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Find Your Best Version of Microsoft Office

How to Choose or Shop for the Right Kind of Microsoft Office for You


No doubt about it, finding the best version of Microsoft Office for your device and usage can start to feel overwhelming nowadays. Here is a simple summary of your options to make this as painless as possible!

While many of Microsoft's new devices may already have the appropriate version of Office installed, namely Surface tablets coming pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT, new versions of the world's most popular suite are available for older devices as well--you just need to find the right one.

Newer versions of Microsoft Office are intended to integrate with cloud or mobile lifestyles, though this is optional. Free trial versions are available, which is a great way to find out if cloud productivity is for you.

1. Microsoft Office 2013 for Windows

Office 2013 Logo
(c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Office 2013 is the latest version of Microsoft Office. As opposed to the cloud-based Office 365, just below, it is the traditional desktop version of the suite, but can be cloud-integrated.

Office 2013 comes in a variety of versions you can read more about through this link. In particular, you may be interested in a discounted student version, if you qualify.

You purchase Office 2013 the same way as past versions, by paying for it once.

2. Microsoft Office 365

(Image courtesy of Microsoft Corp.)
(Image courtesy of Microsoft Corp.)

Microsoft has officially merged Cloud Computing and Hybrid Cloud Computing into its latest Office productivity. In other words, Office 365 is the productivity portion of Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud, and the new Office 2013 is part of Office 365.

If this is making your head swim keep in mind this is a pretty big shift in productivity trends. A great way to solidify this is by reading Office 365 and Office 2013...What's the Difference?

Office 365 comes in professional, organizational, personal, or student subscription plans, rather than a one-time purchase.

3. Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and iPad Mini

Editing a Word Document in the Microsoft Office Mobile App for iOS
(c) courtesy of Microsoft

This is an app you can use with an Office 365 subscription. Right now, it is the closest thing to the full experience of Microsoft Office for iOS.

4. Free Microsoft Office Web Apps for Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows

Excel Web Apps
(c) Courtesy of Microsoft

The Office Web Apps are free, simplified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The apps are used on your Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows device through an internet connection. The programs themselves are housed on a remote server. Users are therefore working through Microsoft's cloud environment known as SkyDrive.

5. Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 RT (for RT Tablets such as Surface)

Excel 2013 RT
(c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Office 2013 comes in a special version for Windows 8 RT devices such as Microsoft's Surface RT. A few limitations exist in this version, so it really pays to check this out before deciding on your hardware. If you already have an RT device, this is the most robust version of Office that will work on it, and it probably came pre-installed anyway.

6. Microsoft Office for Windows Phone 8

Microsoft Office for Windows Phone 8
(c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Your best experience for Microsoft Office on Windows Phone 8 comes from a version built just for this device.

7. Microsoft Office On Demand

Microsoft Programs Offered On Demand
(c) Courtesy of Microsoft

You can think of Microsoft Office on Demand as a version or simply as an added feature for Office 2013 or Office 365. Essentially, it allows you to access only that part of each program you are currently using in the same way Netflix or other video on demand services do. Find this under My Office in your Microsoft Account.

Older Versions of Microsoft Office

As you may already know, businesses and individuals often do not get new versions of Microsoft Office until they have been on the market for some time. This may change from this point forward due to Microsoft's new Office Subscriptions which require a monthly fee in exchange for access to the most current version of Office.

Feel free to also connect with information on older versions of Microsoft Office or office software suites:

Microsoft Office 2010 Tools & Tips

Microsoft Office 2007 Tools & Tips

Microsoft Office 2003 Tools & Tips

Please let me know if you have additional questions about productivity software.

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