There are two ways to buy Microsoft Office for your home computer. You can buy a subscription to Office 365, or you can buy Office 2016 as a one-off purchase. Which is best for you? Let’s find out.
If you want to open documents that people send to you, or you want to write your own letters and documents, Microsoft Word is probably the best word processor you can buy. It’s also essential these days to be able to work with spreadsheets in Excel, and PowerPoint is a really popular way of making presentations for work and school.
You can get Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a single package called Microsoft Office. You can buy it either as a subscription to Office 365 Personal for £59.99 per year, or as a one-time purchase of Office Home & Student 2016 for £119.99.
Comparing these two choices, it would seem to make sense to buy Office 2016 – as subscribing to Office 365 for more than 2 years would cost more than the one-off purchase. So, does Office 365 offer features that make it worth the cost? My answer is yes, provided they are features that you’ll use.
Extra features in Office 365
Firstly, you get 1 Terabyte (1 TB) of OneDrive Storage. This is the main selling point for me. OneDrive is a service that takes the files you save on your computer and stores them securely online. If you ever find yourself without your computer, you can just log into the OneDrive website on any computer and get access to your files. You can even work on your documents.
1 TB is a really generous amount of storage. It’s 1000 GB, which is more than you can store on most laptops. OneDrive is more cost-effective than most other cloud storage providers, and that’s before you include the Office apps included in the price. Dropbox costs £79 per year for 1TB, and Google Drive costs 99 pence more. Box only gives its users 100 GB for £84 per year.
Next, you get three extra apps with an Office 365 subscription. Outlook is a popular email client that includes calendars and tasks. Publisher is ideal for print projects such as posters and newsletters. And Access is a powerful database program thet lets you store and analyse data. If you bought Office 2016, then purchasing any of these apps separately would cost you £109.99.
One more reason to get Office 365 is the mobile apps it gives you. If you own a smartphone or tablet, you can download Word, Excel and PowerPoint as an app. This can be really useful if you have your files stored on OneDrive – you can pull out your iPhone or iPad at anytime and do some work.
Office 365 Home
Office 365 Personal lets you use Office on one computer for £59.99 per year. If you plan to use Office on multiple computers you can subscribe to Office 365 Home instead, which is £79.99 per year and can be used on up to 5 computers. This is fantastic for letting everyone in the family have Office on their computers.
Which one should I buy?
Of course, an Office 365 subscription isn’t for everyone. If you don’t think you’re going to use OneDrive, and if you don’t need the extra apps or the mobile apps, then Office 2016 is the cheaper option.
If you’re only looking for the basic Office programs – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – on one computer, then I would go for Office 2016 Home & Student, for a one-time purchase of £119.99.
But if you want to take advantage of that 1 TB of OneDrive storage, or you need extra apps such as Outlook, Access or Publisher, or you need the mobile apps, go for Office 365 Personal for £59.99 per year.
And if you want to use Office on multiple computers, or you want to share it with up to 5 family members, then get Office 365 Home for £79.99 per year.
Hopefully that makes things clearer for you. Please leave a comment letting me know which version of Office you go for!