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This article was contributed by Sipho M. who works as Content Manager at ameliorateseo.com.

Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office are the two options offered for Microsoft’s productivity packages. The former is a subscription-based service, and the latter is a once-off payment option.

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Both have the capability of offline usage on desktop apps; however, Office has one leg up on Microsoft 365. This is because, with a subscription service, you can download and use the popular Office apps, but you will need to go online at least once every 30 days for the subscription to be registered for your continued use. Even though Microsoft has made a workaround for remote workers who really won’t have internet access for extended periods of time, it will still only go up to 180 days max.

On the other hand, Office 2021 (the latest version so far) will allow you to buy the package for a lifetime, at a fixed fee. Either version would be great, but it would mainly depend on your needs and use of the suite. Classic example; creatives need to be crafting all the time, even on the go. At times, it may be necessary to do a quick presentation after picking up arts and crafts materials from the Hobby Lobby weekly ad and sharing it with fans on social media. Such persons need continuous access, so Office 2021 would be best for them.

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What is Office 2021

Microsoft releases a better version of their office packages every 2-3 years, and as such, Office 2021 is their latest offering for the once-off version. Office 2021 has two pricing options; Home and Student, which comes with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Teams, and Onenote ($150). The second option is the Home and Business package, which has similar apps, with the added business functionality of Outlook, all costing $250.

Seeing that these both are one-time purchases, they might be more ideal for offline usage as they also do not need to get any updates. This, in a way, makes them more secure but also limits the user to older functions as there is no access to newer services as the apps are updated. This was the case when Office 2019 users could not benefit from features like the  XLOOKUP function which was released in the same year. Fortunately, this and other features are in Office 2021.

On the downside, this option can only be installed on one PC to avoid pirating. This might be a bit on the expensive side but might be ideal for businesses or users who don’t use their devices outside of work.

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What is Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 comes with full access to all features, even when you’re offline. However, some features such as collaboration tools require a connection to the internet. Here are the options:

  • Personal plan which costs $60 per year (or $6 a month)
  • Family plan costs $80 per year (or $8 a month).

Subscribed users get access to all the classic apps and a few extras like Publisher, access to premium templates in most apps, regular updates, up to 6TB cloud storage for the family plan, and 60 minutes international Skype minutes. One of the most important features is that it allows up to 30 devices to be signed up to users on the family plan, which is great for users with multiple devices.

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Conclusion

It’s safe to say that the choice for which is best clearly lies with the individual’s circumstances and needs. However, it’s worthy to note that in just two years, you would have already spent more if you chose Microsoft 365 Personal over Office Home & Student 2021. Regular updates and Microsoft’s drive to make Microsoft 365 better is also a big factor to consider. But it is not a deal-breaker for those who want to use it offline depending on access to the internet or other more unique factors.

About the author

Sipho M. is a Content Manager at ameliorateseo.com. She has a rich background in Marketing and Communications. With vast experience from the retail sector, she brings a keen eye for detail and a flair for service excellence. Sipho loves to contribute to business issues and the ever-changing environment in which they are now operating.

 
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