Now is the Time to Switch to Microsoft Office 2010 [Editorial]

If you are one of those people who err on the side of caution, and avoid jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon with every update, you’re not alone. Fact is, I am right there with you. For a number of reasons, I have found myself to be a late adopter when it comes to new software versions. The most pressing reason for my delay is cost. The second is the issue of training. In this article, I would like to tell you how I overcame some of my reservations and why I think now is the time to switch to Office 2010.

My first reservation with upgrading to any new version of software is cost. Office 2010 offers real bang for your buck, though! I love the fact that Microsoft offers different combinations of products in this set of Office suites. It’s not just one size fits all anymore. Below, you will see a chart that shows which products come with the different suites. For example, if you don’t use Access or Publisher, you will be better off going with the cheaper Home and Business Edition. This gives much needed flexibility for your budget.

Office 2010 Versions

In addition to the flexibility in the purchasing decision, Office 2010’s features really are great. The big feature that sold me on Office 2010 is the ability to collaborate  using Web Apps. If you have a Windows Live account (which can be set up for free) or a Windows  SharePoint  server, you can publish your Office documents straight to the web. You can literally work on your documents anywhere where you have web access. With Windows Live SkyDrive you have 25GB of FREE storage for your documents. But wait, there’s more! The graphics capabilities have improved dramatically. The addition of Sparklines in Excel is a great addition, too. I count these features as a good return on investment.

The next hurdle to upgrading that I had to overcome was the thought of having to retrain everyone in the office on how to use this new version. If you are in the same boat, allow me to put your fears to rest; this is one of the most intuitive versions of Office to date. There are also tons of resources available to help you familiarize yourself and your trainees with the new features in Office 2010. Microsoft Office’s website has an entire section dedicated to training, not to mention some great tutorials here on Techie Buzz!

Why is now the time to make the switch, though? Office 2003 is getting old. It will be 8 years old in November! Yep, I could hardly believe it myself. In fact, Microsoft ended mainstream support for Office 2003 back in April of 2009. See the chart below to learn more about Office 2003’s support schedule.

Microsoft Mainstream Support

When mainstream support ends, a lot of software developers stop making software compatible with the aging version. This is mostly because it raises their cost of development if they needed support from Microsoft for some reason.

I believe Microsoft did a lot of things right with Office 2010. Offering different versions to suit the budget, and needs, of different users was a great start. They added some really nice and useful features, key word here being useful. I hope this gives you a little more confidence if you were on the fence about making the switch to Office 2010. I am as skeptical a guy as you’ll ever meet, but I believe that this is a switch worth making. As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.

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Darrin Jenkins

Darrin is an IT manager for a large electrical contractor in Louisville KY. He is married and has 3 kids. He loves helping people with their technology needs. He runs a blog called Say Geek!