David Harper
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Posted by: David Harper - 25/11/17 @ 8:23AM

The Office 365 subscription service is a new way to obtain the ubiquitous Microsoft productivity software -- such as Word, Excel, and Outlook -- without the need for an upfront purchase. Many people are wary of ongoing subscriptions, so I have put together some information that you can use to determine whether paying an ongoing charge will be as or more cost-effective than an outright purchase.

Currently, Office 365 Home costs around $11 per month when billed on a yearly basis, and includes full copies of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access for up to five PCs, plus Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook for up to five tablets and five phones. By comparison, Office 2016 Home and Business, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook, costs around $300.

Reasons to Subscribe to Office 365 Home

  • More than one device - if you intend to use Microsoft Outlook for email, you will spend around $600 to purchase two copies of Office Home and Business, whereas over five years Office 365 Home will cost $645, and give you far more flexibility
  • iPads and tablets - if you wish to use your iPad or tablet for productivity tasks, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint require an Office 365 subscription to create or modify documents (opening and reading them are free)
  • Publisher and Access users - Office 2016 Professional, which includes these programs, costs almost $600 per licence, so an Office 365 Home subscription will almost always be more cost effective
  • Microsoft service users - Office 365 includes advanced features for users, including ad-free browsing, a generous storage allowance for OneDrive (the Microsoft DropBox equivalent), and up to 60 minutes of Skype-based international calling per month
  • Large family - Office 365 Home allows you to share your entitlements with others in your household, including adult children, and each additional user receives the same advanced features for Microsoft services

Reasons to Purchase Office 2016

  • Small business owners - when you operate a business from your home, technically you are not eligible for Office 365 Home, so if you have no need for Publisher or Access and only have one or two computers, it will probably be cheaper to purchase Office 2016 Home and Business licences for these devices
  • Light users - if you can do without Outlook, Publisher, or Access, have only one or two computers, and see no value in the premium features offered for OneDrive,, or Skype, Office 2016 Home and Student can be purchased for around $175 per computer

Microsoft Office purchases are something I always talk through with my clients when they are upgrading their computers or purchasing new equipment, so if you would like me to discuss your specific situation with you, click here to contact me.

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