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Microsoft Student 2007 review: Microsoft Student 2007

Microsoft Student 2007 is a friendly, thorough homework resource for middle and high schoolers learning math, foreign languages, literature, and more, but you'll need to buy Office to fully use it, and you'll pay dearly for tech support.

Laurie Bouck
3 min read
Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007 offers more math features and a lower price than the 2006 version. The new, step-by-step math resources are a great way to learn and understand math problems. Other features such as foreign language verb conjugations, writing style guides, and access to Encarta Premium 2007 are solid tools for busy students, and the clean interface is inviting. Student's lower price doesn't mean it's a bargain, though: you'll need to buy Microsoft Office XP or 2003 separately to use Student's presentation, chart, and graph templates, and tech-support calls and e-mails cost extra. If you already have Office and don't need technical support, Student 2007 can be terrifically useful. If not, think twice about how much Student may ultimately cost.

We set up Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007 from the enclosed DVD in about 20 minutes in our tests on a Windows XP system. During the application's installation, you're invited to join Microsoft's Customer Experience Improvement Program, which monitors your use of the product.


Microsoft Student 2007

The Good

Microsoft Student 2007 has an inviting interface; great math and foreign language tools; extensive online Encarta content.

The Bad

Microsoft Student 2007 requires Microsoft Office to use all its features; expensive technical support; annoying data collection by Microsoft.

The Bottom Line

Microsoft Student 2007 is a friendly, thorough homework resource for middle and high schoolers learning math, foreign languages, literature, and more, but you'll need to buy Office to fully use it, and you'll pay dearly for tech support.

You pay a price for convenience with Student. The time-saving presentation, chart, and graph templates in Student rely upon Excel and PowerPoint, not included with Student. If you don't already have Microsoft Office, then the $149 for Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003, or a more recent version, will substantially increase Student's $69.95 price tag (not counting the $20 mail-in rebate).

Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007
Student 2007's new mathematics help steps you through solutions to problems in calculus, algebra, and more, while providing a calculator that handles complex equations.

The interface of Student 2007 is friendly, clean and easy to use--important for the audience of sixth to twelfth graders grappling with complicated school projects. Borrowing from Encarta, Student has three large buttons to navigate to and from the home page: Homework, with math and foreign language help tools; Projects, with tips and templates for common school projects; and the catch-all Discover and Learn category, with links to Encarta, college-preparatory materials, games, and other miscellany. There are four intuitive pull-down menus, and a Homework Tools button links you to help with math, geography, foreign languages, literary subjects, and other topics.

The biggest changes within Student 2007 are its enhanced math tools, which assist students with concepts from prealgebra to calculus. Enter a math problem in the new Step-by-Step Solutions screen, and Student 2007 will solve the problem and, more importantly, show you the steps it takes to do so. The improved graphing calculator lets you animate and rotate 3D graphs to understand a concept better. Other Math Tools functions help you understand equations from physics, chemistry, and math classes. Math Tools also links to online solutions to problems in common textbooks, such as Hotmath.

Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007
Microsoft Student 2007's language-learning resources walk you through translations, verb conjugation, and Encarta lookups.

The foreign language help for Spanish, French, German, and Italian is another strength. Student 2007 helps you translate words, plus it conjugates verbs and offers tutorials and Web links. Student also pools reference resources in one place. The literary tools provide citation guides for APA, MLA, and Chicago styles, and geography tools help you find maps quickly.

The excellent Encarta Premium 2007 and its Internet Explorer-only Web search companion are a click away. To access Encarta's extensive online content, you'll need to create a Microsoft Passport (or Windows Live) network account. When you sign up, you're told you will receive targeted advertisements from Microsoft--a term you must accept to set up the account.

Aside from the help file installed during setup, there is no free support for Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007. We couldn't find Student 2007 within Microsoft's support Web pages. It's inconvenient that help resources are scanty and pricey for a product tailored to young users. Telephone and e-mail support costs $35 per incident, with no initial free calls or e-mails--a big change from last year's toll-free phone and e-mail support. When you pursue e-mail help, Microsoft asks if it can download a data-collection ActiveX control to help diagnose the problem.

With Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2007, busy parents can rest assured that their children have access to sound homework resources. Parents who have forgotten their high school math will find Student 2007's new math features especially useful. Microsoft Student 2007 is inviting and easy for tweens and teens to use. Parents should calculate in the cost of Office to use all of Student's features, however, and plan on hefty tech-support costs if they need live or online help.


Microsoft Student 2007

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 7Performance 0Support 5