Software: Locating Product Version Numbers

by MikeM on December 4, 2008

Periodically you need to find the version number of a piece of software that you are using. Locating this bit of information is not always an intuitive process. However over the years a bit of a standard has developed for where the software product version number resides.

To locate this information launch the program and go to the Menu Bar at the top of the screen and click on Help (this is generally located on the far right of the Menu Bar). A drop down menu will appear with the last entry at the bottom of the menu being a selection for “About Yoursoftwareproduct.” Select the “About” item and a dialog box entitled “About Yoursoftwareproduct” will appear. This will generally contain product name and copyright information as well as the version of your product.

The dialog box may also contain information about updates, upgrades, and add-ons that are part of the software product. For example Internet Explorer will include information about the exact version number, such as 7.0.5730.167 as well as the Cipher Strength. Microsoft Outlook will include information on any Service Packs that have been installed as well as the product ID (serial number).

Notable Exceptions: Microsoft Office 2007

As always there are some exceptions to the rule. With Office 2007, Microsoft moved the version functionality (and quite a few other things as well). In Word 2007 you need to click on the “Office Button” in the top left-hand corner which will cause a drop-down menu to appear. At the bottom of that menu will be a button for “Word Options”. Click on that button and a Word Options dialog box will appear. Click on the “Resources” option at the bottom of the left-hand column. At the bottom on the far right of the screen will be the button for “About.” Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007 behave similarly. Of course you may not really need to jump through these hoops because you already knew you were using Word or Excel or Powerpoint 2007.

While the location of the product version number is not an actual standard it is close enough to make the “About” area the first place to look with any software product. Plus it’s a lot easier than trying to find the CD or printed manual from some software package you installed three years ago.


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