How to Pick the Right Edition of Microsoft Office

Written by: Jason Lange

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Microsoft Office is an essential tool for individuals, students, and professionals. What most people often don’t realize, however, is that Microsoft Office Suite comes in many different version types that suit different needs, usages, and budgets. The good news is that since there are so many different versions and editions of Microsoft Office Suite to choose from, you can get the exact version you need. The bad news, though, is that if you choose the wrong version for your situation, you could end up wasting money and not getting the applications that you need.

Although this list does not include details about different Microsoft Office license types, it does outline the primary differences between the different version types, and the different editions within each version. As each new version is released, the editions change and are renamed but may still include the same applications and the equivalent edition before it.
Taking some time to understand different Microsoft Office versions and editions is important to finding exactly what you need when you finally purchase Microsoft Office. Once you understand the differences between the various types of licenses, it’s quite simple to pick the right one for you.

2003 Version

  • Basic Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Outlook. This edition is best for home users who do not need it for professional reasons, and who need basic email capabilities.
  • Professional Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Access, and Publisher. This edition includes all applications that were available pre-2007.
  • Small Business Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, and Publisher. This edition is similar to professional, but not as robust.
  • Standard Edition, and Student & Teacher Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. The primary difference between Standard Edition and Student & Teacher Edition – since they both include the same applications – is the fact that Student & Teacher edition is limited to non-commercial use only.

2007 Version

  • Basic Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Outlook. This edition is best for home users who do not need it for professional reasons, and who need basic email capabilities.
  • Home and Student Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. This is an essentials-tyle package without email capabilities.
  • Professional Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Access, and Publisher. This edition is almost all-inclusive, and comes with everything except OneNote.
  • Small Business Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, and Publisher. This edition is best for small business commercial use.
  • Standard Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook. This edition is best for home and student use.
  • Ultimate Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher. This edition is all-inclusive.

2010 Version

  • Home and Business Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft OneNote. This edition is best for home and student use.
  • Home and Student Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. This edition is great for home and student use with an additional note taking capabilities.
  • Professional Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher. This edition is all-inclusive.

2011 Version

  • Home & Business Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, and Microsoft Outlook. This edition is best for home and business use.
  • Home & Student Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. This edition is best for home and student use.

2013 Version

  • Home & Business Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft OneNote. This edition is great for home and student use with an additional note taking capabilities.
  • Home & Student Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote. This edition is best for home and student use.
  • Professional Edition: Includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher. This edition is all-inclusive.

As each version changes the names and configurations of the available editions, it’s important to stay up to date on which editions are equivalent to previous ones, what applications come with each edition, and which one is right for you. It’s also important to note that some editions within the same version that might seem very similar might be differentiated only by their license restrictions – so further research about the associated license types is necessary. Also remember that older versions didn’t have certain applications, like OneNote, but were considered all-inclusive the year it was released. This is important to note if you think you may need all the latest applications available.

Before you purchase Microsoft Office Suite, be sure to review this list of version types and edition types to make sure that you buy the best fit for you. Also, be sure to stay up to date with future versions and compare editions to previous editions, as the names and applications may change.

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Jason Lange

Jason is a freelance software developer and writer hailing from Denver, CO. He spent 6 years writing code for Microsoft and various federal agencies before switching to writing prose full time.

3 thoughts on “How to Pick the Right Edition of Microsoft Office

  1. Pingback: How to Use a Microsoft Office Product Key Card and Save Money

  2. Janet Graupman on said:

    I work as secretary at a small private school & would like to upgrade my home computer to MS Office Professional 2013. I use these at school: Word, Excel, Publisher, Access, Outlook.
    So I am wondering if I can get an academic discount to install MS Office Professional on my home desktop and laptop, so I can work on school stuff at home?

    • Hi Janet, there are a couple factors involved. Give us a call at 877.292.7712 and we’ll discuss your situation and see if you qualify for the academic program.

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