Microsoft Office/Windows Version Differences

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You might be using Microsoft Office on either Windows 7 or Windows 8 (or possibly Windows Vista or even Windows XP). This book also covers using Microsoft Office on the Mac (specifically, on OS X version 10.9, often referred to as “Mavericks”). Unfortunately, many techniques differ greatly between those operating systems. OS X looks and works nothing like Windows. However, Windows 7 and Windows 8 (or Windows 8.1, which looks and works very much like Windows 8) are very, very different, so much so that this book will sometimes discuss them if they are different operating systems.

In this book, information and instructions that are specific to one operating system will be placed in a subpage named with the appropriate operating system. Pages without an operating system in the name contain only information that applies to all platforms. For example, the page Logging In & Out contains a conceptual discussion of logging in and out, while the pages Logging In & Out (Windows) and Logging In & Out (OS X) contain step-by-step directions specific to Windows and OS X, respectively.

Finally, sometimes step-by-step instructions for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 are so different that they have separate subpages. Other times, the differences are so minor that the different versions of Windows will be discussed together. In the latter case, look for the boxes at the beginning of each section that say “This section applies only to version 7 of Windows” (or whatever version is being discussed).

But I Don’t Know Which Version I’m Using![edit]

If you don’t know which version of Windows you’re using, there is a simple way to determine. Look at the left side of the Windows taskbar, where the Start button is. Compare what you see to this list:

  • If the Start button is bright green (or, rarely, orange), or if the taskbar is bright blue, you’re running Windows XP.
  • If the Start button is round and blue and the taskbar is black, you’re running Windows Vista.
  • If the Start button is round and clear and the taskbar isn’t black, you’re running Windows 7.
  • If the Start button seems to be missing entirely (there isn’t even a space where it would be), you are running Windows 8.
  • If the Start button looks like a flat white trapezoid split into four “panes”, you are running Windows 8.1.
  • If the Start button and taskbar are a dull shade of gray, then someone has turned on the Windows Classic theme. This means that the user interface will look like Windows 98. (Of course, Microsoft Office 2010 doesn’t even run on Windows 98, so you know that at least you are using something a bit more recent.) Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine what version of Windows you’re running if the Windows Classic theme is being used; you could be running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. (The Windows Classic theme was removed in Windows 8, so if you see it you know you aren’t running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.)