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Office 2013: Which Version is Right for You?

written by: •edited by: Carly Stockwell•updated: 12/13/2013

So you've decided to upgrade to Office 2013 -- now comes the time to decide which version is best for your needs. Would you rather have a subscription-based model, or a one-time payment? Where do you use the product most? Find out which Office is best for you with this guide.

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    You’ve decided to upgrade to the latest version of Office but with several options available to consumers you’re having a hard time figuring out just which version to buy. Fret no more! This article will walk you through the various options consumers have along with a comparison of included programs and associated cost.

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    Office 365

    With Office Product is Right for You? 365 vs. Standard Editions There’s a ton to love about Microsoft’s latest Office version including the push into cloud based services. Traditional purchases of Office limit you to installing on a single computer and access to Office is only available through that single computer. If you’re on the road and your computer is back home, you’re out of luck. With Microsoft Office 365 you get both a traditional installed product along with the ability to use Microsoft’s online services.

    Office 365 gives you access to core tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote while online. This means you can access your applications – and files – from nearly any internet connected device.

    The one thing to make note of is that Office 365 is a subscription based offering. A traditional Office purchase occurs once. Once you make a payment you are free to use that version of Office indefinitely. With Office 365, you need to make either monthly or yearly payments. The upside to this though is that you will always have access to the latest version of Office.

    Let’s dive into the differences in product editions.

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    Office 2013 Editions

    Office 365 is offered in a “Home Premium” edition. Traditional “fully packaged products” or FPP are offered in three editions: Home & Student, Home & Business and Professional. Each FPP allows installation on a single PC while Office 365 allows for up to 5 PCs or MACs and up to 5 mobile devices.

    Each edition differs in the products that are offered. Here is a breakdown of products offered in each edition.

    • Home & Student: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
    • Home & Business: All of the above plus Outlook
    • Professional: All of the above plus Publisher and Access
    • Office 365 Home Premium: All of the above plus SkyDrive (cloud) storage, Online access to Office and 60 minutes of Skype calls each month.

    The pricing for each edition is summarized below:

    • Home & Student: $139.99
    • Home & Business: $219.99
    • Professional: $399.99
    • Office 365 Home Premium: $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
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    Making a Decision

    Now for the all-important decision. Here are some questions to help guide you through deciding which edition may be right for you.

    Are you using Office for your work or for home?

    If you are using Office for work you’ll need to purchase either Home & Business, Professional or one of the Business oriented Office 365 subscriptions. Microsoft’s licensing terms don’t allow you to use Office 365 Home Premium or Home & Student for business use.

    Do you typically upgrade Office every time a new version comes out? Would you upgrade more often if you could at an affordable price? Do you think online access would be useful to you? Do you want Office installed on more than one computer?

    If you answered yes to one or more of these questions Office 365 Home Premium will likely meet your needs. Keep in mind Office 365 gives you online and local access, installation for up to five computers and a relatively low fee of about $10 per month.

    If you’re happy with one version of Office for years and years and don’t see yourself needing online access or any of the other ‘extras’ included in Office 365, you can go with a traditional packaged product.

    If you decide to stick with the traditional packaged product you can easily decide on which version to get by the products you need. Do you want to use Outlook for email, task and calendaring management? If yes, grab the Home & Business edition. Do you need Microsoft Publisher or Access? Grab Office Pro. Keep in mind though that Office 365 comes with all of the core and advanced products so if you find yourself eyeing Office Pro you may want to take another look at Office 365.

    I hope you found this article helpful in deciding which version of Office 2013 is right for you!