If you are new to Microsoft Office or are planning to upgrade, you probably noticed that now you have two options: Office 2019 and Office from Microsoft 365. If you are confused about which one to choose, you're not the only one. Although these products give you access to the same core set of applications, the difference comes down to the list of enhancements and cost of ownership.
Microsoft 365 is the name of the subscription-based service that replaces Office 365. You are still getting the same apps available with Office 2019, and the same benefits as before, but with the new branding, you also get additional apps, features, and perks.
Using this option, you'll be paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee, giving you access to apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and others for all your devices (PC, Mac, tablet, and phone). Of course, as long as only six devices are accessing the account at a time. Also, depending on the subscription plan you choose, you can share the account with up to five additional people, for a total of six people with one plan.
Perhaps the best part about getting a subscription is that you never have to worry about new versions. When you install Office from Microsoft 365, you'll always have the most up-to-date version of the apps. This means regular security updates, improvements, and more importantly, access to the latest features and tools as soon as they are available.
You also get cloud features (for example, real-time collaboration and AI features) to help you be even more productive in school, office, and across devices. As part of the bundle, everyone gets 1TB of OneDrive storage (up to 6TB in total with the Family subscription), and Skype minutes to call landlines. Also, since customer support is included, you can call Microsoft with any questions or problems knowing that someone will help you.
If you have a lot of files, in addition to the already 1TB of cloud storage, you can also purchase up to an additional 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage on 200GB increments for an extra $1.99 per month, doubling the total storage up to 2TB (1TB already included with the plan and 1TB with the additional subscription) in their account for $9.99. This option is available for Microsoft 365 "Personal" and "Family" members. However, in the case of the "Family" subscription, only the primary account holder can purchase the separate terabyte.
Similar to Office 2019, you can install Microsoft 365 Office apps on mobile devices, but the subscription will unlock all the available features.
Who should buy Microsoft 365
If you need access to the suite of apps, Microsoft 365 (Office 365) is perhaps the best choice, since it's the only option that offers continuity of updates and upgrades at a low cost. Also, you get access to all the desktop applications, which you can install on every device, including Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS. In contrast, Office 2019 only grants you access to use apps on a single computer running Windows 10.
If you need access to the suite of apps, Microsoft 365 is perhaps your best choice.
The subscription service comes with two different plans. If you'd be the only person using the apps and cloud services, you can purchase the "Microsoft 365 Personal" (formerly "Office 365 Personal") plan for $70 a year, which gives you access to all the apps, alongside 1TB of OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.
However, if you are planning to share the account with friends or family members, you should select the "Microsoft 365 Family" (formerly "Office 365 Home") plan for $100 a year, since this plan allows you to share the apps and benefits with up to six people. In addition, everyone gets their 1TB of OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.
With either plan, you get access to even more services, such as Microsoft Family Safety to manage screen time, app and game usage, share location, monitor driving behavior for young drivers, and more across family members. (The app is available for free, but you need a subscription to use premium features like location alerts and drive safety.)
Other premium features include Microsoft Editor to check spelling, grammar, and style. Creative tools that are driven by AI like PowerPoint Presenter Coach, Ideas, Resume Assistant, and Designer. Creative content, such as stock photos, templates, icons, and fonts. Money in Excel to view, track, and organize your household finances. (Some of these services are available for free, but with limited functionalities, which can only be unlocked with a subscription.)
Also, you'll be upgraded to Outlook.com premium, which includes more features like 50GB of storage, no advertisements, message encryption, and better security.
If you choose to get one of these plans, you should purchase the yearly subscription plan because you'll be spending more money paying the monthly fee.
Microsoft even has a free subscription plan for students and teachers using a valid school email address. With this service, you'll get access to Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, and other school tools for free.
Windows 7 has reached the end of support. However, Microsoft will continue to offer security updates for Office apps until January 2023, but new features won't be available until you upgrade to Windows 10.
Office 2019 is the name that Microsoft uses for the standalone version of its popular suite of apps. It doesn't require a subscription, meaning that you own the copy forever after the one-time purchase.
Using this option (also known as the "perpetual" or "on-premises" version of Office), you can install the apps on one computer, and you'll get security updates. However, you won't be able to upgrade to a newer version. This means that you can keep using the apps you've purchased for its life-cycle (usually five years) and beyond (without updates), but if you want to use the new features and enhancements, you'll have to purchase a new license again.
Also, even though Office 2019 comes with apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with more improvements than the older version, it only comes with a subset of features, and it lacks many of the benefits available with a Microsoft 365 subscription. For instance, with the 2019 version, you won't find cloud and AI features, along with benefits, such as 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, Outlook.com premium, and free monthly credits to make calls to landlines using Skype.
Who should buy Office 2019
Anyone can purchase the standalone version of Office 2019. But this version has been created for commercial customers with volume licenses in mind who are not ready to transition to a cloud-based version of Office and happen to have specific requirements to use the suite of apps on-premise.
Although anyone can purchase Office 2019, this version has been designed for certain commercial customers.
If you are a regular consumer, this is a good option only if you prefer a more traditional approach. If you plan to use the suite on a single computer, additional features are not a requirement, or you are not ready to start using cloud-based applications, it's also a solid choice.
Also, while you are getting a license for one PC or Mac using the one-time purchase option, you can install the Office apps on all your mobile devices, but with limited functionalities.
Office 2019 comes in two flavors, including "Office Home & Student 2019" and "Office Home & Business 2019," and they are typically priced at $150 (currently $124.99) and $250 per device, respectively. Office Home & Student 2019 comes with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, while Office Home & Business 2019 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
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 have to use the most up-to-date version of Office on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, you have to purchase a Microsoft 365 subscription.
So, which should you buy?
Ultimately, the answer will depend on what you need. But, if you'll be using the apps for a long time, purchasing a Microsoft 365 subscription is perhaps your best option because you get full access to all the apps and benefits with a low cost of ownership.
Get more and increase productivity with the latest features
Microsoft 365 gives you access to all the Office apps and perks, such as 1TB of OneDrive, Skype minutes, and Outlook.com premium. You can also install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other desktop apps on up to six devices, and depending on the plan you choose, it's possible to share the account with up to six people.
Pay once and use it forever
Office 2019 comes with all the popular apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with enough features to get the work done.
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