Archive for February, 2009

Software Savings: Microsoft Office on the cheap

Piggy-bankIf you use Microsoft Office—Word for word-processing, Excel for spreadsheets, Powerpoint for presentations—you'll likely be faced with the need to purchase a new copy of the suite if you get a new Windows computer. Don't even think about using an Office version earlier than 2003 with a Vista-based computer; it's incompatible. And if you decide to install your existing copy of 2003 on a new PC, be aware that you'll lose Microsoft’s mainstream support as soon as April.

The "Standard" edition of Office 2007 isn't cheap: From online retailers, it runs about $325 for new users, or about $200 if you own an earlier version (with a separate install CD, not simply pre-installed on a PC you bought).

But you can get a version of Office 2007 more cheaply, provided you can do without some of its business-oriented components, such as Outlook or Access (not to be confused with Outlook Express, which is part of Windows XP, and has been replaced by Windows Mail in Vista).

Microsoft offers Office 2007 Home and Student edition, which lists for $150, but I found online for as little as $80. (It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.) You're allowed to install it on three PCs per household, including laptops that might be taken to school, so long as the student hasn't moved out of the household. And, unlike previous "student" versions of Office, it has no requirement that there be a student in the household.

There's no upgrade version of Home and Student that costs less than this full version, but buying the full version does qualify you to upgrade to a more-advanced Office version if you later find the need.

If you do have a college student, and don't need to install Office on multiple computers at home, you can get Office 2007 even more cheaply. Microsoft's own site offers Office 2007 Ultimate to bona fide students for just $60. Compare that with the $300 to $600 online retailers charger for Ultimate 2007.

Does the student in your household qualify for this bargain-basement price? Here's what Microsoft’s site says:

You must have a valid e-mail address at an educational institution ending with the domain suffix .EDU (ie, leina@contoso.edu) OR have a valid email address at one of the educational institutions listed.

You must be a student at a U.S. educational institution and must be actively enrolled in at least 0.5 course credit and be able to provide proof of enrollment upon request.

Of course, for the ultimate in cost-saving, nothing beats free. As in the free OpenOffice suite, which includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics, and database applications. It's mostly compatible with Microsoft Office documents, though it doesn't have quite the same advanced feature set.

—Dean Gallea

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Where can I find this satellite dish?

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Sheila

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How do I build my own tripod for a DirecTV satellite dish?


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April

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does weather really affect the picture on a satellite dish?


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Donald

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Help! – How do i I receive Italian, Spanish, Irish TV channels in the UK *without* a satellite dish?


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Amanda

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