Everyone has used Microsoft Word over the years. You’ve likely used Excel too. You may have even used Power Point (or at least viewed a presentation), Outlook, or even Publisher. All of these applications are part of a suite of programs known as Microsoft Office. Office is truly a cross platform offering, being available on Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android. In the recent past Office was an expensive package. Around 2007 or 2008, I recall going to Staples with a client and buying Microsoft Office Professional for $400 to $500. For a typical consumer or home office user, there are 3 distinct Microsoft Office options:
1) FREE — Office.com — In what may come as a surprise to many — you can use basic versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your computer’s web browser for free. These web apps do not have all of the features or perhaps the ease of use as the full featured desktop apps, but they get the job done for many. Documents can be printed, downloaded to the computer, and even emailed out directly or indirectly. These documents will be stored in Microsoft’s cloud storage known as One Drive. You get 5 GB for free. That allotment can hold thousands of text based documents.
2) The License / One Off Purchase — Microsoft sells Office for Mac and Windows as a license for one computer. It is truly one computer only. Home and Student (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) will run you $149.99. Home and Business (all of the previous apps plus Outlook) will cost $249.99. These are one time costs. The licensed versions will receive security updates from Microsoft for 5 years from release of that version of Office (not 5 years from your purchase date). However, if you were to buy Office 2021 now — you would pretty much be getting 5 years because it was just released. Microsoft used to offer 10 years of updates for the licenses. This is all happening because Microsoft wants to push you into……
3) Microsoft 365 — Personal or Family — This is the ongoing subscription version of Microsoft Office and is how most of my clients are buying Office these days. It’s hard to argue they are not offering a lot for the price of admission. In addition to Word, Power Point, Excel, and Outlook — Windows users will also get Publisher and Access (sorry those do not exist for the Mac). The Personal edition($69.99 / year) will allow you to install Office on a total of 5 devices that you control (all under your Microsoft account). Mix and match Windows, Mac, and iPad — no problem! You will also get 1 TB of cloud storage space. That is huge. Honestly, other services could literally charge you $70 a year for just that cloud storage. The Family offering casts its net even further. It allows you to have 6 people in your family (all with their own Microsoft account) install Office on up to 5 devices each. That is a potential of 30 devices for $99.99 per year. How can you beat that? Additionally, each of the 6 people will get 1 TB of cloud storage space. That can cover tens of thousands of pictures, videos, documents and such. Finally, with Microsoft 365, you never have to worry about updates. You will always have the latest version of Office. Some family members and I have been subscribers to Microsoft 365 since it was released for consumers in 2013.
The commercial real estate market is tough right now, so I will let you choose which Office you want to move into. In a future Update, I will also cover some non-Microsoft office alternatives.