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A no-frills look at Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 365 versions

There are more versions than ever of Microsoft Office to choose from, so weighing your options is of the utmost importance. Find out which versions of the productivity suite come with which features.

There was a time when purchasing Microsoft Office licenses was a straightforward process. Today, however, there is a daunting array of options available to those who wish to use Microsoft's flagship productivity suite.

Microsoft offers Office on PC, Mac and a variety of mobile platforms, although mobile versions are not as full-featured as the PC and Mac versions. Furthermore, you can purchase a perpetual license for Office, or you can get Office as a part of an Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 versions

Office 365 Home is a subscription-based Office 365 plan that is licensed for home users. This plan, which costs $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month, includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. Office is licensed for installation on five PCs or Macs, five tablets -- Windows, Apple iPad or Google Android -- and five phones.

Office 365 Personal is another Office 365 plan that is licensed for home use. Like Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal includes Word, Excel PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. However, this subscription is licensed for use on a single PC or Mac, one tablet and one phone. Office 365 Personal costs $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month.

Office 365 Business is a subscription-based plan that sells for $8.25 per user per month with an annual contract, or $10.00 per month without a contract. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher. Office 365 Business is licensed for installation on five PCs or Macs, five tablets and five phones. In addition, the subscription includes OneDrive for Business, Office Online and Sway.

Office 365 Business Essentials sells for $5.00 per user per month with an annual contract, or $6.00 per user per month without a contract. Unlike other Office 365 plans, Office 365 Business Essentials does not include the Office applications. The plan includes Outlook Web App, OneDrive for Business, online conferencing, Skype for Business, Yammer, Office Online, Planner, Sway and Delve.

Office 365 Business Premium sells for $12.50 per user per month with an annual contract, or $15.00 per month without a contract. The plan includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Skype. It allows each user to install Office on five PCs, five tablets and five phones. In addition, this plan also includes Outlook Web App, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, online conferencing, Yammer, Team Sites, Office Online, Planner, Sway and Delve.

Office 365 Pro Plus includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Skype and Access. This subscription plan costs $12 per user per month and allows each user to install Office on five PCs, five tablets and five phones. In addition, this plan also includes OneDrive for Business, Office Online, Sway and Power BI.

So you know Office 2016 features? Prove it!

Put your knowledge of Office 2016 to the test with this quiz, which covers the new social collaboration features, security improvements and more.

Office 365 Enterprise E1 is an enterprise-grade Office 365 subscription that sells for $8.00 per user per month; an annual contract is required. Unlike most of the other Office 365 subscription plans, this one does not include the Office applications. Office 365 Enterprise E1 includes Outlook Web App, Online Meetings, meeting broadcast, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Team Sites, Yammer, Office Online, Planner, Sway, Delve, Office 365 Video, and Apps for Office and SharePoint. Other services can be added to the plan for an additional fee.

Office 365 Enterprise E3 is a more fully featured Office 365 subscription plan and sells for $20.00 per user per month. Like the E1 version, an annual contract is required. This plan includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Skype and Access. The plan allows each user to install the Office applications on five PCs or Macs, five tablets and five phones. In addition, this plan includes Outlook on the Web, Exchange Server Online, Online Meetings, meeting broadcast, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Team Sites, Yammer, Office Online, Planner, Sway, Delve, Office 365 Video, mobile messaging, application management, Power BI, and Apps for Office and SharePoint. Additional services are available at an extra cost.

Office 365 Enterprise E5 is Microsoft's most comprehensive Office 365 plan. This plan, which sells for $35.00 per user per month -- an annual subscription is required -- includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, Skype and Access. The plan allows each user to install the Office applications on five PCs or Macs, five tablets and five phones. The plan also includes Online Meetings, meeting broadcast, public switched telephone network (PSTN) conferencing, Modern voice with cloud PBX, Skype for Business, Exchange Server Online, Advanced Security, Power BI, OneDrive for Business, Team Sites, Yammer, Office Online, Planner, mobile messaging, app management, Sway, Delve, Office 365 Video, Apps for Office and SharePoint, Compliance Center and voicemail integration. PSTN calling can be added to the plan for an additional $24 per user per month for international and domestic calling, or $12 per user per month for domestic calling only.

Office 2016 versions

Office Home & Student 2016 sells for $149 and is licensed for home use. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The software is licensed for installation on a single PC.

Office Home & Student 2016 for Mac is a basic version of Office 2016 for Mac computers. This software, which is licensed only for home use, includes the Mac versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Office Home & Student for Mac is sold as a traditional software license, not a subscription. The license sells for $149 and can be used on one Mac.

Office Home & Business 2016 is available as a perpetual license that allows Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote to be installed on a single PC. This license costs $229.99 and may be used in home or business environments.

Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac is similar to Office Home & Student for Mac in that both are relatively basic versions of Microsoft Office 2016, and both are designed to run on Mac computers. However, there are three differences between the two applications. First, as the name suggests, Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac is licensed for home or business use, whereas Office Home & Student 2016 for Mac is licensed only for home use. A second difference is that Office Home & Student 2016 for Mac does not include Outlook, whereas Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac does. Finally, Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac has a higher price tag than its counterpart. A license for a single Mac computer sells for $229.

Office Professional 2016 is available for a one-time licensing fee of $399.99 and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access. The license is valid for a single PC and can be used in business environments.

Office Online Apps

One last option for Office usage is the Office Online Apps. The Office Online Apps are free, lightweight versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that can be used for free. These apps exist online and are accessible through a web browser.

Next Steps

Guide to migrating to Office 365

Managing user accounts in Office 365

Office 2016 security features

This was last published in August 2016

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Which Office 2016 or 365 version is right for you?
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.... and then there's us. My organization is still on Office 2010. We will be migrating to Office 365 shortly. Moving on up!
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We are mainly Office 2010 and a few 2013. They suit our business needs currently so there are no upgrade plans in our future. The reason is cost. If we have to upgrade a few thousand PCs we better be able to justify the expense. We cant as there is no real added benefit for most users. They use mainly Outlook for mail and Word and maybe Excel if they are in the finance department. The marketing department may be the only ones using PowerPoint.  
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