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Deciding Which Version of Office 2016 is Right for You

written by: •edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 2/1/2016

With the recent release of Office 2016, you may be wondering which version would be appropriate for you to use. Well – you’ve come to the right place. This article will explain to you the costs and feature differences between the various editions of Microsoft Office 2016.

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    Office 2016

    OfficeLogo Office 2016 was released in July, 2015 for Mac and September, 2015 for PC with seemingly little fanfare. Although there are some notable feature improvements, Office 2016 closely resembles its predecessor Office 2013. Below are the main consumer editions of Office 2016 available today.

    • Office Home & Student 2016 (PC\Mac)
    • Office Home & Business 2016 (PC\Mac)
    • Office Professional 2016
    • Office 365 Personal
    • Office 365 Home
    • Office 365 University

    As you can see with the numerous Office 365 offerings, Microsoft is strongly pushing consumers towards their subscription service.

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    What is Office 365?

    Office 365 differs from the retail “boxed" products in that you are paying a monthly (or yearly) fee to access the latest version of Office. As long as you keep paying, you will always have access to the latest and greatest Office has to offer. The other benefits of the Office 365 line is that Microsoft often includes other tangible benefits such as Skype credits and online storage. Office 365 is also the only product line to offer Microsoft Office for mobile devices.

    Let’s go over the differences in each package.

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    Office Home & Student 2016

    This edition, which is available for either PC or Mac, allows you to install the Office suite on one PC or Mac. The suite comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. You also receive technical support via phone or chat. This edition runs $149.99 at retail and does not offer any future upgrades. When the next version of Office comes out – if you decided to upgrade – you’ll have to pay again.

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    Office Home & Business 2016

    This edition is available for PC or Mac and retails for $229.99. The only additional product you receive in the Home and Business edition is Outlook.

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    Office Professional 2016

    Office Professional is only available for the PC and retails for $399.99. This suite includes all products from the previous two editions but adds in Publisher and Access.

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    Office 365

    All Office 365 subscriptions offer the full set of products including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and Access. All subscriptions also offer 60 minutes each month of Skype credit and 1 TB (yes – terabyte) of online storage. Technical support via phone and chat are also offered with each edition of Office 365.

    The main differences between the three Office 365 subscriptions are related to the number of users and devices the software can be installed on. Skype and online storage also differ per subscription.

    Office 365 Personal can be installed on one PC or Mac, one tablet and one phone. You get the base level of Skype minutes and cloud storage as outlined above. This subscription is $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.

    The Office 365 Home edition can be installed on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets and five phones. You get 60 minutes of Skype credit each month for up to 5 users. You also receive 1TB of cloud storage for up to 5 users. This subscription runs $9.99 monthly or $99.99 for a yearly subscription.

    The University subscription offers students, faculty and staff a multi user, multi-year subscription for $79.99. This edition allows for installation on two PCs, Macs or tablets and up to two phones. Skype and cloud storage are limited to one user. However, the big selling point is that this is a four year subscription. Note that eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify.

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    Which edition is right for you?

    After all that, what edition is right for you?

    Follow this handy flowchart to find the right edition for you!

    1. Are you a student, faculty or staff member?
      1. If Yes – see if you qualify for Office 365 University. Otherwise, go to question #2.
      2. Do you want to always be on the latest version of Office?
        1. If Yes – consider Office 365 Home or Personal depending on how many devices you want to run it on. If no, continue to question #3.
        2. Do you frequently use Skype or need a large quantity of cloud storage?
          1. If Yes - consider Office 365 Home or Personal depending on how many devices you want to run it on. If no, continue to question #4. Getting a comparable amount of storage from Google will cost $9.99 a month – just for the storage – for one user!
          2. Do you need Microsoft Office?
            1. If Yes – consider one of the retail boxed copies of Office Home & Student, Home & Business or Professional depending on whether you need Outlook, Publisher or Access. If no…. why are you still reading this?

    I hope this article has helped identify the differences in options and led you to an easy decision on which edition works best for you. Good luck!

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