Microsoft is known for their confusing names and description of products. This article will make it clear what each product is and what’s right for you. We’ll look at
- Office 365 Home (home category)
- Office 365 Personal “
- Office Home & Student 2016 for PC “
- Office 365 Business Essentials (business category)
- Office 365 Business Premium “
- Office 365 Business “
- Office 2016
Microsoft Office 365 Home Products
As the name implies, these three products are made for use at home and with families. Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal are subscription services. You can pay either monthly or once a year for them. The Office Home & Student for PC is a 1-time fee of $149.
Below I have a graphic from Microsoft that shows the monthly or yearly pricing along with what’s included with each plan.
Best Value – Office 365 Home
What jumps out at me is the great value with the Office 365 Home where you can pay $99/year and get Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher & Access and the ability to share your subscription with up to 5 users. By my math, it’s $20 per license and you will always have the most up-to-date Office version running on your devices.
In addition to the programs (now called apps), you get 1TB of OneCloud storage per user (it’s just 5GB for everyone else). You also get 60 free Skype minutes a month (from computer to phone). You also get free Microsoft support via chat or phone (this is a newer feature).
Office 365 Personal
This is a 1-user subscription for $69/year or $6.99/month. You are licensed to put Office on one device only.
You’ll get the same apps and storage as above. With so many people having multiple devices in a household, I’m just not sure it’s a good choice. For $30 more, you get so much more!
Office Home & Student 2016 for PC & Mac – $149
You get Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote. Noticeably absent is Outlook. This is not a subscription – you pay for it once and you keep it. That means, you’ll get updates to your Office 2016 programs/apps, but when Microsoft brings out Office 2017 (or whatever they’ll call it), you’ll still be with 2016.
What About Free Office for Students?
Yes, if you are in school and have a valid school email address, you can get Office 365 for free (but not Outlook, according to what I read). Here’s the link to sign up for that or to check it out.
Microsoft Office 2016
You can buy Office 2016 Professional ($399) or Office 2016 ($229). You can even buy a single app if you would like. Here’s the page where you can look them all over.
This is a 1-time purchase for 1 device. You will get updates on your 2016 product(s) as long as they are being updated.
If you have Office 2013, there isn’t an upgrade path where you’d pay less money, unfortunately. You will need to fork over the cash for an entire new subscription.
If you want to move your current Office from one computer to another, you should uninstall it from the first computer and then reinstall it on your new computer. If you had a download for 2013, you should be able to sign into your Microsoft account and re-download it. If you have a disk, then of course, you’d use that. I’ve heard of people having issues when doing this. With the new Microsoft help and support feature, you will be able to ask for and get help with this.
With all of the above products, you (and anyone), has access to the free Microsoft apps on-line. They are quite powerful and useful. All you need is to sign in with your Microsoft Account.
Business – Office 365 Business Essentials – $5/month
These are the business plans – made for businesses large and small. This is business, or Exchange-quality email. For example, I use the Business Essentials Plan. It’s right for me because I have a business name, website and domain. With Business Essentials, I was able to set up my domain-branded email. I have SharePoint where I can upload and store documents that can be shared. I also have OneDrive for Business for my business files.
The lowest plan – just $5/month ($6/mo. If you pay month-to-month). This gives you Exchange-quality email, (as if you had a business mail server).
You also get SharePoint (file sharing), and OneDrive for Business (more and different features than consumer OneDrive). New to this list is Microsoft Teams, which just came out of preview this week (March 15, 2017).
This plan does not include any Microsoft apps – but you do get free access to the Microsoft on-line apps.
Business – Office 365 Business – $8.25/month
This plan gives you Office 2016 apps and OneDrive for Business. Although you get Outlook, you don’t get the Exchange-quality Outlook as above, nor do you get SharePoint.
You do get all the latest Office updates delivered to you automatically and if Microsoft goes to Office 2017, you’ll automatically get that.
Business – Office 365 Business Premium – $12.50/month
This is the whole enchilada – Exchange-quality email, SharePoint and all the Microsoft latest apps (including the new Teams).
Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Plans
We’re not discussing these here, but here’s the link if you want to look into plans for larger companies.
What’s Right For You?
Hopefully, you’ve figured that out by reading through the various descriptions. If you have a business, one of the business plans should work for you. If you already have a version of Office, you won’t need to buy Office. If you don’t have Office (or are using Office 2007 or below – ouch, hopefully not), then you will need a newer version of Office that will work well with Office 365.
If you work for an employer, you are using their email services so you might want to have Office on your home computer for you and your family to use so Office 365 Home sounds right for you.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment or just drop me an email.