Would you like Office with that?

When Office 2010 hits retail shelves on Tuesday, one of several new options will be for new PC buyers to purchase a product key card that upgrades their machine from a limited free version called Office Starter to the full version.

Though good for only a single machine, the product key cards will be cheaper than the full boxed copies of the software, which can be used on either two or three PCs, depending on the edition.

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Getting started

Office Starter is the replacement for Microsoft Works and consists of slimmed-down versions of Excel and Word. Users are also shown a small, rotating ad in the lower right-hand corner pitching them on various programs and features they are missing by not having the full version.

The full Office, however, is already installed on the PC and can be upgraded by purchasing a product key card at a retail store.

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Office heads to the Web

The Web-based version of Word, shown here, is one of a suite of browser-based Office Web Apps that allow for document viewing, sharing and lightweight editing.

Microsoft also offers consumers free online versions of PowerPoint, OneNote, and Excel.

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Still available in a box

Although Microsoft is selling Office 2010 on new PCs, for online download, and offering free browser-based Office Web Apps, it still expects to sell plenty of software the old-fashioned way, with consumers buying copies at retail stores.
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Office aims for mass appeal

Microsoft's ad campaign for the new Office is an $80 million effort dubbed "Make it Great," which features some of the product's 9 million early users telling how they use the productivity software.
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