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Office 2016 vs Office 365 Comparison – Which is Better For Business?

Office 2016 vs Office 365

Microsoft’s Office Suite is a staple of the workplace and home. Office 2016 is the “offline” Office version where you install the applications on your machine, and for many years, this type of service was the only Microsoft Office provided. But with the emergence of the cloud, is it worth it getting the 2016 version of Office instead of the Office 365 subscription? So, which Office version is right for your business, Office 2016 vs Office 365?

What’s included in Office 2016 vs Office 365?

All Office 2016 suites include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote as a one-time purchase for use on a single PC or Mac. In its business variant, you also get Publisher and Access in addition to the previously mentioned apps.

Office 365 plans come in monthly or yearly subscriptions and include the complete suite of Office applications along with other services over the Internet, including more cloud storage with OneDrive, as well as Skype minutes for home use. Many Office 365 plans also give you the offline versions of apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., and you can install them on PCs, Macs, tablets (including Windows, iPad, and Android) and smartphones.

Updates in Office 2016 vs Office 365

Although Office 2016 vs Office 365 will give you all the security updates for free, Office 2016 clearly loses on this front since its applications aren’t automatically updated when a new version comes out. While some people are happy to remain with their outdated Office apps, such a practice is not reliable for everyone, and if you want to update your Office 2016 when a new version is out, you’ll have to purchase it again. You also won’t get any new features that are added to Office 2016 post-purchase, which may impact you greatly—or not at all.

In contrast, the Office 365 subscription always gives you monthly updates and major version upgrades at no additional cost.

Tech Support in Office 2016 vs Office 365

Which tech support is better, Office 2016 vs Office 365?  Another aspect where Office 2016 is at a clear disadvantage is support. With an Office 2016 purchase, you get support on an install-level only. If you have an Office 365 subscription, however, all tiers include 24/7 support for technical issues, or for subscription and billing support.

Thus, with Office 2016, when you have a problem not related to your installation, you’ll have to solve it yourself. With a subscription, Microsoft will help you resolve it.


A single Office 2016 Home and Business license comes with a $229.99 price tag, and fully installed versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and OneNote. One Office 2016 Professional will get you everything in the Home and Business suite, plus Access and Publisher—for $399.99. Both these bundles do not include cloud storage, but you can still access online versions of Microsoft Apps (such as Word Online, or Excel Online), since they’re free for everyone.

Office 365 has a wide range of subscriptions, the cheapest being $5 per user per month—but that tier doesn’t give you Office applications. To get those offline Microsoft apps, you’ll need to shell out at least $8.25 per user per month, which totals to $99 per year per user and it includes 1TB of cloud storage via OneDrive.


It seems almost silly to compare Office 2016 with Office 365, as Microsoft has made the latter much more appealing. It is cheaper to subscribe to Office 365 for a year.

If you’re a simple home user who has no need to keep your Office applications updated to the latest version, a one-time purchase of Office 2016 might be your best bet, and it includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. It’s slightly more expensive than a Home 365 subscription (which costs $79.99/year), but you’ll never have to worry about renewing payments. You’ll have that Office 2016 forever on your one PC.

If you’re running a small business, it’s for the best to invest in an Office 365 subscription. Not only will you be automatically updated to the latest versions of your apps, you also get 1TB of online storage, along with a bevy of other benefits, such as home minutes for Skype. It will also let you install Office on five different machines, whereas with Office 2016, you’re only given one perpetual license, for one machine. And if you’re in another kind of business, such as schools and nonprofits, Microsoft offers specialized Office 365 plans to fit your specific needs in its Smaller businessEnterpriseSchool, or Nonprofit plans.

Want to learn more about Office 365?  Here are a few more articles:

Office 365: Power Apps, Flow, and Power BI – A Match Made in Heaven!

Office 365 Decision Tree

Using Office 365 To Manage Expenses and Receipts

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