Microsoft Works is essentially a stripped-down version of Microsoft Office featuring word processing, database, calendar, and spreadsheet applications. Microsoft Works is designed for home and small office users who do not engage in complex word processing or spreadsheet tasks. From version 8.0 on, Works was compatible with Windows 7.
Microsoft Works lacks the advanced features of Microsoft Office, so the suite lacks some features, including collaborative editing tools for the word processor and support for Excel macros, on the Windows 7 operating system. As such, the latest version of Works, Version 9 released in September 2009, retails for about $70, cheaper than Microsoft Word stand-alone applications that retail for about $100.
Microsoft retired Microsoft Works in 2010, and the product is no longer supported by the company, being replaced by Office Starter 2010. The last version of Works, however, has built-in compatibility with Microsoft Office document formats, as well as the capability of opening Microsoft Excel workbooks. Works allows users to merge or integrate database and spreadsheet data into word processor files, such as through a mail merge, making it a viable option for home-based businesses.
Microsoft developed the 2007 Office System Compatibility Pack to extend the functionalities of the Works Word Processor and the Spreadsheet applications. The Compatibility Pack allows both of these applications to import or export Office Open XML file formats.