There are many different versions of MS Office 365, but which is right for you? I hear versions of this question all the time! The fact of the matter is, there are quite a few different versions which include nearly every feature a home or business user could want, as long as they are willing to pay for it.
To Subscribe or Not to Subscribe, That is the question!
There are still versions of Office which you can purchase and install on your computer, and then continue to use for as long as that/those computer(s) continue to run a version of Windows which is supported for that software. However, the main new focus of Office is the Cloud Subscription Model, by which you pay a monthly or yearly fee for continue access to those programs.
There are pros and cons to both models; the Cloud Subscription is good, because you can install it on as many computers as is supported by your subscription — for instance, most business level subscriptions allow installation on up to 5 computers, plus your mobile devices. The desktop versions, however, must be licensed for each computer they are installed on, so if you are truly honest about your usage, the cost can be higher.
Also, cloud versions are updated frequently, so bugs are easily and quickly fixed… They can also be more easily created, as well! New features can be introduced which confuse users, or even break existing functionality. The benefit of the desktop licensing in this case, is that everything stays the same, which can be a benefit on the side of longer-term stability. Of course, another benefit is that you’re not forced into a monthly or yearly agreement, however that argument can be kind of a “red herring”, because ultimately, sooner or later, you WILL have to upgrade again, and the impact of that hard-line upgrade could potentially be far more costly than buying into a good system now, and paying smaller amounts over time.
Moving Forward With the Cloud (Subscribe!)
Despite a few drawbacks, the cloud approach has many benefits for all users, the best one being able to work on anything from anywhere. No longer do you have to run back to the home or office locations to get that document or information you needed… All of your home and work data can be stored on the cloud safely secured by your password and phone for second authentication.
The good new is that in most cases, it is also possible to combine desktop versions with cloud versions to provide the right mixture for you. This way you can be assured that you are only purchasing as much software as you need.
That said, your next task is to figure out what it is that you actually need!
The Core Apps
The main core apps in MS Office are the ones most used of all, and are the primary focus of a good many users.
- MS Word, arguably the most used document editor in the world.
- Excel, powerful spreadsheet editing
- PowerPoint, business graphics and presentations
- Outlook, email, calendars, sharing
There are two popular programs that ONLY run on the desktop, and have no “cloud” versions as do almost all of the other programs. They are:
- Microsoft Access, powerful database and programming platform
- Microsoft Publisher, page layout and publishing for newsletters, flyers, etc.
Home or Business
The next question that needs to be answered is not just where you will be using your software, but how, and for what end… For instance, in a business scenario, you probably want all of your emails to have the company domain name, like “firstname.lastname@example.org”. You can only do this with a business account — all Home editions of Office 365 use outlook.com emails, or allow you to use any other emails you might have, like Yahoo, Hotmail, or even AOL!
The Home edition is more affordable, of course, because it does not have all of the bells and whistles that a business needs, but still provides a great value! You can purchase a family plan for up to 5 users for $99.99 per year, or $9.95 per month. (Interestingly, a single user will cost $69.99 per year, so you really get a great bargain by buying the 5 user plan.)
Most business editions that have all the good features are about $15 per month; there are cheaper versions that don’t include Office 365 Online Email services, and there are also some add-ons which are lower cost such as, for instance, a low-cost email-only option that can be used for a collaborator who will use an email-only interface with the company.
To learn more about Home editions of Microsoft Office, click here:
To learn more about Business editions of Microsoft Office, click here:
Got questions about Office 365 and the services it provides? Drop us a line!
Sometimes all you need is a little guidance, and the conversion to a new system like Office 365 can be pulled off smoothly, saving you both time and money.