During the last 10 years, we have had the opportunity to buy 4 different versions of Microsoft Office.  I find there is still some confusion about which version of Microsoft Office is the best so I thought I’d write a quick summary.

The major upgrade was between Office 2003 and Office 2007.  The whole look of the interface changed to a ‘ribbon’ and additional functionality was included.  The functionality made improvements to Word and PowerPoint by including better ways to format shapes, themes, SmartArt, the ability to crop pictures.  In Excel conditional formatting and pivot tables became easier.  This was a definite improvement – though some training was required to make sure the change-over happened smoothly.

In 2010, the ribbon interface came to Outlook, the image editing in all the tools became better and you could now edit videos as well right within the tool.  Office 2010 included a fantastic screen clipping tool that I use roughly 20 times every day!  If you write material that needs screen shots – this is worth the upgrade alone.

Now we have 2013.  So what is in this version?  The interface has changed slightly and Skydrive (Microsoft’s cloud functionality) has become integrated into the tool. The interface supports touch screens – if you can type on a tablet this might work for you? I like the way that the tool remembers where you were in a document and takes you straight there when you return.  Some of the quick analysis functions on Excel are useful and the new version of Outlook looks interesting – but that is about it

As regarding upgrading:

  • If you are still using 2003, then you should seriously consider upgrading to 2013 immediately.
  • If you are on 2007, then there are some tools that make it worth upgrading to 2013
  • If you already have 2010, there really is no need to upgrade.

From my experience, I do have 2013 on a laptop (with windows 8) so I can use it for training purposes but I haven’t felt the need to upgrade my main machine which still uses 2010.

What do you think?  Which version do you use?  You may be interested in our City & Guilds accredited online Level 3 Microsoft Office qualification or our face to face Microsoft Office training solutions.