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Cannot be upgraded, so be careful!
on May 20, 2012
This software is the same quality software we all expect from Microsoft and I am certain you'll be pleased with it (more on that later)---but first, be very careful about what you're buying, because there is no longer an upgrade path between Office 2010 versions:
I purchased this product for my brother, who did not need Outlook. Once installed, however, I realized that the software labels itself "Not for commercial use"--meaning, it's not licensed for use in a business, and this was going to be for use in an office. This was clearly my fault: I was only looking at the included products, and not thinking about the license terms.
No matter; I figured I would simply upgrade him to "Home and Business"--only to find that Microsoft's latest upgrade strategy is...well, there isn't one. According to Microsoft, this keeps things simpler for consumers, because apparently we were having trouble understanding the difference between "upgrade" and "full" versions. So to upgrade, you just have to buy the higher-level version at full price. For this reason, I feel Microsoft should do a little more "are you sure?" work during installation (for example, "Is this software going to be used in a business environment?" would have been a great question in my case...)
So if you're purchasing this for a business, OR you think you will need Outlook, Access or Publisher eventually, strongly consider buying either the Home and Business version (adds Outlook and business licensing) or Professional version (additionally adds Access and Publisher) instead of this one.
As far as the software itself, this suite is everything most people need: Word (the word-processor), Excel (spreadsheet), PowerPoint (presentation software) and OneNote (a note-taking app optimized for laptop and tablet use), with a number of nice improvements over 2007: They replaced the big round button with a "File" tab for a more consistent (and less confusing) interface, image editing is much improved (not Photoshop, but WAY better than before), and PowerPoint transitions are much easier to control now as well. Not huge stuff, but I do think this version is worth the extra money compared to the 2007 version, and you'll find yourself becoming productive with it in a hurry--especially if you're coming from version 2007 (Version 2003 users will take longer, but it's worth it, promise!)
(***UPDATE: When I originally realized my purchasing mistake, I emailed Amazon asking them if I could return the software. After re-reading the license terms, however, I realized there would be no way they could. So, I just purchased the Home and Business version and considered it an expensive lesson. After writing this review to warn others, however, I was SHOCKED AND STUNNED to find an email in my inbox explaining that my original purchase of the Home and Student version had been cheerfully refunded.
This was nearly unbelievable to me. I clearly didn't deserve a refund, but Amazon gave me one anyway. Whatever gripe I may have with the Microsoft licensing strategy, it was more than made up for by Amazon customer service. Wow. I will never buy software anywhere else after this...)