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From the very beginning of the personal computer revolution in the early 1990s that brought a computer into every household, Microsoft Office (along with Microsoft Windows) has been a part of the daily life of most users. With programs that are as famous as most celebrities, Microsoft Office remains, almost thirty years later, as relevant and important to day-to-day computer use for billions of people around the world as it was in those early release days.

In fact, in many ways, Microsoft Office is more relevant than ever. As more and more work for school, business, and personal use becomes exclusively digital, Office has gone from a regularly used set of programs to an indispensable suite without which it can be impossible to achieve even the most basic of life goals.

As its responsibility has increased, so too has Microsoft Office become more powerful, more responsive, and more effective, all of which can be seen particularly in the Microsoft Office 2010 suite of programs.

What Is Microsoft Office?

While just about everyone has experienced Microsoft Office in one way or another, it’s worth point out just what Office is up front.

Microsoft Office is a set of programs, often called a suite, which are designed to cover all basic program needs for work, study, and personal use. These programs include:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Access
  • Skype

All programs will be described in more detail below. In essence though, these programs work together to handle word processing, data entry, presentations, email, scheduling, note taking, and much more.

Who Is Microsoft Office for?

The short answer to this question is: everyone. Microsoft Office has extreme scalability in use and features, allowing it to work for those who are rare computer users and novices with software to huge corporations that rely on the programs every minutes of every day for all manner of complex usage.

With different suite options available (all of which are explained in more detail below), Office can accommodate the needs of students, freelancers, small businesses, and corporations.

General Microsoft Office 2010 Upgrades

There are a number of general improvements to Microsoft Office 2010 that go across the board for all programs. The first and perhaps most noticeable is the introduction of the Backstage view. This lays out all of the major program commands in a screen wide option which makes it easier to pick through the many different options when opening documents, printing, saving, and doing other basic tasks.

A similarly useful new tool is the File tab option, which replaces the much disliked Office button found in Office 2007.

There are also new preview options, new pasting options, new keyboard shortcuts, and a far more useful and well-organized ribbon to choose tools from. These advances combine to make it easier to work with the content within a document, no matter what that content is.

Two other major upgrades worth noting are the introduction of the Microsoft cloud service OneDrive and the new document co-authoring abilities.

OneDrive allows users to save and retrieve documents through the cloud, so they are available at all times and on all devices. This freedom is expanded through the Office Online app abilities that allow users to work through browsers on any program. Combined, OneDrive and Office Online allow users the freedom to work on documents away from their primary device.

develop documents with other users in real-time. These abilities go beyond just changing basic content within a document. It also includes the ability to send messages back and forth and discuss these changes. Conversations can be expanded in some version of Office 2010 to move to Skype for Business.

Microsoft Office 2010 Program Descriptions

With the major updates covered in the above section, it is worthwhile to spend some time reviewing just what the programs that come in different Office 2010 versions are capable of doing. For any programs you are uncertain of, read through the descriptions below.

Microsoft Word 2010

The world’s most popular word processor, Microsoft Word makes it possible to develop documents of any and every sort. Just consider this small sample of document capabilities:

  • Memos
  • Envelopes
  • Quizzes
  • Invoices
  • Blogs
  • Web pages
  • Letters
  • Essays
  • Novel and other book writing
  • Letterheads
  • Instructional guides
  • Brochures
  • Pamphlets
  • Resumes
  • CVs
  • Calendars
  • Coloring pages

Again, that is just a small sample of what Word is capable of offering its users in Microsoft Office 2010.

In short, Word is able to handle any and every text-focused task a user can come up with. Not only can it accommodate all kinds of documents and all manner of creative redesigns of those documents, it also makes it easier than ever to create those documents. It includes templates that layout documents for major document types, a world-class spell checker and grammar checker, and autocomplete and auto suggest, which help users correct and adjust spelling and grammar as it occurs in the document.

Microsoft Excel 2010

In partnership with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel is perhaps the other particularly well-known and well-used program. Whether it is organizing information for a science report, handling household expenses, or keeping track of the production of individual employees, Excel is the best program available on the market to organize data and learn more from it.

Among its most popular features are its tables, charts, and graphs, which make it possible to visualize data more effectively and to see trends that might be opaque in the numbers themselves. There are also powerful formulas that can handle all the advanced calculations automatically that would otherwise take users hours (and might end up wrong anyway).

Excel also makes it easier to keep data safe through special read-only security features, while making it easier to locate information through its look up features.

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

Anyone who has sat through a class in the last twenty years has probably sat through at least a few PowerPoint presentations. The reason these are so ubiquitous is because they are at once easy to design and enjoyable to watch.

PowerPoint makes it easy to build up presentations in a slide-by-slide design that allows for either template use or free design. Slides can use animations and transitions, while also incorporating lots of different types of media, including audio and video files, charts and graphs, images, and text.

Once a slideshow is complete presentations can be recorded to practice or sharing, run individually through clicking, or broadcast out.

Microsoft OneNote 2010

Perhaps the program that is most unjustly forgotten in the Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft OneNote does more than allow users to type out some basic text where a pen and paper might do just as well. OneNote allows users to add in various types of media, while also including abilities like adding links to other notes, developing sticky notes, reviewing note history, adding tags, and much more.

The program is meant to be a one-stop note-taking program that handles all the needs of students and others who have a lot of information to organize.

Microsoft Outlook 2010

Microsoft Outlook is most famous for being an email program, but it really is much more than that. Not only does Outlook provide a well-designed and laid out inbox, easy controls for emailing and sending files, and other email-specific work, it also includes an integrated calendar, contacts that hold names, email addresses, real addresses, and other important information, a task manager, a file organizer, a label maker, and more.

It’s better, therefore, to think of Outlook as more of an organizing program than an emailing program. It adds a high level of organization to all business users.

Microsoft Publisher 2010

Microsoft Word can handle all your text needs, but if your focus is on the presentation of your documents, you need to work with Microsoft Publisher. This program makes it possible to design everything from a postcard to a full marketing campaign with the look and feel of a professional publication.

For those with newsletter, direct to email, and other business publication needs, Publisher is able to deliver results in an easy-to-use format.

Microsoft Access 2010

Microsoft Access is a database program that handles all the more complex data organization and analysis that goes beyond the abilities of Excel. While Excel is a handy and powerful program, Access is better able to handle the more advanced and complex data that comes with running businesses. It’s easier to query data, find new insights within data, create reports about new business intelligence, and much more with Access.

Skype for Business

Skype for Business goes beyond the capabilities found in the basic Skype program most users know. It still has the ability to handle voice, audio, and text messages, but it can also work for meetings and other business focused uses, as well as being more integrated into Office needs.

Choosing Between the Different Microsoft Office 2010 Versions

Not every program listed above comes with every version of Microsoft Office 2010. The versions are broken up to handle the needs of different users. Use the breakdown below to find the right version for you.

Home & Student

A set of programs for students, teachers, the self-employed, families, and more, this version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Home & Business

Fit for freelancers, small and medium businesses, and local franchises, this suite comes with everything listed above and Outlook.

Professional

For those businesses that have more complex data and publication needs, Professional offers all the above programs, plus Publisher and Access.

Professional Plus

A more top-of-the-line option, Professional Plus is designed for large business use and includes all the above programs plus Skype for Business.

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