We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. Do you really need to buy Microsoft Office? Could you save money by using free software instead?
Pretty much all of us will have have used it at some point to create Word documents, Powerpoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets. If you're an Office user, before you next splash out to renew your subscription, it might be worth thinking about whether you really need Office at all. Here's what you need to know to work out whether or not you really need Microsoft Office.
Related Story 4 ways to save on back-to-school tech What does Microsoft Office offer? There are a few different ways you can use Microsoft Office.
The first is to buy a subscription to Office which lets you use the latest full versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook on your PC as well as on any tablets or smartphones you own.
You also get Publisher and Access but you can only use these on a PC. Visit office. Can I use Google Docs instead? Just like Microsoft, Google offers a similar service to Office that lets you create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations from your PC, tablet or smartphone.
The difference is: Again, your files are saved to a secure area online, known as Google Drive. All you need is a Google login to use it. What are the pros of Google Docs, apart from cost? It's simple to use. This can make Office seem a little cluttered. Google ditches all but the most necessary features, which makes its programs easier to use. You can even remove any features you don't need.
No more scrolling through endless menus looking for the spell checker! You get extra free online storage space. Although the web version of Microsoft Office does this, if you use the PC version it autosaves to your local hard drive after a specified number of minutes.
To open a new document, sheet or slide, type docs. There are loads of templates to choose from. They come in handy when you're creating files like CVs, flyers or letters, in particular.
Microsoft Office lets you edit more files types. This could be particularly important for students and professionals who need full control of a wider range of file types.
Willie B. These have a lot of the same features as the Word, Excel and Powerpoint apps in Microsoft Office but you'll struggle to open the files you've created using Pages in Word - as will anyone you share your files with. Our verdict Buying a Microsoft Office subscription will be unavoidable for those who have a lot of more complex files to create and edit, like students or professionals.
But if you need software for light word processing and data entry then we would recommend switching to the Google Docs Suite. If Microsoft Office sounds like the better option, buy it online here.
Updated July 5, , 5: Office vs. Office is the the traditional Microsoft Office product, sold for a one-time, up-front fee. Office , on the other hand, is the new way Microsoft wants you to buy Office.
Rather than paying a hefty up-front price, you pay a monthly or yearly fee and get access to the latest version of Office for as long as you pay the fee. You also get additional OneDrive cloud storage and access to the Office apps for tablets. You can choose a subscription that allows you to install Office on up to five different computers, sharing it with your family, or just get Office for yourself.
Office A Traditional Software Product Office is a traditional software product. After paying the up-front fee, you get an Office license. This package does not include Outlook, Publisher, and Access.
You can download and use Office for as long as you want. You own it. You can only install Office on a single PC or Mac at a time. Office Personal: Office Personal is the subscription plan designed for a single person who needs Office on a single computer. Office gives you access to download and use the latest version of Office.
You can either subscribe through your Microsoft account with a credit card or buy yearly Office codes and add them to your account to redeem subscription time. Microsoft also offers a one-month free trial of Office Personal , so you can try it before paying anything.
However, it also includes Outlook, Publisher, and Access. In addition, you get 1 TB of online storage space in OneDrive and 60 minutes of Skype minutes every month. You can use these minutes to call phones from Skype. You can only download and use Office through Office if your subscription is current.
If you stop paying for the subscription, you lose access to your Office applications. Just deactivate the license from your Windows PC and install it on your Mac. Office Home: An Office Subscription for Up to Five People Office Home is the subscription plan designed for families—or people who need Office on more than one computer at a time. Office Home includes everything Office Personal includes, but for up to five computers instead of one computer.
Up to five Microsoft accounts can get 1TB of cloud storage each, and up to five Skype accounts can get 60 minutes of monthly Skype minutes each. Which Should You Buy? Microsoft has adjusted the numbers to make an Office subscription look like a better deal for most people. If you need more than one copy of Office, Office Home seems like a much better deal.
Office will only be a better deal if you keep using Office for more than seven and a half years, which seems unlikely. Office Online: A Free Microsoft Office: Is Office Online Worth Using? This is a completely free, web-based version of Office. They also have excellent compatibility with Office document formats. The seller will mail you a physical key card which provides a code you can enter to either download Office or activate an Office subscription.