 Starter Edition replaces MS Works, Microsoft's former introductory-level efficiency suite. If you only need essential word-processing and spreadsheet functions, with small stare for serious desktop publishing or data analysis, then Office 2010 Starter is perhaps good enough.

Office 2010 Home and Student is departing to serve approximately everyone Office Starter Edition doesn't. Do you need macros, or pivot tables, or to create PowerPoint presentations? Then you need Office 2010 Home and Student, at the extremely least.

Do you need Microsoft Outlook 2010? Then you're going to shell out an extra $80 to $130 for Office 2010 Home and Business.

Do you need Microsoft Publisher 2010 or Access 2010? Then you need Office 2010 Professional. Be certain you can't live without those apps, because they'll cost you an extra $230 to $360 over the Home and Student Edition of Office 2010. (Unless you can qualify for the Office 2010 professional Academic discount, which is probably the best possible deal for any version of Office 2010.)
If you need Microsoft InfoPath, Communicator, or SharePoint Workspace, you'll need a TechNet or MSDN membership, or to talk to a Microsoft volume reseller. That said, these are fairly corporate-centric tools, so most households and even small businesses won't need to worry about the bells and whistles of Office 2010 Professional Plus.

Bottom Line: Stick with Office 2010 Starter Edition until you're sure you need more than it will offer. It's free and Microsoft has made upgrades extremely easy -- most of the ads in Office 2010 Starter are for full versions of Office 2010, so simply click one to begin the upgrade process. Once you've identified what Office 2010 Starter doesn't have but that you truly need, you'll be able to choose between Office 2010 Home and Student (for PowerPoint), Home and Business (for Outlook), and Professional (for Publisher and Access).
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