Netbook makers have been shipping low cost mini-laptops with trial versions of Microsoft for years. But now that Microsoft Office 2010 is available, PC makers are expected to take a different approach by loading netbooks with Microsoft Office 2010 Starter. And just like Windows 7 Starter Edition, Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition offers you some of the features you’ve come to expect from the full software — but it’s missing many other features.

Laptop Magazine’s KT Bradford has taken a look at Office Starter 2010, and she’s come to the verdict that you’re better off just scrapping it and installing or the alternate office suite of your choice. Or you know, you could do what Microsoft is hoping you’ll do and pay to upgrade to a full version of Office 2010.

What’s missing from Office Starter 2010? Well, for starters, there’s no support for footnotes, endnotes, citations or bibliography, comments, track changes, Pivot Tables, or Pivot charts. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A bigger problem (literally) is that the user interface is clearly not designed for netbooks with 1024 x 600 pixel displays. The ribbon UI eats up an awful lot of space at the top of the page, and there’s a large sidebar with an ad on the right that takes up even more space — leaving you with very little room to work on a typical netbook.

If you just need to create some basic rich text documents or simple spreadsheets, Office 2010 Starter may do the trick. But so will, AbiWord, or Gnumeric. The one thing Office Starter 2010 still has going for it is complete compatibility with Office documents. If you need to open a doc someone else created in Office, there’s a decent chance it won’t look quite right in a third party app. But you could also just use Office Web Apps instead of Office 2010 Starter if you just need to open the occasional Office document.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,544 other subscribers

7 replies on “Microsoft Office Starter Edition: Meet the crippled office suite”

  1. I don’t use Office applications that much. My work is done using web, email, and instant messenger. I use Chrome, Thunderbird, and Pidgin.

    In the rare opportunities when I have to write a letter, presentation, or spreadsheet, OpenOffice works perfectly. In fact, I never needed a feature that wasn’t there.

    I don’t know how many people work like me, but I think this is the trend. In fact, I could easily replace Thunderbird and Pidgin with Gmail. It is a better email reader, a reasonable instant messenger, and is not attached to a single computer.

  2. There is no upgrade from Microsoft Office Starter to full version. You have to pay full price fo Microsoft Office 2010 if you want it ( even if you paid for older version of MS Office!!!!). However there is a new and very need product for netbooks. It is called Kingsoft Office 2010. It has better compatibility with latest Microsoft Office 2007/2010 formats then OpenOffice and it is much faster and smaller. Download is only 56 MB and price is $40. It can b downloaded from it from and would recommend it to anyone who has netbook, laptok or older pc with a limited resources and need the latest document compatibility, do not want to use Microsoft ribbon toolbar or look at sme ads all day.

  3. Be informed and use your opportunities.

    Use OpenOffice instead.

    Its free, its feature rich and has some features MicroSoft doesn’t like one click PDF export.

  4. Why not just use their free online version of Microsoft Office that launched recently… ? Its crippled or… er… limited also.

Comments are closed.