Know which version of Microsoft Office you use? That's all you need to start downloading an important update known as a service pack. Simple!
Microsoft Office 2013
Tip: How to know which bit version you need? Determine which version is right for your device by visiting this article on how to Choose Between a 34- and 64-bit Version of Office.
Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 is a cloud suite, and one of its advantages is, you don't need updates or service packs. Instead, Microsoft takes care of that on its servers, and when you login to your Office 365 account, you will automatically be accessing the latest version.
Microsoft Office Online (Web Apps)
Not familiar with what these are? Find out: Free Microsoft Office Online Programs
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft Office 2003
Microsoft Office XP
This contains all updates included in Office XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Office XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), and updates released after SP2.
Microsoft Office 2000
What to Expect from the Service Pack Installation Process
Service packs are simple to install but the process does run about 30 minutes. In the middle of the process you will be asked to shut down your computer and restart, so be sure to save work and close programs before you begin.
Service Packs and Patches
Microsoft continually fixes aspects of Office even after each version (2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, etc) is released. Since not every user wants to update each fix individually as they are completed, service packs evolved. They allow you to install a bunch of fixes in a set, all at once--and staying updated is important.
Many users do not wait until that service pack bundle is released. Instead, they follow a monthly forum known as Patch Tuesday, which facilitates manual updates to Office and Windows on a more regular basis.
Manual Versus Automatic Updates
Below, find links for manually downloading the latest and greatest service pack.
For other options including setting up automatic updates along these lines, please visit 3 Options for Keeping Your Version of Microsoft Office Current.
Behind the Scenes: How Service Packs Work
Interested in the nitty-gritty? Not all software or operating system service packs are built on the same premise. A given service pack might be cumulative or incremental. A cumulative service pack includes all the fixes of previous versions as well. On the other hand, an incremental service pack gives the downloader only the new value compared to previous service packs.
Microsoft is a perfect example. The Service Release, or SR-1, was an incremental update. This tended to create messes because it meant sometimes one had to install the Service Release before a Service Pack. Now, the Service Packs for Microsoft Office are cumulative which means users do not have to de-tangle a mess of updates and fixes. For example, you must first install Office 2000 SR1a before finalizing installation of Office 2000 SP3.
Why You Should Keep Your Service Pack Current
Microsoft states on their download site that service packs "improve security, performance, and stability. Additionally, the SP is a roll-up of all previously released updates." This is why it is important to stay current with your service pack.
If you are manually downloading service packs, please keep in touch with my blog for updates. I signal when new service packs arrive on the scene. As ever, please let me know if you have any other questions.