Microsoft Office is a productivity suite developed for Windows and Macintosh systems. It is available it several editions, each of which includes multiple applications. All Office editions include the three standard programs, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The first version of Microsoft Office was actually released for the Macintosh in 1989. The Windows version followed one year later in 1990. Over the past two decades, Microsoft has released new versions of Office roughly every two to three years. Starting with Office 95, Microsoft began offering multiple editions of Office, such as Standard, Professional, and Small Business editions. Newer versions of Office are available in "Home and Student" and Professional editions.
Since the first version of Office was released, Microsoft has continued to developed Office for both the Windows and Macintosh platforms. However, beginning with Office 98 for Mac, Microsoft has developed distinctly different versions of Office for Mac and Windows. Therefore, while the programs perform the same functions, the user interface of Office programs on Mac and Windows systems may look different. Fortunately, most file formats saved by Office programs are crossplatform, meaning they can be opened on Macintosh or Windows computers.
NOTE: Some programs that are included with professional editions of Office are not available for the Mac. These include Access, Publisher, InfoPath, Project, and Visio.
Updated: March 22, 2012