Windows 10S and your Microsoft Office choices

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Coming soon is a new version of Windows, the Windows 10S. What does it mean for Microsoft Office users?

The 10S is a stripped down and limited version of Windows 10. Some advanced features aren’t available while others are set to Microsoft’s preferences automatically. To buy 10S is cheaper than the Home or Pro editions, it’ll sell for $189 (though most people will get it with a new computer).

The ‘S’ doesn’t officially stand for anything. The cheaper Windows is aimed at schools which have been buying the cheaper Google Chromebooks.

One major difference in 10S is that you can only install programs from the Windows Store. That’s not what most of us do at the moment.

Microsoft claims that Windows `10S will have better security and battery life. However, that claim is based on the exclusive use of Windows 10 apps which are more tightly controlled than traditional Windows programs.

Office options

Everyone who has Windows 10S can get the Microsoft Office apps from the Windows Store.

The Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps are ‘light’ versions of the Windows desktop programs.

These ‘Modern’ apps are available free to all Windows 10 and 10S users.

If you have an Office 365 ‘subscription’ those apps get some additional features. But those ‘boosted’ apps are still nowhere near the quality of the proper Office for Windows

Outlook doesn’t have a Windows 10 app. You’re expected to use the Mail, People and Calendar apps that come with Windows 10. Only the most one-eyed Microsoft fan would consider those apps a proper replacement for full Outlook.

Office for Windows, coming soon

Possibly the worst kept secret is that Microsoft will make Office 2016 for Windows available via the Windows Store. It’s reported to appears publicly on the Store in June.

When that happens, Windows 10S users will be able to buy and install Office 2016 for Windows onto their computers.

Exactly how this will work isn’t known. You’ll be able to buy Office 2016, presumably as part of an Office 365 subscription, direct from the Windows Store.

But what about existing Office 365 Home or business plan customers? Or Office 365 Personal owners switching to a Windows 10S computer?

There should be some mechanism for current Office 365 subscribers to download Office 2016 for Windows onto a Windows 10S computer.  If not, there’ll be a lot of very unhappy people out there.

It’s possible Microsoft will only let Win10S machines install Office 2016 if newly purchased from their Store. That would force current Office 365 customers into upgrading their 10S machines to full Windows 10 for $50. Maybe Microsoft will have the gall to try it?

There are downsides to installing Office 2016 for Windows onto a Win 10S machine. Using traditional Windows programs (instead of apps) may reduce the promoted battery life. Because Win10S computers will have lower specs (processor and memory) they’ll be slower that a more highly powered machine. Finally, Office 2016 for Windows takes up about 3GB of disk space; that’s not much but a consideration on a device with less overall storage.

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