What is Office 365? It’s the way Microsoft would like for you to use Microsoft Office. The model has been around for Office since 2011. It’s a subscription model for using Microsoft Office products as opposed to using the standalone apps on your computer. The standalone apps are perpetual. You pay once and own the software. The software then gets feature updates and security updates for a specific period of time before mainstream support runs out. With Office 365, you are constantly getting updates, always have the latest version of the product, and you don’t own anything. You pay a fee to use the Office apps. This works for a lot of people, but not everybody is a fan of the Office 365 model. There are a lot of people who prefer having the apps right on their computer, even if it means not having all the latest features.

Office 365 Plans

There are several different plans for Office 365. First, there are plans for home users and business users. The prices vary, as do the features, so it’s easy to choose which plan is right for you. All of the plans, except Home and Student (which is a one-time purchase) come with the core programs as well as Access, Publisher, and OneNote. The Home and Student option gives you the three core programs, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. There are no services available for the Home and Student plan.

The services vary among the other plans. The home plans include OneDrive and Skype. The business plans include Exchange, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams. Office 365 Essentials doesn’t come with applications, only the services. Outlook comes with some of the plans. Regardless of your needs, you will be able to find a plan that suits you at a price that fits your budget. As for as plans go, Office 365 is pretty flexible.

Advantages of an Office 365 Plan

There are a lot of reasons a business may want an Office 365 Plan:

  • If you are focused on core business, you may not want to invest in an IT infrastructure. Using 365 is a way to implement all of the tools necessary to do your business without the need for an IT team.
  • If your company doesn’t human resources required to operate an IT infrastructure.
  • If your company needs to cut back on the cost of software licenses, storage capacity for mailboxes, etc.
  • If your company is set on always using the latest version of software. This is a great way to have your products updated regularly.
  • When you want your company to collaborate with external entities and avoid additional expenses for licenses. This also reduces risk and of security concerns.

There aren’t as many advantages for casual home users beyond the fact that a subscription plan lets you have access to the latest updates and you can always be sure your software is running at optimal performance. If your family makes use of all the apps on a regular basis, an Office 365 plan might be right for you. Some other reasons home users might want to use an Office 365 plan is because you get to use tools you already know and love, all updated regularly, you get access to new features regularly, and it’s flexible. If you have an Internet connection, you can access anytime, anywhere, and always have access to all your documents.

Is Office 365 Right for Me?

Should you use Office 365 or should you buy the latest standalone version. The latest version of Office is 2019. Office 2019 has most of the features that have been released to Office 365 over the previous three years. If you buy Office 2019 instead of an Office 365 subscription, you only pay a one-time fee, but there will be no future feature updates. There will, however, be security updates. If you can live with the feature set released in Office 2019, maybe you don’t need an Office 365 subscription. Office 2019 will be a viable product for many years to come. If you prefer locally installed software, an Office 365 subscription might not be for you. Some people prefer to have the software installed on their computer. Some people simply don’t trust the cloud.

Some people aren’t concerned with having all the latest features as long as their software does what they need it to do. If that’s the case with you, then you can probably do without an Office 365 subscription and just buy Office 2019.

If, on the other hand, you want Microsoft apps that are extremely secure, updated with new features regularly and seamlessly, and like the idea of accessing your apps and your work in the cloud whenever you want, from wherever you want, an Office 365 subscription is probably the option for you.

Whatever your needs and preferences are, Microsoft Office remains the most popular office suite worldwide. Whether you get the perpetual standalone version or an Office 365 subscription plan, you can get access to the core apps, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can get OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher, and Skype, depending on which edition of the office suite you choose. For word processing power, the ability to create stunning presentations, and the ability to manage large amounts of data, Office 365 or Office 2019 are good choices.