microsoft office subscription plan buying guide

Microsoft Office Subscription Plan Buying Guide 2021

Microsoft offers several different versions of Office application packages. Every version can be the best version, depending on where you use them. Basically, you are given 2 options: Office 365 (subscription-based) and Office 2019 (one-time purchase). However, Microsoft already chose a winner in this internal completion, between Office 365 and Office 2019.

Microsoft is slowly shifting all of its users to the cloud-based suite, Office 365. There are benefits to using this version, although many find the price very expensive. Following this, there are still a lot of PC users who’d rather stick to Office 2019 and make one-time payments only.

Both versions have their advantage and disadvantages. Office 365 can be better in some aspects. However, inside Office 365 is a range of versions for specific purposes too. So today, in this buyers’ guide, we’ll help you decide which Office 365 will best suit your needs.

Knowing Your Current Microsoft Office Version

It’s easy to check which version of Microsoft Office you currently have on your PC. If you are using Microsoft Word 10 OS, you should see the version name as soon as you launch the program.

For older versions of Microsoft Word, the navigation varies due to a difference in interface. In Microsoft Office Word 2007, simply click on the round Microsoft Office icon then choose ‘Word Options’ at the bottom of the menu. Next, choose ‘Resources’ where you should see an ‘About’ button which will provide you additional details about the version that you own.

Office 365 Variations

The best advantage of Office 365 is that you’ll get regular updates for as long as you’re a subscriber. You can save your work to the cloud, similar to Google Docs. Microsoft also throws in a few extra benefits like cloud storage, free Skype minutes, and access to the tablet and smartphone apps.

Office 365 comes as either Office Home or Office Personal. As of October 2, 2018, Microsoft lifted the device limit on Office 365 installations. This means that both Office Home and Office Personal can be installed on as many devices as needed.

The main difference is that Office Home allows up to six users – which was increased from the original limitation of five users who can access the suite across multiple devices at one time. Meanwhile, the Personal account is intended for a single user.

Office 365 Options

Office 365 Home (Currently: Microsoft 365 Family)

Main Features:

  • Good for 6 users at the same time across unlimited devices
  • It gives you 1 TB cloud storage per user (6 TB total)
  • A bonus of 60 minutes monthly Skype calls to mobiles and landlines
  • Access to current updates
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher (PC Only), Access (PC Only), OneDrive, Skype
  • 1-month free trial

You can purchase your activation key for Office 365 Home at Softvire Global here.

Office 365 Personal (Currently: Microsoft 365 Personal)

Main Features:

  • For 1 PC/Mac across unlimited PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones
  • Access to 1 TB cloud storage per user
  • An allowance of 60 minutes monthly Skype calls for 1 user
  • Access to current updates
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher (PC Only), Access (PC Only), OneDrive, Skype

You can purchase your activation key for Office 365 Personal here.

Office 365 Education

Office 365 Education is a special version of the suite intended for university students and staff. The features are almost identical to Office 365 Personal, but the difference is that it offers a full four-year subscription. However, you’ll need a university email address or other proof of your status to claim it.

Main Features:

  • Four-year subscription for 1 user
  • Can be used across multiple devices
  • Access to 1TB cloud storage per user
  • An allowance of 60 minutes monthly Skype calls to landlines and mobile
  • Access to current updates
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, OneDrive, Skype

Office 365 Business (Currently: Microsoft 365 Business)

Microsoft offers business-minded versions of its software too. There are plans for small and larger companies.

There are three main versions of Office 365 Business available. The versions we’ll discuss here, though, are for mid-sized companies.

Each of these versions has very different software package offers so make sure to go over the features and make sure you pick the right one.

Be especially mindful about Office 365 Business Essentials. This version doesn’t actually include desktop versions of the core Office software like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. However, you can use the Microsoft online tools as well as the cloud tools.

I- Office 365 Business Basic

  • Access to 1 TB of cloud stogare per user
  • Get a 50 GB mailbox and a custom email address domain
  • Connect with Microsoft Teams
  • Access to web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only), and Outlook
  • 24/7 tech support
  • Supports online meetings and video calls for up to 300 users

II- Office 365 Business Standard

  • Get one license for 5 of your Windows PCs or Macs plus 5 tablets and 5 phones per user
  • Access to 1 TB cloud storage per user
  • This version supports up to 300 users
  • Access to current updates
  • Utilize desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, OneDrive
  • Additional tools through web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint

III- Office 365 Business Premium

  • Get one license for 5 of your Windows PCs or Macs plus 5 tablets and 5 phones per user
  • Access to 1 TB cloud storage per user
  • There is an email hosting with a 50 GB mailbox and custom domain address
  • This version supports up to 300 users
  • Access to current updates
  • Utilize desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, OneDrive
  • Access to OneDrive, Exchange, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Yammer, Skype for Business
  • Additional tools through web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint

You can buy your Office 365 Business Premium 1 user 1-year version here.

Apart from Office 365 Business, there’s also the Office 365 Enterprise edition which is also best used in companies. The enterprise option, however, can only support up to 250 users.

There are definitely a lot of benefits of using Office 365 compared to Office 2019. And this is the reason why Microsoft is pushing the shift from desktop software to this cloud-based suite.

Whether you are going the Home, Personal, University, or Business way, there are features that you can only find within the Office 365 suite. It helps you produce more professional outputs and improves your productivity. It is, in fact, expensive but the price can be worth it; you just have to find the right version to subscribe to.

Office 2021: Coming Soon

Despite Microsoft pushing their subscription-based Office suite, people are more drawn to their one-time purchase products. Hence, Microsoft would be coming up with two new Office suite versions this 2021: Office 2021 and Office LTSC (Long-Term Serving Channel). Office 2021 would be for personal use, while the LTSC is for commercial customers. However, Microsoft hasn’t announced the changes and features included in the upcoming Office suite.

“It’s just a matter of trying to meet customers where they are. We certainly have a lot of customers that have moved to the cloud over the last 10 months, that’s happened en masse really. At the same time, we definitely have customers who have specific scenarios where they don’t feel like they can move to the cloud.” – Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365, interview with The Verge

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