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Office 2010 Version Comparison

written by: J. Edward Casteele•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/26/2010

Microsoft Office 2010 is scheduled to be released in June 2010. As with previous releases of Microsoft Office, several different versions are going to be available to consumers. Each version builds on the contents of the previous, allowing users to pick the one that best meets their needs.

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    Office 2010

    Office 2010 updates and improves popular programs such as Microsoft Word. Microsoft Office 2010 is scheduled for release on June 15, 2010, for customers using the Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems; Mac and Windows Mobile releases are slated to follow later in the year. The productivity suite introduces a number of changes to the popular 2007 version of Office 2010, including refinement of the "Ribbon" interface and the introduction of online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote which will work from within a web browser. Office 2010 is the first version of Microsoft Office to have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions available for installation, allowing users of the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7 to have productivity software designed specifically to work on their OS architecture.

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    Different Versions, Different Uses

    As with previous Microsoft Office releases, Office 2010 will be available in different versions to meet the needs of a variety of customers. Retail editions of Office 2010 contain programs aimed toward the needs of different users, ranging from commonly-used applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for students to less common programs such as Publisher and Access for use by professionals. In addition to the retail versions of Office 2010 that are available, Microsoft has replaced Microsoft Works with the new Office 2010 Starter Edition so that those who buy new computers in the future will be able to open and save Word and Excel files right from the start.

    Because of the different roles intended for the various versions of Microsoft Office 2010, the installation limitations will vary depending on the version that is purchased. Office 2010 Home and Student Edition, for example, will be available in family packs that allow installation on up to three different computers with a single product key; other versions of Office 2010 that are designed for work environments will only allow installation on two computers (presumably for home and for the workplace.) Individual product keys will be available directly from Microsoft to allow additional installations for those who already have access to the Office 2010 software.

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    Version Comparison

    Starter Edition: Office 2010 Starter Edition is comprised of only two products, the Starter Edition versions of Word and Excel. Starter Edition is only available as pre-installed software on purchased computers, and is intended to replace Microsoft Works to provide basic word processing and spreadsheet functionality. Users of Starter Edition versions of the programs will not have access to the advanced features contained in the full retail versions.

    Home and Student Edition: Office 2010 Home and Student Edition contains full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It is designed to provide word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and organizational functionality to home users and students. Office 2010 Home and Student Edition has a suggested retail price of $149, with individual product keys being available from Microsoft for $119.

    Home and Business Edition: Office 2010 Home and Business Edition contains the same products that are available with the Home and Student Edition, adding Outlook to the package for email access and organization. Office 2010 Home and Business Edition has a suggested retail price of $279, with individual product keys being available for $199.

    Professional Edition: Office 2010 Professional Edition contains the same products as the Home and Business Edition, adding Microsoft Publisher (for desktop publishing) and Microsoft Access (for database management) to the software package as well. The Office 2010 Professional Edition has a suggested retail price of $499, with individual product keys being available for $349. A $99 "Professional Academic" version of the package will be available as well, but will only be available through authorized academic resellers.