Microsoft Office Starter 2010 is a cut-down version of the package which displays ads, and only contains limited versions of Office and Excel. But by way of compensation you can use it free of charge and without a product key. Setup is straightforward, with the tiny installer downloading and configuring all the necessary files for you. Once it’s finished you’ll find your Programs menu has a new “Microsoft Office Starter” group, with links to Excel and Word Starter 2010, as well as a few basic tools.
[advt]Launch Word Starter 2010 and, if you’re familiar with the full package, you’ll immediately notice that this version appears rather basic. It has fewer ribbon tabs, for instance. The tabs that are on offer don’t provide as many options: click Insert and there are no SmartArt, Bookmark, Cross Reference, Quick Parts or Equations sections. And as you use the program so you’ll encounter other limitations: no table of contents feature in Word, for instance, and no PivotTables or password protection in Excel.
The programs also display ads next to your documents. These aren’t too obtrusive, no distracting animations or anything like that, but the fact that a panel needs to be allocated to them at all means there’s less space available to view your work.