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What version of Microsoft Office to buy?

What version of Microsoft Office to buy?

I was recently asked by a customer of mine what version of Office they should buy.

Well this can be a pretty open ended question. This will depend entirely on what you plan on doing with it.

For example

  • Will you need a single copy or do you have multiple PC’s/Macs?
  • Will you need more than just Word, Excel, Power Point and OneNote?
  • Do you require Outlook as an email client?
  • Do you plan on using this on smart phones or tablets?

Basically Office comes in two main categories (and I am being very broad here).

Traditional Software purchase or Subscription based Office 365.

What’s the difference? In most cases the traditional software purchase (i.e. go into the shop and buy a copy of Office of the shelf) allows you to install it on a single PC or MAC.

There is different license models here for small to enterprise corporations which include Open, Select and Enterprise licensing but I won’t be covering that in this article.

Let’s look at the different of the shelf versions you can buy and what they include

Office Home and Student 2013

Office Home and Business 2013

Office Professional 2013

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Includes072915_1126_Whatversion4.png Includes

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This is most basic version of Office. It does not come with any of the advanced software it is purely for those interested in doing Word Processing, some spread sheets and the occasional Power Point presentation.   This is very similar to the Home and Student edition except they have include Outlook for your email needs.  The professional suite includes everything from the Home and Business edition but also includes Publisher and Access. Publisher is a very good tool for creating posters, banners, cards, invitations etc. It is a tool designed for graphical document work. Access gives you the full blown database experience if you need to create complex data storage and reporting tools (e.g. finance, accounting book keeping etc.)
At the time of writing this the current price for this was

$169 AUD

At the time of writing this the current price for this was

 $299 AUD

At the time of writing this the current price for this was

 $599 AUD

 

Each of these products allows you to install it on 1 PC (or Mac if you purchase th Mac versions). Another major drawback is that once you have purchased it, you will need to purchase any major updated release (e.g. Office 2016) again.

Now let’s look at Office 365 and what it offers

Office 365 Personal

Office 365 Home

Office 365 University

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With the base model you get everything you had with the Office Professional version. Because you are subscribing to Office 365 you also get some “cloud” benefits. 1TB of online storage in MS OneDrive (like Dropbox or Google Drive). That is 1,024 GB of online storage!You also get Skype with 60 minutes a month that you can use to call land lines or mobiles from your PC for free.

 

You also have the option to install it on iPad or Android tablet along with your PC or Mac.

Exactly the same as the Office 365 personal except this time you can install it on up to 5 PC’s or Macs AND 5 Tablet or smart phone devices. You can nominate 5 users in your family and they will all be given 1TB of OneDrive storage and 60 minutes each of Skype time.When looking at a product for the entire family this is hard to beat. Essentially the same as Office 365 Personal it allows you to install on 2 devices. This means either PC, MAC or tablet. Any two of those items. Unlike the others this is a 4 year contract and you can only pay for it in a yearly subscription not a monthly one.You also have to be an existing University student or lecturer.
At the time of writing this the current price for this was

$89 AUD per year

 $9 AUD per month

At the time of writing this the current price for this was

 $119 AUD per year

$12 AUD per month

At the time of writing this the current price for this was

 $99 AUD per year

 

 

So what is the disadvantage? The most obvious one is that you are always paying for the product, either monthly or yearly. The second drawback is that even though you download and install the product to your PC or Mac you do need to have internet access to get the initial installation down.

What about the benefits? Personally I think they outway the disadvantages. Here are some good points

  • You will always have the latest version of the software
  • You are given the full suite of products
  • Massive online storage negating the need to do tedious onsite backups.
  • Price is very competitive and all bar one has a monthly subscription making it an affordable option
  • The ability to have multiple devices covered
  • As an Office 365 user you will get access to Microsoft Support should you have issues.

I personally have got the small business Office 365 which also gave me the ability to move my personal email to an online Microsoft Email server as well as a host of other things. Purely from the Office licensing on all our devices it was for me the best option.

 

I hope this helps you make up your mind which is the right one for you.

As always feel free to comment and give me your thoughts.

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