Office 2019 vs. Office 365: Microsoft Office plans compared

Standalone Office is still available, but Microsoft makes its subscriptions far more appealing.

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Now that Microsoft is ending support for Office 2010, you have two primary upgrade choices: Office 2019 or Office 365 (which was recently renamed to Microsoft 365). While both offer Office apps, they differ in how you buy them, what apps they include, and how they are supported. Here's how to decide between the two.

Should I buy Office 2019?

Office 2019 is Microsoft's effort to appease users who would prefer to stick to tradition and buy standalone software. If that's you, go ahead. But Microsoft isn't making it easy or appealing. You will get limited choices, no services, no security, no support, and no updates. There's also no guarantee that Microsoft will follow up Office 2019 with another standalone version, so enjoy it while you can. 

Office 2019 Home & Student ($149.99 from Microsoft) is a one-time purchase for one computer and includes only three apps: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Office 2019 Home & Business adds Outlook for $249.99 from Microsoft.  

Should I buy Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is what the company wants us to embrace: Office apps paid for on a subscription basis, in exchange for regular updates and support. It may rankle traditionalists, but if you want the best features, service, and continuity, Microsoft 365 subscriptions are the way to go.

While Microsoft 365 subscriptions cover home, business, and enterprise customers, we'll cover the home and business plans to give you an idea of how they work. 

Microsoft 365 Home

365 Family is $99.99 a year or $9.99 a month for up to 6 people in your family. It includes all the Premium Office Apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. PC users also get the Access database and Publisher desktop publishing application. Each user receives 1TB of cloud storage, and Advanced Security across up to 5 devices for each individual.

365 Personal is $69.99 a year or $6.99 a month for one person, for the same apps and services as the Family plan.

Microsoft 365 for Business

Business Basic costs $60 per user for a yearly subscription, or $6.00 per user month-to-month. This version is as basic as advertised, including only the web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, it does include Microsoft's Secure Cloud services: OneDrive, Teams, Exchange, and SharePoint.

Business Standard is $150 per user per year, or $15.00 per user a month. This version includes all the Premium Office apps plus Secure Cloud services.

Business Premium is $240 per year for one user; there is no monthly option. In addition to the Premium Office apps and Secure Cloud services, you also get Intune and Azure Information Protection.

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