Which Version of Microsoft Office Is Right For Me?

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Which Version of Microsoft Office Is Right For Me?

In this article we’ll cover the differences between the MS Office versions that are currently available and even a few free versions of Office. Hopefully uncover which version of Microsoft Office is right for you.

Disclaimer: This article is aimed at personal and home users of Office products only. The business and enterprise solutions will be discussed in a separate article.

The first thing to take note of  when choosing which Version of Microsoft Office is right for you is that all current versions of MS Office are no longer available to purchase on a physical CD / DVD. You’ll have to download the software and install it. You will still need to buy the license. You can purchase this at your local computer store or online or directly from Microsoft. License keys that you buy in a physical store will come in small box that contains a business card-sized card with your license key printed on it. For license keys bought online, the key is mailed to you once you’ve made your purchase. Microsoft purchases will store the license key in your Microsoft account. A Microsoft is a requirement when purchasing any software products from Microsoft.  Always remember to keep you license keys in a safe place in case you ever need to reload you computer.

Take note that when installing MS Office, you’ll need to login to or create a Microsoft account. This is the way that Microsoft now keeps track of your purchases.

Surprisingly, eBay seems to offer better prices for Microsoft Office 2019.


Office 2019

This is the “traditional” way that Office was sold in the past. Once you’ve purchased the product, its yours. There are no additional charges or monthly subscriptions fees. It’s a “pay once and it’s yours forever” package deal.

The down side to this is that you also wont receive any updates or products improvements. And if (or should we say, when) the product becomes obsolete, you’ll have to upgrade by repurchasing the new MS Office product.

Office 2019 comes in two options: Home & Student and Home & Business.


Home & Student

Home and Student only includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint (No Outlook, I’m afraid). This is the bare basics of the MS Office options available. There are a number of ways to receive this package free of charge if you are a student or teacher. A quick Google could help you find this solution.

Office 2019 Home & Student

Pros

Pros
  • Free to students and educators
  • No monthly fees
  • No internet connection needed once downloaded
  • Includes Word, Excel & PowerPoint

Cons

Cons
  • Only works on Windows 10/ Mac iOS latest 3 versions
  • Does not include Outlook
  • No updates or product improvements
  • 1 purchase = 1 license for 1 PC or Mac

Home & Business

Home And Business includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. It’s a 1 purchase = 1 license for 1 computer (PC or MAC). Remember, MS Office 2019 will only run on Windows 10. On a MAC, Office 2019 is supported on the three latest versions of iOS. You don’t need to be connected to the internet to use Office 2019. But will require an internet connection to download and activate it (and to use Outlook – obviously).

Office 2019 Home & Business

Pros

Pros
  • No monthly fees
  • No internet connection needed once downloaded
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

Cons

Cons
  • Only works on Windows 10 / latest 3 versions on Mac iOS
  • No updates or product improvements
  • 1 purchase = 1 license for 1 PC or Mac

Office 365

Office 365 is the new way Microsoft intends to deliver services to it’s customers. This is a subscriptions based service where you will have to pay a fee either monthly or annually. Office 365 is broken down into three major categories, Personal, Home and Business. (Further Business options are available but are not discussed in this article.)

Personal

Office 365 Personal is a single user license but is available on multiple devices owned by that one user. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Publisher (PC Only) and Access (PC only)

Office 365 Personal

Pros

Pros
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Access (PC only) and Publisher (PC Only)
  • Receive product improvements and updates
  • No internet connection needed once downloaded (except for storage access and email)
  • 60 free Skype minutes per month (conditions apply)
  • 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage
  • Free live chat or telephone support
  • 1 license = one user on 6 devices

Cons

Cons
  • Only works on Windows 10 / latest 3 versions on Mac iOS
  • You will have to pay a monthly / annual fee

Home

Office 365 Home is a multi license version where up to 6 users can use the software. This is designed for family use. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Publisher (PC Only) and Access (PC only). As with Office 365 Personal, Home also includes many additional features, such as, 60 free Skype minutes per month per user* conditions apply, 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user and free live chat or telephone support for life.

You don’t need to be connected to the internet to use 365 but if you want to make use of the 1TB cloud storage then you’ll need an internet connection. And as with any email program, Outlook requires an internet connection to send and receive email. You’ll also need to connect to the internet to received updates. But for Word ,excl, PowerPoint,etc, an internet connection is not required.

Office 365 Home

Pros

Pros
  • Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, Access (PC only) and Publisher (PC Only)
  • Receive product improvements and updates
  • No internet connection needed once downloaded (except for storage access and email
  • 60 free Skype minutes per month per user (conditions apply)
  • 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user
  • Free live chat or telephone support
  • 1 license = up to 6 family members

Cons

Cons
  • Only works on Windows 10 / latest 3 versions on Mac iOS
  • You will have to pay a monthly / annual fee

Is there a Free version of MS Office?

The simple answer is YES! However, as you’d probably expect, it’s quite limited.

The free version of Office is only available to use online (while you are connected to the internet). So this is essentially a cloud service. To access your free account, simply go to https://office.com/. Either create a Microsoft account or sign in with you existing Microsoft account – and that’s it! Your free MS Office account offers Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Tasks, Calendar and a few more nice to haves but you’ll only get 5GBs of free space. One major drawback is that you can’t import your Outlook data into your free account.

Office Online

Pros

Pros
  • Free
  • All Office application available

Cons

Cons
  • Can’t import your email data to Outlook
  • Only 5 GB’s of cloud storage available
  • Need to be connected to the internet

Microsoft Office Alternatives

If you’re not sure which version of Microsoft Office to choose, then you may want to consider and Alternative. Here’s three options you might want to consider.

Google offers a similar cloud solution in the form of Gmail and Google Drive: Gmail replacing Outlook and Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Slides replacing the Excel, Word and PowerPoint respectively. You’ll need to be connected to the internet.
You get 15GBs of space with Google and you can store anything in your drive, like photos, videos, music,etc. Sharing the content of your drive with anyone you like is an added bonus.

Gmail and Google Drive

Pros

Pros
  • Free
  • Use Sheets, Doc and Slides to replace Excel, Word and PowerPoint
  • 15GB cloud Storage

Cons

Cons
  • Need to be connected to the internet

Offline Alternatives to Office includes Open Office, which is free opensource software that could replace Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Open Office does not have an email client.

And lastly there’s LibreOffice. It’s also opensource software so its also free to download and use.
Again this package does not offer an email client.

Conclusion of which version of Microsoft Office is right for me?

We hope this article helps you pick the right option for you Office suite that’s suitable for your needs.

 

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