starting out - which version of MS Office?


Hi, i am currently try to upgrade my skills and equipment in preparation for trying to find work as a VPA. I am currently working partly from home for a disabled professor and I want to build on this and find more work. However I think I must update my software. Am currently on Office XP/2002. Have been perfectly happy with this but I am finding some conflicts as his version is newer. I suspect I will have similar issues in the future if i don’t upgrade. I am wondering whether I should get MS Office 2010 or MS Office 2013? I am not sure there’s any benefit in upgrading any higher? I don’t want to pay a subscription service for 365 really.

Am just wondering what people generally use and if anyone has a particular viewpoint on which version of MS Office is better\most popular? Are there features in one that are particularly helpful\used when working as a PVA?

Many thanks for any advice


I must admit I purposefully keep mine on older versions because I use quite a lot of specialist software which needs time to come up with new versions of their drivers etc. when Windows/MS does an upgrade. I seem to recall with the Vista upgrade when it first came out a whole load of VAs had a nightmare with their printers not working, and their transcription programmes going haywire because the patches weren’t compatible yet.

Having said that if you are buying new, get the most recent version as they will be offering support on it.

365 has been problematic and expensive for the people I know who use it.

The main thing is to make sure your licence covers what you are using it for… Mostly that will be the Office Home and Business suite - that covers commercial use.


I’m always wary of updating too. I had a new PC last year with Windows 8, and had a whole host of problems - and ever since have had the annoying pop-up to upgrade to Windows 10 too (I’ve resisted so far). I use Office 2010 and am really happy with it, so it would only be with reluctance that I’d upgrade further. It really is a nightmare when things don’t work, and such a fine balance between being modern enough to cope, but not so modern that the old doesn’t work. I feel I’ve got the balance at the moment, but technology moves fast! I would, however, definitely upgrade from XP/Office 2002 as I feel that is a bit ‘too’ far back these days.


I’m also wary of updating! I bought a new desktop PC in 2014 and chose to have Windows 8.1 installed and ready to go. I also bought MS Office 2013. Very happy with both (and the new pooter). I shan’t be upgrading to Windows 10 any time soon as I am a great supporter of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’!


Im using MS Office 16 via 365…


Last year I bought a spare computer for working at my mother’s and that had Windows 8. I remember Skype didn’t work until I went back to an earlier version of it. Anyway I’m with Nicky and have avoided Windows 10. Staying with Windows 7 and Office 2010 right now.

When I first became a VA I was on Office 2000 and then upgraded to 2003 which I used for some years. I remember worrying if I ought to move to Office 2007 which came out around the same time as Vista, I think. I was advised by an IT expert in Canada (contact of another VA who organised a helpful training conference call) to leave them for at least a year “so they can sort out the bugs which will emerge”. I found this good advice (and therefore avoided Vista). I went straight to Office 2010 in the end.


I would think it matters who your main clients are…

I work a lot with new entrepreneurs who are wizzy with new gadgets, so for me being on the latest version is important. There are a lot of small to medium companies going over to using 365 too, and using MS16 on both my Mac and my laptop enables me to see all versions, whatever anyone is using…


Good point, Debs.


I’ve just bought a new laptop which has Windows 10 already loaded. I shall leave my PC with Windows 8.1 but will shortly be subscribing to Office 365 to use on both.


“The main thing is to make sure your licence covers what you are using it for… Mostly that will be the Office Home and Business suite - that covers commercial use.”

Why is this, if you don’t mind me asking - why can’t I use the copy of Microsoft Office that I currently have on my PC?



Hi Christina

if you look in the very small print of your licence agreement (let’s be honest - how many of us ACTUALLY read this stuff???) it says “not for commercial use” when you have a home version or student version.

Basically because you are selling the documents you produce using Microsoft Word/Outlook/Powerpoint/Excel etc, you should be paying commercial rates to use it.

Now I really doubt Bill Gates is going to be battering your door down demanding the extra cash, but it does show up on the versions that you send to your clients that it’s not a commercial licence… All a question of perception!


Ah - thanks Caroline!


I had the similar problem. Thanks for clearing things out, Caroline!