Windows 8.1 Pro looks and acts completely different than Windows 7, Vista, and XP. If you’re shopping for the right Office version to match your new computer, you might consider giving Office 2013 a try if you don’t already own Office 2010. If you own Office 2010, you can skip the upgrade to Office 2013 if your primary use is going to be on a desktop. You can also download and use the trial version from Microsoft, which allows for two-months of unadulterated carnage.  At the end of the trial, you can purchase a subscription for Office 365 (if you’re into leasing software) (Adobe – you suck)

While Office 2007 will work on Windows 8.1, anything older should be discarded with the old computer still running it. Perhaps build a Linux file server with that old hardware and utilize it as a RAID array to host and backup files that you should always have a backup.

>There are also great free Office alternatives, such as LibreOffice. Let’s face it, how many people actually use mail-merge in Office? By the way, if you do – LibreOffice has you covered. LibreOiffice will also allow you to open, edit and save documents created with MS Office.

The Bottom Line

Use the version and brand of office productivity suite that allows you to be productive and doesn’t get in the way of content creation. If you like the new washed out metro-ish style of Office 2013 and can live with the hardware requirements and performance issues (fade-in of cell changes, insertions, etc), then that’s okay. You can make Windows 8.1 act very much like Windows 7 (classicshell.net) for free, but Office 2013 can’t be made to look like Office 2010. If you prefer the old style method of using your computer as a computer, then Office 2010 might be a better choice. The Social Connector for Office 2010 is a free download from Microsoft that is included with Office 2013. Download this if you like to have some of the new whizbang of Office 2013, without some of the frustration.

Training

There are tutorials such as the Free Office 2013 Tutorials at GCFLearnFree (they also have Office 2010 training) or the video collection on YouTube by Infinite Skills.  These help guides can get you up to speed quickly.

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