Microsoft unveils free Office 2010 version

Microsoft Office logo

Microsoft has revealed it will ship a free, ad-supported version of Office 2010 on new PCs.

While it will be free, Microsoft Office Starter 2010 will have fewer features than the full version.

The Starter version includes Word and Excel, but not OneNote, Outlook or PowerPoint. The cut-down editions will have the "basic functionality" to create, view and edit documents, said Office corporate vice president Takeshi Numoto in a post on the Microsoft TechNet site.

"Office Starter 2010 will replace Microsoft Works, offering a consistent Office user experience, such as the Ribbon, with a simple path to upgrade to a fully-featured version of Office 2010 directly from within the product," he added.

In a video on the site, test manager Scott Kahler said it was different to a trial, as there's no expiration date. "You can continue using it until your needs exceed what Starter can give you," he said.

Office 2010 is currently in beta and set to arrive next year, with a set of free web-based applications, too.

Click here for our review of the Office 2010 technical preview .