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How to Know Which Edition of Office 2008 for Mac to Buy

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac comes in three editions: Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition, Office 2008 for Mac, and Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition. All three editions have the exact same versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Entourage, plus a copy of Microsoft Messenger (an Instant Messaging program that you can download from the Microsoft Web site for free). The differences lie in what you get in addition to the big four.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition retails for $149.95. As the least expensive edition, it includes only Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage, and Messenger, but nothing more. Most users don’t need any other programs, so unless you can find a compelling reason to spend two or three times more money for the same four applications, you should probably choose this edition.

    You don’t have to prove you’re a student (or live in a home) to purchase the Home and Student Edition for under $150. So, for most users, that edition provides the most cost-effective way to acquire the big four Office applications.

  • Office 2008 for Mac retails for $399.95. What do you get for the additional $250? You get Microsoft Server Exchange Support and Automator Actions for Workflows in Microsoft Office. Entourage can integrate with corporate Exchange e-mail servers, and the entire suite supports Mac OS X’s built-in automation software, better known as Automator. If you don’t know what those items are, then get the Home and Student Edition.

  • Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition retails for $499.95. It includes everything that the Office 2008 for Mac edition offers, plus Microsoft Expression Media, a professional digital asset management tool.

    The Special Media Edition is based on the product formerly known as iView MediaPro, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2006.

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