The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft Office

Written by John Harris, Updated on October 25, 2023

Microsoft Office is an Office suite for inter-related desktop applications, servers, and web services for Windows and Mac OS X users. Some products include Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and many more…

Microsoft Office was first introduced on January 23, 1985, and the products contained in the Suite were Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and Office PowerPoint. Features like Spell-checker, OLE Objects, Microsoft Visual Basic product scripting languages, etc., were added. The latest Microsoft Office for Windows OS release is Office 2013, released in October 2012, and for Mac OS X Office 2011, released in October 2010.

Microsoft Office products:

Microsoft products for Office Suite are categorized into three main components. The components and the products are listed below.

Core Applications:

  • Microsoft Word: It is a word processor program used for preparing documents. Earlier versions used the proprietary DOC format to save the documents. From Word 2007 version, a new format called .DOCX was introduced that could use the XML-based Microsoft Office-optimized format. Word is available for both Windows and Mac OS X platforms.
  • Microsoft Excel: It is a spreadsheet program used for maintaining records. It includes calculation, pivot tables, graphing tools, and a macro programming language. It comes in separate editions for both Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: It is a presentation program that can be used for creating slideshows, composing text, and inserting pictures, graphics, and other objects. It is mainly used in business enterprises for presenting their product details to others. It is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.
  • Microsoft Outlook: It is a personal information manager and email-communication software organizations use as an inbound email client for managing their mail and other Outlook attributes like calendars, notes, tasks, etc.
  • Microsoft OneNote: OneNote is a note-taking application. That allows Microsoft users to save all their important notes, research, plans, Tips and tricks, and other important information in one place.
  • Microsoft OneDrive: Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud storage service developed by Microsoft. This service allows users to store important files, folders, and documents on the cloud, which can be accessed from any device.
  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a unified and collaborative platform where teams can chat, share files, call, and integrate various applications into a single workspace.
  • Other Desktop Applications (Only for Windows): Microsoft Access, Microsoft Project, Publisher, Visio, etc.

NOTE: If you have deleted or lost your MS Office files, read this page and learn how to recover Microsoft Office files.

Server Applications:

  • Microsoft SharePoint server: Is a collaboration server and web application platform. It features many services like Excel Services, InfoPath Form services, Microsoft Search Server, and Microsoft Project Server.
  • Microsoft Lync Server: It is an enterprise real-time communications server that provides a frame for instant messaging, ad hoc, audio and video conferencing, etc.
  • Note: Microsoft Teams replaced Microsoft Lync Server in 2016.

  • Microsoft Exchange Server: It is a calendaring and mail server.
  • Microsoft Skype For Business Server: This is a real-time communications server for instant messaging and video-conferencing.

Web Services:

  • Office Web Apps: Web-based applications for Office applications to view, edit, and create documents.
  • Microsoft Update: Service provided by Microsoft to provide updates for Windows OS and other Microsoft products, including Internet Explorer.
  • Microsoft Office 365: This subscription-based service allows access to various services and products of the Microsoft Office platform in addition to cloud-based services.
  • Microsoft Sway: Microsoft Sway allows users to create interactive websites, newsletters, and presentations. It is a part of Microsoft Office.
  • Microsoft Delve: Microsoft Delve is a discovery tool that helps users find and organize the most relevant information across Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft Forms: Microsoft Forms is an online web-based survey creator. Part of the Microsoft 365 suite and available for desktops, mobiles, and other web devices. This tool lets users create surveys, polls, and quizzes and share them with other users.
  • Microsoft To Do: Microsoft To Do is a part of Microsoft Office, or what is now known as the Microsoft 365 suite. This tool lets you create a list, prioritize tasks, share tasks with other users, and sync tasks across other devices.
  • Microsoft Microsoft is a free web-based personal calendar and email service.
  • Microsoft Outlook on the web: Also known as Microsoft Outlook Web App (OWA). This web-based version of the Microsoft Outlook email client allows users to access their Outlook email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from a web browser. Outlook on the web is available to users of Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft 365, and
  • Microsoft Planner: Microsoft Planner is a web-based task management application designed for teams. Microsoft users use this tool to create plans, assign and monitor tasks, and let users see the team’s progress.
  • Microsoft Stream: Microsoft Stream is a video platform available for premium users of Microsoft 365. This utility allows its subscribers to upload, manage, and share videos with others. It also provides a variety of features such as video trimming, adding captions, and analytics to help users to create and publish high-quality videos.
  • Microsoft Bookings: Microsoft Bookings is an appointment booking and management tool. This tool lets businesses create an appointment booking page where customers can book, reschedule, or cancel appointments online.

List of All Microsoft Office Versions Ever Released

As and when newer technologies were introduced, Microsoft Office came up with new and updated versions to be compatible with the latest technology.

Office Versions for Windows:

Version Release Date Products released and their versions
Office 1.0 November 19, 1990 Word 1.1, Excel 2.0, PowerPoint 2.0
Office 1.6 July 8, 1991 Word 1.1, Excel 3.0, PowerPoint 2.0, Mail 2.1
Office 3.0 August 30, 1992 CD-ROM version: Word 2.0c, PowerPoint 3.0, Excel 4.0a, Mail
Office 4.0 January 17, 1994 Word 6.0, Excel 4.0, PowerPoint 3.0
Office 4.3 July 2, 1994 Word 6.0, PowerPoint 4.0, Excel 5.0, Mail 3.2, Access 2.0.
Office for NT 4.2 October 12, 2005 Word 6.0 and Excel 5.0 , PowerPoint 4.0 (16-bit), Microsoft Office Manager was introduced.
Office 95 (7.0) August 30, 1995 Word 7 was released for Windows 95
Office 97 (8.0) November 19, 1996 Word 97
Office 2000 (9.0) June 7, 1999 Word 2000
Office XP (10.0) May 31, 2001 Word 2002 for Windows XP
Office 2003 (11.0) November 17, 2003 Word 2003
Office 2007 (12.0) January 30, 2007 Word 2007 for Windows Vista
Office 2010 (14.0) June 15, 2010 First version to ship 32-bits and 16-bits
Office 2013 (15.0) January 29, 2013 Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, SkyDrive Pro, Visio, Project,InfoPath Designer, InfoPath Filler, Lync, OneNote, Publisher all names ends with 2013
Office 2016 (16.0) September 22, 2015 A new search tool for commands like "Tell Me" and "Send As" options available in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Access, Visio, and Project, and a new co-authoring feature.
Office 2019 (16.0) September 24, 2018 Word 2019, Excel 2019, PowerPoint 2019, Outlook 2019, OneNote 2019, Publisher 2019, Access 2019, Project 2019, Visio 2019
Office 2021 (16.0) October 05, 2021 Word 2021, Excel 2021, PowerPoint 2021, Outlook 2021, OneNote 2021, Publisher 2021, Access 2021, Project 2021, Visio 2021. All of these apps are 64-bit only and can only be used on Windows 10 or other later versions.

Office Versions for Mac

Version Release Date Products released and their versions
Office 1 January 23, 1985 Word 1
Office 2 1992 Word 4
Office 3 1993 Word 5, Excel 4, PowerPoint 3 etc.
Office 4.2 1994 Word 6, PowerPoint 4, Excel 5 etc.
Office 98 March 15, 1998 Word,98, Excel 98, PowerPoint 98
Office 2001 October 11, 2000 Word 2001, Excel 2001, PowerPoint 2001 & Entourage 2001 (final release for Mac OS 9)
Office v.X November 19, 2001 Word X, Excel X, PowerPoint X and Entourage X (final release to support Mac OS X)
Office 2004 February 12, 2004 Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004 and Entourage 2004
Office 2008 January 15, 2008 Word 2008, Excel, PowerPoint, Entourage 2008( its first release, runs natively on both Intel and PPC without using emulation layer. also, it doesnot support VBA macros)
Office 2011 October 26, 2010 Word 2011, Excel 2011, PowerPoint 2011, Outlook 2011 (First release can run only in Intel and supports VBA macros)
Office 2016 July 09, 2015 Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016, OneNote 2016. These are 64-bit apps and require macOS 10.10 or later macOS versions.
Office 2019 September 24, 2018 Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote. All of these applications are 2019 versions and 64-bits. It can only run on macOS 10.14 or later versions.
Office 2021 October 05, 2021 Microsoft Word 2021 for Mac version 16.69, Microsoft Excel 2021 for Mac version 16.69, Microsoft PowerPoint 2021 for Mac version 16.69, Microsoft Outlook 2021 for Mac version 16.69, Microsoft OneNote 2021 for Mac version 16.69 These apps are 64-bit only and are only compatible with macOS 11.0 and other later versions.


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