People who have been using computers since Windows 98 or 2000 will remember the Microsoft Works suite that came bundled with Dell and HP computers. This was a low functioning productivity suite forword processing, budget planning, calendar scheduling, as an alternative to the full Office suites. You can still buy Microsoft Works but the new Office 2010 offering for entry level productivity is the Office 2010 Starter Edition.
There are major differences between Works and Starter Edition. Firstly, if your PC OEM manufacturer installs this for you on your new computer, it’s free. Unlike Works you can not purchase the Starter pack in retail stores or after you purchase a new PC. It is only available through Microsoft authorized system builders. The free edition involves putting up with a small Microsoft advertisement in the lower right hand corner of the application.
The Starter Edition installation also includes the full installation of any of the new Office 2010 suites, such as Home & Student (no Outlook), Home & Office (no Publisher), and Office professional. You can easily activate the Office suite you need by buying a licence card from your OEM system builder.
As you expect from an entry level Office suite there are limitations such as no macro support or integration of add-ins. With Starter Edition you can create, open and edit Office documents and spreadsheets without spending a cent until you’re ready to purchase the full program.