Gone are the days when you simply had to choose between the Home & Student, Home & Business, or Professional versions of Microsoft Office to purchase for your computer. Today with the 2016 version of Office and Office 365, there are no less than 7 consumer versions to choose from. With the addition of a subscription option with 365, deciding which version of Office is right for you can be very confusing.
Office also no longer comes on a set of discs like it did in the past, and has moved to all digital download. When purchasing a version of Office you will be supplied with a key code to be registered online with your Microsoft Account and downloaded directly to your device or devices. If it’s been a long time since you’ve purchased Office all of this may sound overwhelming. Have no fear though, this guide is here to help clarify the different versions so you can decide which one is best for you.
Office 2016 is the version of Office that you are likely most familiar with, as it is the most like past versions. Office 2016 includes separate Home & Student, and Home & Business versions for the Mac and PC respectively. All 2016 versions are one-time payments that are good for one PC or Mac only. Their license does not expire, and you will be able to use it for the life of the computer you install it on.
365 differs from 2016 in a few fundamental ways. First and foremost, it is a subscription service that can either be paid in monthly increments or in an annual payment. If you were to end your subscription you would not lose access your documents created with 365, but the programs themselves (Word, Excel, etc.) would no longer function to edit or create new documents.
Even with the added cost, there are a number of advantages that make Office 365 an excellent value for some people. As long as your subscription is active, you will always receive the latest version of Office. Currently Office 365 subscribers have access to Office 2016, but when Microsoft next version comes out in a few years subscribers would automatically be upgraded to the new version at no additional cost.
Office 365 is also the only way to get access to multiple licenses, with up to 5 PC or Macs and 5 Phones or Tablets available with the Home version. All versions of Office 365 also have access to the full suite of business and professional software like Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Other perks include up to 1TB of cloud storage for each of the 5 users, and 60 Skype minutes per month.
Now that you’ve read about the core differences between Office 2016 and Office 365, see our helpful chart below to help you determine which version best suits your needs!