If you're planning to upgrade, or you're new to Microsoft Office, you probably noticed that now you have two options: Office 2019 and Office 365. If you're a little confused on which one to get, you're not alone.

Although both versions offer the same apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with the latest core features, there are some significant differences that come down to the cost of ownership and list of features. (And to be clear, Office 2019 isn't a replacement for Office 365.)

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the information you need to know to decide between getting Office 2019 or Office 365.

Office 2019 features

Office 2019 is the name that Microsoft is using for the standalone version of the popular suite of office apps, which doesn't require a monthly subscription, meaning that once you go through the one-time purchase, you own the copy forever.

Using this option (also known as "perpetual" or "on-premises" version of Office), you can only install the apps on a single computer, you'll get security updates, but you won't be able to upgrade to a follow-up version. This means that you can keep using the version that you purchased for its lifecycle and beyond (without updates), but if you want to access the new features and tools, you'll need to pay full price again.

Also, even though Office 2019 comes with apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with more improvements than its predecessor, it only ships with a subset of features and without many of the perks available with an Office 365 subscription.

For example, with the 2019 version, you won't find cloud and AI features, and benefits, such as 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and free monthly credit to make calls to landlines using Skype.

Who should buy Office 2019

Although anyone can purchase Office 2019, this version has been designed for commercial customers with volume licenses, which also happen to have specific requirements to use the suite of apps on-premises, and they're not ready to transition to a cloud-based version of Office.

If you're a regular consumer, this is still (somewhat) a good option, but only if you plan to install the suite on a single device, you don't depend on new features, or you're not ready to start using cloud-based applications, and you prefer a more traditional experience.

Additionally, while you're getting a license for one PC or Mac going down the one-time purchase route, you can install the Office apps on all your mobile devices, but you'll only get some basic features.

Office 2019 comes in two flavors, including Office Home & Student 2019 and Office Home & Business 2019, and they're typically priced at $149.99 and $249.99 per device respectively.

Office Home & Student 2019 comes with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, while Office Home & Business 2019 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also, consider that unlike previous perpetual versions, Office 2019 is only supported on devices running Windows 10 or the three most recent versions of macOS. If you must use the most up-to-date version of Office, and you're still on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, you have to purchase an Office 365 subscription.

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Office 365 features

Office 365 is the name that Microsoft uses for its subscription plan service that offers the same apps available with Office 2019, but with even more apps, more features, tools, and other benefits.

Using this option, you'll be paying a monthly or yearly subscription feed giving you access to apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and others on all your devices as long as only five devices are accessing the account at a time. Also, depending on your subscription plan, you can share the account with up to five additional people, for a total of six people with one subscription.

Perhaps one of the best features getting a subscription plan is that you never have to worry about new versions. When you're using Office 365, you'll always be running the most up-to-date version of the apps that Microsoft can offer. This unlocks regular security updates, improvements, and more importantly, access to the latest features and tools as soon as they become available.

Quick Tip: Although Office 365 applications should update automatically, you can always check for updates on File > Account, clicking Update Options, and selecting the Update Now button.

You also get cloud features, such as real-time collaboration, and AI features to help boost your productivity at home, school, work, and across devices. In addition, as part of the bundle, you get 1TB of OneDrive storage, Skype minutes to make calls to landlines, and you can contact the support line with any questions you may have.

Similar to Office 2019, you can install Office 365 on your mobile devices, but unlike the perpetual version, you'll get access to the complete array of features.

Who should buy Office 365

If you need access to the suite of apps, Office 365 is perhaps your best choice, as it's the only option that ensures continuity of updates and upgrades at a low cost. Also, you get access to all the apps, which you can install on all your devices, including on devices running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS. (Office 2019 only allows you to use apps on a single computer running Windows 10.)

The subscription service comes with different plans. If you are the only person using the apps and services, you can purchase the "Office 365 Personal" plan for $69.99/year, which gives you access to the software suite, in addition to 1TB of OneDrive storage, and Skype minutes.

However, if you're planning to share the plan with family members or roommates, you should select the "Office 365 Home" plan for $99.99/year, which allows you to share the apps and the benefits with up to five additional people, and everyone gets their Skype minutes and 1TB of OneDrive storage. Amazon even has a deal on it right now offering one year of Office 365 Home for $54.99.

If you choose to buy into a subscription plan, you should purchase the yearly subscription as you'll be spending more money paying the monthly feed.

Microsoft even has a free subscription plan for students and teachers using a valid school email address. Using this service, you'll get access to Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, and other school tools for free.

Alongside the consumer options, Microsoft also provides Office 365 small businesses and enterprises.

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Office Online

If making the move to Office 2019 is too expensive, or you're not willing to commit to a monthly subscription, you also have Office Online. This option is free, and it allows you to access the web version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with all the essential features most regular users will need to get the work done. The apps are available through any web browser and from virtually anywhere, plus you get 5GB of OneDrive to store your documents and photos.

You can sign up for Office Online in this website, but if you already have an Outlook.com account, then you're already signed up with Office Online.

More Windows 10 resources

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