Office Suites Guide

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For email, word processing or spreadsheet software, most people are familiar with Microsoft’s Office suite – Outlook, Word and Excel. Additional Office applications are Powerpoint (presentations), Publisher (desktop publishing) and Access (database).

For most users these days, we recommend Microsoft 365 Business subscription packages which include the MS Office suite. These work on both Windows and Mac machines, and if you have several machines (ie one at home and one at work) you can install Office on all of them with your single licence.

If you need Office but don't want to subscribe to 365 and are buying a new machine, then it’s usually cheaper to buy Office with the machine. For home users with at least one person living there who is attending part- or full-time education as a student or teacher, you can get the Student & Teachers Edition for about £120 including VAT. Note though that this doesn't include Outlook, and also that not all versions of the retail Office suite include all the features of the 365 version - for example, Home & Business 2021's version of Outlook will not connect to Exchange Online Archiving mailboxes - you need a Professional or 365 version to do that.

Otherwise, the full-price versions of Office start at about £200 for an upgrade from a previous boxed version, or £260 for a new boxed version. Tabard IT can supply all these versions separately, or with a new PC or laptop.

Note that if you buy a PC with Office, it’s usually an “OEM” version, which means that it can’t legally be transferred to another PC, even if it’s unloaded from the first one.

An alternative is OpenOffice, which works in much the same way as Microsoft Office, and can open, edit and save all the same types of files as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. You can download the whole package free from or we can supply on CD for a small charge if you don’t have broadband. If you don’t like installing software, Tabard IT can come to you and install it.

For more information on Office, OpenOffice or buying new PCs, please contact Tabard IT.