If you’re 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’re a little confused about which one to choose, you’re not alone. Although both products give you access to the same apps with the latest core features, some significant differences come down to the cost of ownership and the list of enhancements.
Microsoft 365 is the new name of the subscription service that replaces Office 365. However, it offers the same benefits as the previous service, the same apps available with Office 2019, plus 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 across your devices (PC, Mac, tablet, and phone), as long as only six 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 the best part about getting a subscription plan is that you never have to worry about new versions. When you’re using Office from Microsoft 365, you’ll always be running 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 become available.
You also get cloud features (such as real-time collaboration and AI features) to help you be even more productive in school, the office, and across devices. As part of the bundle, everyone gets 1TB of OneDrive storage (up to 6TB in total when using the Family subscription), Skype minutes to make calls to landlines, and you can contact the support line with any questions or problems.
If you need even more storage, in addition to the already 1TB of cloud storage, members can also purchase up to an additional 1TB of OneDrive 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 additional subscription) in their account for $9.99. This option is available for Microsoft 365 “Personal” and “Family” members. However, if you’re sharing the account using a “Family” subscription with other people, only the primary account holder can access the separate full terabyte.
Similar to Office 2019, you can install Microsoft 365 Office apps on your mobile devices, but unlike the perpetual version, you’ll get access to the complete array of features.
|Office from Microsoft 365||Office 2019|
|Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) is the best option for anyone who needs access to the full range of Office apps and other benefits on multiple devices. You can share a subscription with up to six people. Also, it’s the only option that offers continuity of updates and upgrades with a low cost of ownership. However, there are monthly or yearly costs, and you may end up paying for features you won’t use.||If you only need the basic features on one computer, Office 2019 is probably all you need, as it allows you to access the must-have apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with all the necessary functionalities to create documents for school or work. However, paying upfront is pricey, you have to pay again for upgrades, and you don’t get extra perks.|
|All apps access||Popular apps access|
|Up to six people support subscription||No monthly payments|
|Free upgrades||Security updates|
|Customer support||Traditional experience|
|Windows 10, 8, 7, and macOS support||Windows 10 and macOS support|
|Monthly or yearly payments||One device per license|
|Limited functionality if service issues||Limited set of features|
|New changes may be overwhelming||Only on Windows 10 and macOS|
|Paying for unnecessary features||No upgrades|
|No customer support|
Who should buy Microsoft 365
If you need access to the suite of apps, Microsoft 365 (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 Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS. In contrast, Office 2019 only allows you to use apps on a single PC running Windows 10.
The subscription service comes with different plans. If you’d be the only one using the apps and services, you can purchase the “Microsoft 365 Personal” (formerly “Office 365 Personal”) plan for $70 a year, which gives you access to the suite of apps, alongside 1TB of OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.
However, if you’re planning to share the account with family members or friends, you should select the “Microsoft 365 Family” (formerly “Office 365 Home”) plan for $100 a year, which allows you to share the apps and benefits with up to six people. Plus, everyone gets their 1TB of OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.
Also, at no additional cost, you can access more services, such as Microsoft Teams (consumer), which allows you to connect and organize your life with family and friends using a single hub. Microsoft Family Safety to manage screen time, app and game usage, share location, monitor driving behavior for young drivers (coming soon), and more across family members. Other premium features include Microsoft Editor, PowerPoint Presenter Coach, and Money in Excel. (Some of these services are available for free, but with limited functionality, which can only be unlocked with a subscription.)
If you choose to jump into one of the plans, you should purchase the yearly subscription plan as 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. Using 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, but Microsoft will continue to offer security updates for Office apps until January 2023, but you won’t receive new features. Once you upgrade to Windows 10, support will resume with regular security patches, new features, and improvements.
Office 2019 is the name that Microsoft uses for the standalone version of its popular suite of apps. It doesn’t require a monthly subscription, meaning that you own the copy forever once you go through 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 device, 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 access the new features and tools, you’ll need to pay the full price again.
Also, even though Office 2019 comes with apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with more improvements than the older version, it only ships with a subset of features and without many of the perks available with a Microsoft 365 subscription. For example, with the 2019 version, you won’t find cloud and AI features, along with benefits, such as 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and free monthly credits to make calls to landlines using Skype.