|Initial release||19 November 1990|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows|
|Standard(s)||Office Open XML (ISO/IEC 29500)|
|Available in||102 languages|
|License||Proprietary commercial software (retail, volume licensing, SaaS, trialware)|
Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac apps from top left to bottom right: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
|Initial release||1 August 1989|
Classic Mac OS (discontinued)
|Available in||16 languages|
|License||Proprietary commercial software (retail, volume licensing, SaaS)|
Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft. It was first announced by Bill Gates on 1 August 1988, at COMDEX in Las Vegas. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. On 10 July 2012, Softpedia reported that Office is used by over a billion people worldwide.
Office is produced in several versions targeted towards different end-users and computing environments. The original, and most widely used version, is the desktop version, available for PCs running the Windows and macOS operating systems. The most current desktop version is Office 2016 for Windows and macOS, released on 22 September 2015 and 9 July 2015, respectively.
More recently, Microsoft developed Office Mobile, which are free-to-use versions of Office applications for mobile devices. Microsoft also produces and runs Office Online, a web-based version of core Office apps, which is included as part of a Microsoft account.
Unless stated otherwise, desktop apps are available for Windows and macOS.
Office Mobile includes the scaled-down and touch-optimised versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Other Office applications such as OneNote, Lync and Outlook are available as standalone apps. It is supported on Android, iOS, Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.
Office Mobile enables users to save and access documents on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint. Additionally, the Windows Phone version also allows users to save files locally on the device. According to Microsoft, Office Mobile for iPhone and Android are "very similar" to each other, whereas the Windows Phone version provides a "richer, more integrated experience".
Office Mobile for iPhone was released on 14 June 2013 in the United States. Support for 135 markets and 27 languages was rolled out over a few days. It requires iOS 8 or later. Although the app also works on iPad devices, excluding the first generation, it is designed for a small screen. Office Mobile was released for Android phones on 31 July 2013 in the United States. Support for 117 markets and 33 languages was added gradually over several weeks. It is supported on Android 4.0 and later. Office Mobile for both iPhone and Android, available for free from the App Store and Google Play Store respectively, initially required a qualifying Office 365 subscription to activate, but in March 2014, with the release of Office for iPad, the apps were updated making them fully free for home use, although a subscription is still required for business use.
On 29 January 2015, Microsoft released Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Android tablets. On 24 June 2015, Microsoft released updated versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint for Android phones. The Android version is also supported on certain Chrome OS machines.
In January 2015, Microsoft unveiled updated universal app versions of the Office applications for Windows 10 devices--including PCs, tablets and smartphones--that are based upon the previously released Android and iOS apps.
Office Mobile is or was also available, though no longer supported, on Windows Mobile, Windows Phone and Symbian. There is also Office RT, a touch-optimized version of the standard desktop Office suite, pre-installed on Windows RT.
Most versions of Microsoft Office (including Office 97 and later) use their own widget set and do not exactly match the native operating system. This is most apparent in Microsoft Office XP and 2003, where the standard menus were replaced with a colored, flat-looking, shadowed menu style. The user interface of a particular version of Microsoft Office often heavily influences a subsequent version of Microsoft Windows. For example, the toolbar, colored buttons and the gray-colored 3D look of Office 4.3 were added to Windows 95, and the ribbon, introduced in Office 2007, has been incorporated into several programs bundled with Windows 7 and later. In 2012, Office 2013 replicated the flat, box-like design of Windows 8.
Users of Microsoft Office may access external data via connection-specifications saved in Office Data Connection (.odc) files.
Past versions of Office often contained Easter eggs. For example, Excel 97 contained a reasonably functional flight-simulator. Office XP and later do not have any Easter eggs, in compliance with Trustworthy Computing guidelines.
Microsoft Office prior to Office 2007 used proprietary file formats based on the OLE Compound File Binary Format. This forced users who share data to adopt the same software platform. In 2008, Microsoft made the entire documentation for the binary Office formats freely available for download and granted any possible patents rights for use or implementations of those binary format for free under the Open Specification Promise. Previously, Microsoft had supplied such documentation freely but only on request.
Starting with Office 2007, the default file format has been a version of Office Open XML, though different than the one standardized and published by Ecma International and by ISO/IEC. Microsoft has granted patent rights to the formats technology under the Open Specification Promise and has made available free downloadable converters for previous versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000 and Office 2004 for Mac OS X. Third-party implementations of Office Open XML exist on the Windows platform (LibreOffice, all platforms), macOS platform (iWork '08, LibreOffice) and Linux (LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org 3.0). In addition, Office 2010 and Service Pack 2 for Office 2007 supports the OpenDocument Format (ODF) for opening and saving documents on Windows (Microsoft Office for Mac has never included ODF support).
Microsoft provides the ability to remove metadata from Office documents. This was in response to highly publicized incidents where sensitive data about a document was leaked via its metadata. Metadata removal was first available in 2004, when Microsoft released a tool called Remove Hidden Data Add-in for Office 2003/XP for this purpose. It was directly integrated into Office 2007 in a feature called the Document Inspector.
A major feature of the Office suite is the ability for users and third party companies to write add-ins (plug-ins) that extend the capabilities of an application by adding custom commands and specialized features. One of the new features is the Office Store.Plugins and other tools can be downloaded by users. Developers can make money by selling their applications in the Office Store. The revenue is divided between the developer and Microsoft where the developer gets 80% of the money. Developers are able to share applications with all Office users.
Microsoft Office has a security feature that allows users to encrypt Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Skype Business) documents with a user-provided password. The password can contain up to 255 characters and uses AES 128-bit advanced encryption by default. Passwords can also be used to restrict modification of the entire document, worksheet or presentation. Due to lack of document encryption, though, these passwords can be removed using a third-party cracking software.
All versions Microsoft Office products before Microsoft Office 2016 are eligible for ten years of support following their release, during which Microsoft releases security updates for the product version and provides paid technical support. The ten-year period is divided into two five-years phases: The mainstream phase and the extended phase. During the mainstream phase, Microsoft may provide limited complimentary technical support and release non-security updates or change the design of the product. During the extended phase, said services stop.
Starting with Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft has moved to a so-called "Modern Lifecycle Policy" that requires the consumer to stay current to stay supported.
Microsoft supports Office for the Windows and macOS platforms, as well as mobile versions for Windows Phone, Android and iOS platforms. Beginning with Mac Office 4.2, the macOS and Windows versions of Office share the same file format, and are interoperable. Visual Basic for Applications support was dropped in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, then reintroduced in Office for Mac 2011.
Microsoft tried in the mid-1990s to port Office to RISC processors such as NEC/MIPS and IBM/PowerPC, but they met problems such as memory access being hampered by data structure alignment requirements. Microsoft Word 97 and Excel 97 however did ship for the DEC Alpha platform. Difficulties in porting Office may have been a factor in discontinuing Windows NT on non-Intel platforms.
Stuart Cohen, CEO of Open Source Development Labs, conjectured in 2006 that Microsoft would eventually release a Linux port of Office, which occurred via Microsoft Office Mobile for Android phones (OS 4.0 or later) in 2013 and tablets (OS 4.4 or later) in 2015. Office is also available for iOS, another Unix-like platform. Office for Windows Phone and the older Windows Mobile are distinguished from Windows NT versions.
Microsoft Office is licensed through retail, volume licensing and software as a service channels. Volume licensing includes OEM licenses for bundling Microsoft Office with personal computers and Microsoft Software Assurance. The software as a service channel is called Microsoft Office 365 which was started on 28 June 2011.
In addition to supporting retail sales and site-wide installations, Microsoft offers a "Home Use Program" (HUP) permitting employees of a participating organization access to home-use Microsoft Office products.
Post-secondary students may obtain the University edition of Microsoft Office 365 subscription. (Despite the name, college students are also eligible.) It is limited to one user and two devices, plus the subscription price is valid for four years instead of just one. Apart from this, the University edition is identical in features to the Home Premium version. This marks the first time Microsoft does not offer physical or permanent software at academic pricing, in contrast to the University versions of Office 2010 and Office 2011. In addition, students eligible for DreamSpark program may receive select standalone Microsoft Office apps free of charge.
CLIPPIT.ACS. The latest versions that include the Office Assistant were Office 2003 (Windows) and Office 2004 (Mac).
Microsoft Office has been criticized in the past for using proprietary file formats rather than open standards, which forces users who share data into adopting the same software platform. However, on February 15, 2008, Microsoft made the entire documentation for the binary Office formats freely available under the Open Specification Promise. Also, Office Open XML, the document format for the latest versions of Office for Windows and Mac, has been standardized under both Ecma International and ISO. Ecma International has published the Office Open XML specification free of copyrights and Microsoft has granted patent rights to the formats technology under the Open Specification Promise and has made available free downloadable converters for previous versions of Microsoft Office including Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000 and Office 2004 for the Mac. Third-party implementations of Office Open XML exist on the Mac platform (iWork 08) and Linux (OpenOffice.org 2.3 - Novell Edition only).
Another point of criticism Microsoft Office has faced was the lack of support in its Mac versions for Unicode and Bi-directional text languages, notably Arabic and Hebrew. This issue, which had existed since the first release in 1989, was only addressed in the 2016 version.
Microsoft Office for Windows started in October 1990 as a bundle of three applications designed for Microsoft Windows 3.0: Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1, Microsoft Excel for Windows 2.0, and Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows 2.0.
Microsoft Office for Windows 1.5 updated the suite with Microsoft Excel 3.0.
Microsoft Office 3.0, also called Microsoft Office 92, was released on 30 August 1992 and contained Word 2.0, Excel 4.0, PowerPoint 3.0 and Mail 3.0. It was the first version of Office also released on CD-ROM. In 1993, The Microsoft Office Professional was released, which added Microsoft Access 1.1.
Microsoft Office 4.0 was released containing Word 6.0, Excel 4.0a, PowerPoint 3.0 and Mail in 1993. Word's version number jumped from 2.0 to 6.0 so that it would have the same version number as the MS-DOS and Macintosh versions (Excel and PowerPoint were already numbered the same as the Macintosh versions).
Microsoft Office 4.2 for Windows NT was released in 1994 for i386, Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC architectures, containing Word 6.0 and Excel 5.0 (both 32-bit, PowerPoint 4.0 (16-bit), and Microsoft Office Manager 4.2 (the precursor to the Office Shortcut Bar)).
Microsoft Office 95 was released on 24 August 1995. Software version numbers were altered again to create parity across the suite--every program was called version 7.0 meaning all but Word missed out versions. It was designed as a fully 32-bit version to match Windows 95. Office 95 was available in two versions, Office 95 Standard and Office 95 Professional. The standard version consisted of Word 7.0, Excel 7.0, PowerPoint 7.0, and Schedule+ 7.0. The professional edition contained all of the items in the standard version plus Microsoft Access 7.0. If the professional version was purchased in CD-ROM form, it also included Bookshelf.
The logo used in Office 95 returns in Office 97, 2000 and XP. Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition also uses a similar logo.
Microsoft Office 97 (Office 8.0) included hundreds of new features and improvements, such as introducing command bars, a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design. Office 97 also featured Natural Language Systems and grammar checking. Office 97 was the first version of Office to include the Office Assistant. In Brazil, it was also the first version to introduce the Registration Wizard, a precursor to Microsoft Product Activation.
Microsoft Office 2000 (Office 9.0) introduced adaptive menus, where little-used options were hidden from the user. It also introduced a new security feature, built around digital signatures, to diminish the threat of macro viruses. Office 2000 automatically trusts macros (written in VBA 6) that were digitally signed from authors who have been previously designated as trusted. The Registration Wizard, a precursor to Microsoft Product Activation, remained in Brazil and was also extended to Australia and New Zealand, though not for volume-licensed editions. Academic software in the United States and Canada also featured the Registration Wizard.
Microsoft Office XP (Office 10.0 or Office 2002) was released in conjunction with Windows XP, and was a major upgrade with numerous enhancements and changes over Office 2000. Office XP introduced the Safe Mode feature, which allows applications such as Outlook to boot when it might otherwise fail by bypassing a corrupted registry or a faulty add-in. Smart tag is a technology introduced with Office XP in Word and Excel and discontinued in Office 2010. Office XP includes integrated voice command and text dictation capabilities, as well as handwriting recognition. It was the first version to require Microsoft Product Activation worldwide and in all editions as an anti-piracy measure, which attracted widespread controversy. Product Activation remained absent from Office for Mac releases until it was introduced in Office 2011 for Mac.
Microsoft Office 2003 (Office 11.0) was released in 2003. It featured a new logo. Two new applications made their debut in Office 2003: Microsoft InfoPath and OneNote. It is the first version to use new, more colorful icons. Outlook 2003 provides improved functionality in many areas, including Kerberos authentication, RPC over HTTP, Cached Exchange Mode, and an improved junk mail filter.
Microsoft Office 2007 (Office 12.0) was released in 2007. Office 2007's new features include a new graphical user interface called the Fluent User Interface, replacing the menus and toolbars that have been the cornerstone of Office since its inception with a tabbed toolbar, known as the Ribbon; new XML-based file formats called Office Open XML; and the inclusion of Groove, a collaborative software application.
Microsoft Office 2010 (Office 14.0, because Microsoft skipped 13.0) was finalized on 15 April 2010 and made available to consumers on 15 June 2010. The main features of Office 2010 include the backstage file menu, new collaboration tools, a customizable ribbon, protected view and a navigation panel. This is the first version to ship in 32-bit and 64-bit variants. Microsoft Office 2010 featured a new logo, which resembled the 2007 logo, except in gold, and with a modification in shape.
Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 on 28 June 2011.
A technical preview of Office 2013 (Build 15.0.3612.1010) was released on 30 January 2012, and a Customer Preview version was made available to consumers on 16 July 2012. It sports a revamped application interface; the interface is based on Metro, the interface of Windows Phone and Windows 8. Microsoft Outlook has received the most pronounced changes so far; for example, the Metro interface provides a new visualization for scheduled tasks. PowerPoint includes more templates and transition effects, and OneNote includes a new splash screen. On 16 May 2011, new images of Office 15 were revealed, showing Excel with a tool for filtering data in a timeline, the ability to convert Roman numerals to Arabic numerals, and the integration of advanced trigonometric functions. In Word, the capability of inserting video and audio online as well as the broadcasting of documents on the Web were implemented. Microsoft has promised support for Office Open XML Strict starting with version 15, a format Microsoft has submitted to the ISO for interoperability with other office suites, and to aid adoption in the public sector. This version can read and write ODF 1.2 (Windows only).
On 24 October 2012, Office 2013 Professional Plus was released to manufacturing and was made available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers for download. On 15 November 2012, the 60-day trial version was released for public download.
On 22 January 2015, the Microsoft Office blog announced that the next version of the suite for Windows desktop, Office 2016, was in development. On 4 May 2015, a public preview of Microsoft Office 2016 was released. Office 2016 was released for OS X on 9 July 2015 and for Windows on 22 September 2015.
Prior to packaging its various office-type Mac OS software applications into Office, Microsoft released Mac versions of Word 1.0 in 1984, the first year of the Macintosh computer; Excel 1.0 in 1985; and PowerPoint 1.0 in 1987. Microsoft does not include its Access database application in Office for Mac.
Microsoft has noted that some features are added to Office for Mac before they appear in Windows versions, such as Office for Mac 2001's Office Project Gallery and PowerPoint Movie feature, which allows users to save presentations as QuickTime movies. However, Microsoft Office for Mac has been long criticized for its lack of support of Unicode and for its lack of support for right-to-left languages, notably Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.
Microsoft Office for Mac was introduced for Mac OS in 1989, before Office was released for Windows. It included Word 4.0, Excel 2.2, PowerPoint 2.01, and Mail 1.37. It was originally a limited-time promotion but later became a regular product. With the release of Office on CD-ROM later that year, Microsoft became the first major Mac publisher to put its applications on CD-ROM.
Microsoft Office 4.2 for Mac was released in 1994. (Version 4.0 was skipped to synchronize version numbers with Office for Windows) Version 4.2 included Word 6.0, Excel 5.0, PowerPoint 4.0 and Mail 3.2. It was the first Office suite for Power Macintosh. Its user interface was identical to Office 4.2 for Windows leading many customers to comment that it wasn't Mac-like enough. The final release for Mac 68K was Office 4.2.1, which updated Word to version 6.0.1, somewhat improving performance.
Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition was unveiled at MacWorld Expo/San Francisco in 1998. It introduced the Internet Explorer 4.0 web browser and Outlook Express, an Internet e-mail client and usenet newsgroup reader. Office 98 was re-engineered by Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit to satisfy customers' desire for software they felt was more Mac-like. It included drag-and-drop installation, self-repairing applications and Quick Thesaurus, before such features were available in Office for Windows. It also was the first version to support QuickTime movies.
Microsoft Office 2001 was launched in 2000 as the last Office suite for the classic Mac OS. It required a PowerPC processor. This version introduced Entourage, an e-mail client that included information management tools such as a calendar, an address book, task lists and notes.
Microsoft Office v. X was released in 2001 and was the first version of Microsoft Office for Mac OS X. Support for Office v. X ended on 9 January 2007 after the release of the final update, 10.1.9 Office v.X includes Word X, Excel X, PowerPoint X, Entourage X, MSN Messenger for Mac and Windows Media Player 9 for Mac; it was the last version of Office for Mac to include Internet Explorer for Mac.
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac was released on 11 May 2004. It includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage and Virtual PC. It is the final version of Office to be built exclusively for PowerPC and to officially support G3 processors, as its sequel lists a G4, G5 or Intel processor as a requirement. It was notable for supporting Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which is unavailable in Office 2008. This led Microsoft to extend support for Office 2004 from September 10, 2009 to January 10, 2012. VBA functionality was reintroduced in Office 2011, which is only compatible with Intel processors.
Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac was released on 15 January 2008. It was the only Office for Mac suite to be compiled as an universal binary, being the first to feature native Intel support and the last to feature PowerPC support for G4 and G5 processors, although the suite is unofficially compatible with G3 processors. New features include native Office Open XML file format support, which debuted in Office 2007 for Windows, and stronger Microsoft Office password protection employing AES-128 and SHA-1. Benchmarks suggested that compared to its predecessor, Office 2008 ran at similar speeds on Intel machines and slower speeds on PowerPC machines. Office 2008 also lacked Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) support, leaving it with only 15 months of additional mainstream support compared to its predecessor. Nevertheless, five months after it was released, Microsoft said that Office 2008 was "selling faster than any previous version of Office for Mac in the past 19 years" and affirmed "its commitment to future products for the Mac."
Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 was released on 26 October 2010,. It is the first version of Office for Mac to be compiled exclusively for Intel processors, dropping support for the PowerPC architecture. It features an OS X version of Outlook to replace the Entourage email client. This version of Outlook is intended to make the OS X version of Office work better with Microsoft's Exchange server and with those using Office for Windows. Office 2011 includes a Mac-based Ribbon similar to Office for Windows.
Microsoft OneNote for Mac was released on 17 March 2014. It marks the company's first release of the note-taking software on the Mac. It is available as a free download to all users of the Mac App Store in OS X Mavericks.
Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Mac debuted on 31 October 2014. It requires a paid Office 365 subscription, meaning that traditional Office 2011 retail or volume licenses cannot activate this version of Outlook. On that day, Microsoft confirmed that it would release the next version of Office for Mac in late 2015.
Despite dropping support for older versions of OS X and only keeping support for 64-bit-only versions of OS X, these versions of OneNote and Outlook are 32-bit applications like their predecessors.
The first Preview version of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac was released on 5 March 2015. On 9 July 2015, Microsoft released the final version of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. It was immediately made available for Office 365 subscribers with either a Home, Personal, Business, Business Premium, E3 or ProPlus subscription. A non-Office 365 edition of Office 2016 was made available as a one-time purchase option on 22 September 2015.
External data is accessed through a connection file, such as an Office Data Connection (ODC) file (.odc)
[...] HUP typically offers [...] qualifying employees Microsoft's most popular and newest Office System products, for a fraction of what they would pay to own the products outright
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