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Clearing Up the 6 (Confusing) Ways to Get Office 2013

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  1. Old-Fashioned Office 2013: Standard, Professional, and More
  2. Office 2013 RT
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Microsoft is making some big changes to the way it has offered Microsoft Office in the past. Today we have new ways to get software, and Microsoft is stirring the pot and making things even more confusing by offering a variety of Office versions with different ways of purchasing. Katherine Murray seeks to clear up some of the confusion by explaining the various ways to get Office and detailing the benefits of each offering.

Whether you’ve been using Microsoft Office for years or you’re just getting started with this mega-popular suite, with the latest version of Office, you have choices to make about the version that best fits your working lifestyle. Office 2013 is designed to enable users to work on a variety of devices and computers, and access their files and applications in a variety of ways. Microsoft accomplishes this kind of flexibility by making some versions of Office 2013 cloud-based, which means that your files and the applications themselves are stored on servers you access over the web as opposed to installing the software and storing the files on your computer.

This article looks at the different ways you can get Office 2013, and seeks to clear up the confusion about how you can get the version that fits the way you like to work. Specifically, we’ll explore traditional Office 2013 suites, Office 365, Office 2013 RT, Office Web Apps, Office on Demand, and Office Mobile.

Old-Fashioned Office 2013: Standard, Professional, and More

Microsoft Office (the way you’ve known it in the past) was packaged and sold on DVD. Today’s Office 2013 (while you can still buy it off the Best Buy shelf) contains only some marketing materials and a piece of paper containing a product key, which you can use to log in to the website provided and download the version of Office you purchased. The installation process is simple and straightforward, but if you just won’t budge from the DVD idea, you can still purchase one online in some places. (Do a search online before you head out to the computer store, though.)

Similar to the Office releases in the past, Microsoft has offered a menu of different Office selections so that you can get the version you want—with the apps you want—without paying for items you don’t need. The various editions of Office are:

  • Home & Student, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote and is designed primarily for the student and home user
  • Home & Business, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. This user might include someone who is running a small business or cottage industry
  • Standard, which increases the app list by one so the software includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Publisher. You can’t purchase Office 2013 Standard through retail outlets; this is available only through volume licensing (for example, the company you work for purchases Office 2013 Standard for all employees and received a certain number of licenses to be assigned to individual users).
  • Professional, which adds Access to the mix, and is available through retail
  • Professional Plus, which includes all the apps in the other editions and adds InfoPath and Lync. Professional Plus is also available only through volume licensing.

So if you’re buying Office 2013 for your own use, you’re limited to the Home & Student, Home & Business, or Professional versions of the traditional suite. If your company is buying it for you, you’ll wind up using either Office 2013 Standard or Office 2013 Professional Plus.

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