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How to Choose the Right Edition of Office 2011 for Mac

1 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Installing Office 2011 for Mac

Office 2011 for Mac comes in several editions, so when installing new Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more on your Mac, you need to do some research. Each version of Office 2011 for Mac has a different set of applications and features, as well as a different price. The following list helps you pick the edition that's right for your purposes:

  • Home and Student Edition: This version comes with complete editions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Messenger, Microsoft Query, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and Silverlight. In addition, you get some nifty new fonts. Purchasers of Home and Student Edition are entitled to use the free templates, add-ins, sounds, backgrounds, clip art, and other materials from Microsoft's extensive online offerings. Home and Student Edition users can also store and share documents on Microsoft’s SkyDrive Web site. Product validation is required.

  • Home and Business Edition: In addition to everything included with Home and Student Edition, the Home and Business Edition comes with the Microsoft Outlook e-mail and organizer program and the ability to use the SharePoint portal server, a file server often used by large businesses.

  • Volume License Edition: Purchasers of large quantities of Office 2011 may save considerable amounts of money by purchasing under the volume license program. Many universities, colleges, and schools take advantage of this program to offer free or low cost Office 2011 to employees, faculty, staff, and students.

  • Limited time trial: This is not a separate version of the product, but a test version. After using this version for the trial period, you should know whether you plan to purchase Office 2011. To purchase, all you need is a product key, so you don't have to reinstall anything if you decide to keep Office 2011.

  • SkyDrive Edition (free): SkyDrive is the name of a Microsoft Web site where you can upload, share, and edit documents. On SkyDrive, Microsoft offers lightweight editions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for free online to compete head-to-head with other free applications such as Google Docs, OpenOffice, and Lotus Symphony. In addition, the SkyDrive versions of Office applications work as a seamless complement to the desktop versions of Office 2011 for Mac.

    Being online, SkyDrive requires no installation. There's no software to download or install other than your Web browser, which may already be installed as part of your Mac OS X. SkyDrive editions of Office applications run equally well in Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox.

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