Microsoft has led the field of office and productivity software for decades, and its updated packages continue this trend. The major issue with this office software for many people was that you couldn’t access your documents or your purchased office software between different computers or devices, and alternative options in the form of online apps allowed you to do this. However, Microsoft rose to the challenge and launched office software that improved on the quality of former generations and made it possible to access and edit your files between devices, once again solidifying its position as the gold standard of office software.
One other major pain point for consumers is the price of a high-quality office suite like Microsoft Office. While it’s still possible to purchase the office suite in its entirety, in an attempt to combat the price hurdle, Microsoft now offers a subscription service that allows you to pay a fixed monthly or yearly price to access all of the suite’s software and apps. With the subscription options, you also get all the Office feature and program updates for as long as you keep your subscription active.
Just like previous generations of Office, the newer offerings have different suites to choose from, including Home, Student, Business and Business Premium. Before you make your choice, it’s important to look at what each subscription gets you, as some come with Office web app versions only, while others come with Office web apps and desktop Office software. Desktop software and web apps include Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher.
The subscriptions also come with a range of services that can include cloud storage of up to 1TB, a Skype minutes package, SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. Some also have business-class email hosting, custom domain email addresses with up to 50GB of mailbox storage, and HD video conferencing as part of Skype for Business. This office suite is compatible with most major file types, including audio, video and multimedia file extensions such as ASF.
Whether you choose to purchase the whole desktop suite or go for the subscription option, be sure to check the licenses. While many of the products and packages allow you to install your purchases on up to five computers and five mobile devices per user, with up to five users, others restrict you to installation on just one computer, even some of the more expensive choices. As you’d expect, Microsoft has a robust support system, with live chat, email and phone service, as well as moderated community forums, FAQs, tutorials and other self-help materials.