Simple questions: What is Microsoft Office 365?

Office 365 is a term you hear often on the internet and when looking for apps such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Although Microsoft has pushed Office 365 subscriptions to its users for quite a few years now, you might still not know what it really is. What does Office 365 mean? Is it the same as Office 2016 or Office 2019? Does it come with added benefits? If you want to know what Office 365 is and whether you should have it, read this article, and we will give you the answers:

What is meant by Office 365?

To put it shortly, Office 365 is a suite of software and services offered by Microsoft as a subscription. The central part of the Office 365 subscription is represented by the company's Office apps that include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and others. You can buy different plans for Office 365, depending on what software and services you need, as well as for how many users and devices.

Office 365 logo

Office 365 has different subscription plans for home users and business users:

  • Home users can subscribe to Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal
  • Businesses can subscribe to Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium or Office 365 Business Essentials

All the Office apps included are permanently updated and receive the newest features available, for as long as your subscription is valid.

Also, to be able to buy and use Office 365, you must own a Microsoft account (for home users) or a business account (for business users). You need it to log in and download the apps, as well as to access the other services bundled with Office 365.

What is Office 365 Home?

Office 365 Home is a monthly or annual subscription plan for up to 6 users and includes:

  • Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and OneNote
  • Services: OneDrive, Skype

You can use the apps and services on multiple PCs and Macs, tablets, and smartphones, that run on Windows, iOS or Android. The Publisher and Access apps are available only on PC.

The install links for Office 365 Home

Each of the users that are part of the Office 365 Home subscription gets 1 TB of cloud storage space in OneDrive, and 60 minutes in Skype for calls to mobile phones and landlines, per month. When we published this article, an Office 365 Home subscription was $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month.

What is Office 365 Personal?

Office 365 Personal includes all the apps and services found in the Office 365 Home plan, but only for one user. Office 365 Personal costs $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month.

What is Office 365 for Business?

Office 365 for Business is a line of subscriptions tailored for businesses. There are three different plans available: Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium or Office 365 Business Essentials.

Office 365 Business is a subscription plan that includes:

  • Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and Access
  • Services: OneDrive, Skype

One license seat grants one user the rights to install all the Office apps on 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 smartphones. Each user that is part of the Office 365 Business subscription also gets 1 TB of cloud storage space in OneDrive.

If your company subscribes to Office 365 Business, it can add as many as 300 users to the subscription. The price for each user is of $8.25 per month on an annual commitment or $10.00 per month with a monthly commitment.

The Office 365 Business Premium adds:

  • Email hosting: 50 GB mailbox and custom email domain address
  • Company-wide intranet and team sites with SharePoint, online meetings and video conferencing for up to 250 people, Microsoft Teams, Outlook Customer Manager, Microsoft Invoicing, Microsoft Bookings, MileIQ, and Microsoft Planner

The price for Office 365 Business Premium per user is of $12.50 per month on an annual commitment or $15.00 per month with a monthly commitment.

Office 365 Business

The third subscription plan available for business is called Office 365 Business Essentials. It has most of the apps and services available in Office 365 Business Premium but does not include the desktop versions of the Office applications, although it lets you install the mobile apps on smartphones or tablets, as well as access their online versions. It also does not include Outlook Customer Manager, Microsoft Invoicing, Microsoft Bookings, and MileIQ.

The price for Office 365 Business Essentials per user is of $5.00 per month on an annual commitment or $6.00 per month with a monthly commitment.

Are Office 2016 or Office 2019 and Office 365 the same?

No, Office 365 is not the same as Office 2016 or Office 2019. Office 365 is a subscription service that includes Office apps but also other services. As you know now, Office 365 keeps all the Office apps you use up to date with the latest security patches and newest features. Office 2016 and Office 2019 are both one-time purchases, meaning that you pay for them up-front and you only get the Office apps on one PC or Mac. Office 2016 and Office 2019 do not include additional services, and they are only updated until a new version of Office comes up. At that point, if you want to have the latest Office apps, you have to buy a new license, at full price, or switch to Office 365.

Do you intend to subscribe to Office 365?

Now you know what Office 365 is and what it offers. You know what you get from it if you buy a subscription to one of its Home plans and you know what the Business plans include. Is Office 365 a good choice for you? Will you buy it? Tell us why, in the comments section below.