Office 2019 or Office 365? What is right for my business?

I do not have to convince you that Microsoft Office is oneof the most widely-used software suites in the business world. Regardless oftheir size or their industry, a vast majority of businesses rely on Officeapplications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint daily.

Since 2011, Office users have had to choose between twodifferent versions of the software package: the standard “one-time” Officesuite (currently called Office 2019) and Office 365. While these two versionshave a similar set of tools and features, and both work on major computeroperating systems, there are some critical differences.

First of all, I can tell you that the similarities betweenOffice 2019 and 365 are far more numerous than the differences. However, thedifferences are significant enough that buyers need to put some thought intowhich version best meets their specific business needs.

What are Office 2019and Office 365?

Microsoft Office 2019 is a stand-alone software suite, whileOffice 365 is a subscription service. Both have apps like PowerPoint, Word, andExcel, but the versions differ when it comes to purchasing and payment,updates, support, and access to the cloud. Furthermore, Microsoft’s futureOffice plans involve one version of Office, but not the other.

Which version is better? It depends on how you plan to useit.

What do I get withOffice 2019?

Office 2019 gives users Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel,and OneNote. Windows owners get the latest versions of Project, Access,Publisher, and Visio. The suite works on Windows 10 or the latest version ofMac OS. Microsoft has promised five years of support for Office 2019 includingsecurity updates and bug fixes. However, it will phase out support by 2025.

What do I get withOffice 365?

Office 365 has the same desktop apps as Office 2019, and it has cloud-based email service, one terabyte of online storage space, and productivity features for businesses. You can get a 30-day free trial to the service, and it will work on older versions of Windows, including Windows 8. Microsoft has guaranteed support of Office 365 on Windows 8 through 2023.

Depending on the plan, you can also get to use the application on multiple devices, such as your laptop, phone, and desktop PC with one subscription.

Business users will also get the benefit of online only productivity tools like Teams, and hosted Exchange, again depending on the applicable plan.

How do I buy Office365 and Office 2019?

As it has been since the 1990s, the 2019 version of Officeis a one-time purchase. While Microsoft will offer upgrades for security andbug fixes, it will not provide new features and improvements to Office 2019owners. If you want new features or functions, you will have to purchase thenext version of Office. (Microsoft has hinted at one final version before itfully adopts the subscription model).

Office 365 requires a monthly subscription, but it does notmake users wait to get improved functionality and new features. These upgradesare part of the subscription. You can choose to pay for 365 monthly or get aslight discount with an annual payment. Subscriptions are available for homeand personal use, and Microsoft also has Business, Educational, Enterprise, andNonprofit subscription options.

Should I choose basedon price or value?

When I make purchases, I always look at the price tag.However, in my opinion, a simple price comparison might not be the best way tochoose your version of Office. Instead, I would compare the value that each product provides.

If a business uses cloud storage and benefits from frequentupgrades and enhancements, then Office 365 may be a better investment. However,if your business primarily uses classic applications such as Word, Outlook, andPowerPoint, Office 2019 may be sufficient.

One significant drawback to Office 365 is that if you letthe subscription lapse, you will not be able to access your files and data.Microsoft will not delete your files or data, but you will need to pay for yoursubscription before you can log back in and access everything.

Microsoft 365 offers cloud-based storage to subscribers.Furthermore, as a business user, you can collaborate on documents,presentations, and files in real time even if you are not in the same locationas the other members of your team. You can also link to files stored in thecloud instead of attaching them to an email, therefore significantly loweringthe size of the email. Microsoft plans to continue developing these featuresfor 365 in the future.

The current and future cloud features are an advantage forOffice 365. You should ask yourself: can my business increase productivity ifemployees work collaboratively on projects at the same time? Will we use thecloud-based storage to share files with co-workers, clients, or third-partycontractors? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” an Office 365subscription could be a good investment. If you plan to use Office for yourselfor to create files independently, the Office 2019 may still be the bettervalue.

The future of Officeis in the cloud

Microsoft’s long term plans involve switching to asubscription-based business model for Office and phasing out “one-time”versions of the software suite. These plans mean that your business willeventually have to access Office via a subscription (unless you want to use anolder, unsupported version). By switching now, you can integrate Office 365into your business processes.

Office 365 updates frequently, and these updates may affectthe way your business handles projects or tasks. The new features can aidproductivity, but it may also be confusing if you merely want to use basic appsor if everyone in your business is not on the same page as far as onlinecollaboration.

If you do prefer simple, you are not alone. Microsoft maystill release another version of “one-time” Office (Office 2021 or Office 2022)before it turns into a full subscription service.

One more thing to consider is that Office 365 will providelifetime cloud storage (provided you continue to pay for your subscription).Cloud support for Office 2019 will end in five years, at which time you willhave to switch. Again, the sooner-rather-than-later switch might make Office365 a better option. Each option of Office has its list of advantagesand disadvantages. If you want the classic Office experience without anyextras, Office 2019 might be your best option. If you have an eye on the futureand think your business will benefit from the extra productivity features inOffice 365, then that will be the better option.

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