Why Are Two Different Versions of Microsoft Office Offered By Windows 10?


As a Windows 10 user, there are two different versions of Microsoft Office that can be utilized by you. One version is the desktop office and the other is the universal office. All the traditional desktop apps can be used with a keyboard and a mouse whereas the universal apps can be used with a touch. The desktop apps can be used on the touch devices like the tablets whereas the universal apps can be used on the desktops.

Comparison Between Desktop and Universal Office

  • Desktop Office

All the traditional desktop applications of Microsoft Office that we have been using are fully functional with Windows 10. These applications include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and the bunch of other applications that we have been using for eternity. The recent version of Microsoft Office is the 2016 version which is a successor to the 2013 version.

All these applications are quite stable and got touch enabled during the launch of Windows 8. A few of the advanced features of these apps include real time collaborative editing and integration with the OneDrive. Although their features have been enhanced, the core of these applications still remains the same that millions of users have been using for quite some time now.

  • Universal Office

Now from the desktop version lets move on to the universal version of Microsoft Office. This version includes the apps that are not the traditional Windows apps that we have been using on our desktops. However, these apps will work seamlessly in Windows on the desktops. These are the official Windows version of the MS Office applications that are available to be used on Android tablets and iPads. As these applications are universal they can also be used on a Windows phone.

All these apps can be downloaded from the official Windows Store. These apps have been designed by keeping in mind the touch interface. They are very lightweight, easy to use and do not lack any of the features which are found on the desktop Office apps.

Which Version Should You Go With?

Things would have been quite simpler if the touch enables MS Office apps would have been released with Windows 8. In that case, these touch apps would run smoothly in the ‘Metro’ interface and would be perfect for usage on the tablets. In the same way, the desktop apps would run in the Windows, and be well suited for the laptops and desktops.

However, as the desktop apps have the ‘touch mode’ they are more suitable to be used on a touch screen. All these universal apps can function seamlessly in Windows on the desktop. Most of the apps that come with the Windows 10 are the universal apps that Microsoft wants its users to use on the desktop.

This will make any user ponder that which version of applications should be used. This can be explained in a better way by showcasing the Desktop Office apps and Universal Office apps. Let’s have a look at the desktop office apps first.

  • Merits of MS Office Desktop Apps

The desktop MS Office desktop applications are those that we have been using for many years now. There have been several version updates that we have seen in the last few years, where MS Office 2016 being the latest one. With every update, there have been a plethora of activities that have been included in these different versions. Microsoft is also leaving no stone unturned in making these applications perfect for keyboard and mobile usage. There are literally no features that have been left to be included and well optimized for usage on a Traditional Windows Desktop. However, if you are a person who wants to use a few of the advanced features of these apps then you could even run these apps on a touch enabled Windows tablet.

  • Merits of MS Office Universal Apps

It has been only a few years since the universal MS Office apps were launched. These apps are basically Windows versions of the Office apps that were released for the iPad and the Android users. These apps can be quoted as the simplified versions of the traditional apps but have lesser features. There are universal versions that are available for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook Mail, Calendar and OneNote. All these apps are specially designed for the touch devices. All the phones and tablets that run Windows 10, a few of the apps come pre-installed in them.

Similar to the Office apps that are available on iPads, iPhones, Android tablets and phones for free, the same way these can be used without a subscription on Windows 10. This is great for all those users who utilize these apps for basic editing. In this way, there is no need for the users to buy the complete MS Office suite and use only those apps which they require.

Final Thoughts

After having a brief discussion about both the two versions of Microsoft Office, it can be concluded that Microsoft wants users to use the traditional apps on a Windows desktop or a PC and the universal Office apps on the tablets and smartphones. However, things would get complicated when the price factor of these apps comes into the picture. Also, it will come down to the end users as to what they want from these apps. If a person wants more features then it is better to use the desktop applications otherwise go for the lightweight universal apps that will get the job done for you.

Morris Edwards is working as a trainer at A1 MYOB Courses Singapore, which is a leading company offering Training Course For Excel and accounting. He has been writing for several years about the Microsoft Excel Accounting and Bookkeeping updates and love to share his knowledge among others.

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