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Back when Office 2016 debuted, it was met with a lot of mixed feedback despite all of the new features and updates 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 is here and it's time for you to make a decision. The productivity question is -- should you upgrade? We give you the new features and the fresher reasons to help you... Read More . For some, the issue was that they would never use half of the newly-added bells-and-whistles, while for others, they were still upset that Microsoft Office lacked this or that feature.

Now that it’s been out for several month and received a number of interesting updates, the question remains: Should you buy the standalone package version of Office 2016?

As someone who actually respects the Office suite and what it provides, I’m going to have to say no for several reasons.

Why Office 2016 Isn’t Worth It

The biggest draw for the standalone package version of Office 2016 is that it’s a one-time purchase, unlike Office 365 which can only be had through a monthly subscription 11 Frequently Asked Office 2016 Questions Answered 11 Frequently Asked Office 2016 Questions Answered Office 2016 is looming and raises many questions. Do you have to buy a subscription, can you upgrade now, and can you go back to Office 2013? We compiled frequently asked questions and provide the... Read More . But what is the actual cost of that convenience?

1. It’s Expensive

There are three versions of Office 2016 Which Office Suite Is Best for You? Which Office Suite Is Best for You? You'll be pressed to find an occupation that doesn't require word or number processing of some sort. And you may wonder, is Microsoft Office really the best solution? Here are your options. Read More  you can buy: Home & Student ($150) which has Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote; Home & Business ($230) which has that plus Outlook; and Professional ($400) which has that plus Publisher and Access.

Most people probably don’t need Access Excel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database? Excel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database? Which tool should you use to manage data? Access and Excel both feature data filtering, collation and querying. We'll show you which one is best suited for your needs. Read More , but Outlook is important, so you’ll probably want to get the $230 package. Mac users can only get the $150 package at this time. Note that individual apps can be purchased for $110 each if you only need one specific app, and remember that OneNote 2016 is completely free OneNote Is Now Truly Free With More Features Than Before OneNote Is Now Truly Free With More Features Than Before Evernote no longer rules the roost of note taking apps. Microsoft recently announced OneNote would be more free than ever before. Let us show you what this means in terms of features and functionality. Read More .

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Meanwhile, Office 365 includes all of the apps. Personal costs $7 per month (or $70 per year) to use on a single computer, while Home costs $10 per month ($100 per year) to use on up to five computers. In short, Office 2016 Professional is about equal to ~5.7 years of Office 365 Personal; or more if you purchase a monthly subscription and pause it for periods when you’re not using Office or any of the attached benefits.

2. No Free Trial

Office 2016 doesn’t come with a free trial, which is strange because past versions of Office did. In fact, past versions actually came with a 60-day evaluation period, which is crucial for seeing if you actually need the new features or not.

On the other hand, you can try Office 365 Home for one month without paying a cent. Why doesn’t Microsoft offer a similar free trial for these standalone packages? It doesn’t make sense to me, and just seems like an unnecessary hurdle for potential customers.

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3. No Cross-Platform Options

These days, it’s common to sync and share work between your PC and your mobile devices, which is why Microsoft is working so hard on their mobile office apps How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone It's honestly surprising how many Microsoft apps are available for Android -- and they're really good! Read More . The truth is, they’re currently beating out all of their competitors The 8 Best Office Suites On Android For Getting Work Done The 8 Best Office Suites On Android For Getting Work Done It is possible to get real work done on Android, but you've got a lot of options now when it comes to office suites. Let's examine the best of them. Read More .

And while these apps are available for free, they’re limited and restricted unless you have an Office 365 subscription. Why doesn’t an Office 2016 purchase unlock full access to the relevant mobile apps? I don’t know, but that’s how it is.

4. Office 365 Has Other Goodies

When you buy Office 2016, that’s all you get. Maybe that’s fine in your mind — you get what you paid for, after all — but you can’t ignore the fact that Office 365 comes with a few bonuses that, for some reason, aren’t available to Office 2016 buyers.

Most notably, Office 365 Personal comes with 1 TB of OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype time for one user, while Office 365 Home comes with the same benefits for up to five different users.

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Office 365 also comes with regular updates and free Microsoft technical support by phone or chat. When Microsoft releases a new version of Office, anyone with an Office 365 subscription will be eligible to upgrade at no extra cost; it’s part of the service.

5. What You Have Is Good Enough

Compared to previous versions, Office 2016 has a lot of smart and subtle changes A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes Office 2016 for Mac was just released and the Windows version will follow in the fall. We show you the new look and features of the world's most popular productivity suite. Will you upgrade? Read More  that may tempt you into upgrading, but what you really need to ask yourself is whether or not you need those new features. You probably don’t, and while they’d be nice to have, foregoing them could be the best thing for your wallet.

Truly, whether you have Office 2013, Office 2010, or even Office 2007, you can still do what you need to do: create and edit Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and more. And if that’s all you need to do, why drop cash on features you’ll probably never use?

Note that Office 365 lets you upgrade older versions of Office to 2016 Upgrade to Office 2016 for Free Today with Your Office 365 Subscription Upgrade to Office 2016 for Free Today with Your Office 365 Subscription Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows has landed and it brings many smart new features. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you can get it now for free and we show you how below. Read More , but you might not be able to downgrade to your previous Office suite, if it turns out you don’t want it.

Viable Alternatives to Office 2016

If you need a software suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps, then there are a few alternatives you can explore that will give you what you need without costing a single cent. They may not be as good as Office 2016, but you do get what you pay for.

1. Office Mobile

If you don’t need more than the absolute basics, then the Office mobile apps are actually quite good.

We mentioned them above, but even if you don’t have an Office 365 subscription that lets you take full advantage of all features, they’re still useful and productive.

Obviously you probably don’t want to do any word processing or spreadsheeting on a tiny smartphone, but if you have a tablet and an external keyboard that you can connect Need An Affordable Keyboard For Your Tablet? Here Are Some Good Options Need An Affordable Keyboard For Your Tablet? Here Are Some Good Options If you're getting a fair bit of use out of your tablet and looking for a keyboard to go with it, you may have no idea where to start. There are plenty of options out... Read More , then this is absolutely an option that could work out well.

2. Office Online

Microsoft actually offers free online versions of their office apps on a service called Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More  (formerly known as Office Web Apps). It’s stripped down and lacks a lot of the advanced features that make Office 2016 and Office 365 worthwhile, but it’s not bad by any means.

There’s no offline version, so that could be frustrating depending on how often you find yourself without Internet, but it’s one of the few legal ways to use Office for free 6 Ways You Can Use Microsoft Office Without Paying For It 6 Ways You Can Use Microsoft Office Without Paying For It Read More , so at least that’s something.

3. Google Docs

Not long ago, we declared that Google Docs was actually better than Microsoft Office in several areas Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Online solutions are becoming the norm. We decided to see how Microsoft Word stacks up against Google Docs. Which one will do the better research paper? Read More , making it a viable alternative that you can use for free. It does have its fair share of flaws and downsides, of course, but it’ll be hard to find anything better.

Google Docs can be used offline, but it’s more of a last resort feature than something you should rely on. Want to maximize your productivity? Keep on top of these time-saving Google Docs tips 10 Google Docs Tips that Take Seconds & Save You Time 10 Google Docs Tips that Take Seconds & Save You Time When you dive down into the depths of the Drive, the right feature can help you create professional looking documents. Our speed tips will help you do it that much faster. Read More  and you’ll make your life much easier.

4. LibreOffice

For a desktop alternative to Microsoft Office, you first consideration should be LibreOffice. Not long ago, it was on the up-and-up but exactly great Is the New LibreOffice a Better Microsoft Office Alternative? Is the New LibreOffice a Better Microsoft Office Alternative? LibreOffice, a long-time contender of Microsoft Office, just received a makeover and important updates. After being held back by niggling bugs over the years, has LibreOffice finally found the winning formula? Read More , but with its most recent update, LibreOffice is finally proving itself to be on par with the current king atop the throne Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1. Read More .

This open source suite comes with tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, diagramming, flowcharting, databases, advanced math equation editor, and professional quality charts. Very much worth a look if you don’t want to pay anything.

Office 2016: Not Entirely Worth It

To recap, if all you need are basic office functions, then you’ll do fine with one of the free alternatives listed above. If you want the full suite, but want to get the most bang for your buck, Office 365 wins hands-down. As of now, Office 2016 only makes sense for businesses.

If you do get Office 2016, check out these excellent tips for learning the ropes 9 Tips to Learn All About Office 2016 9 Tips to Learn All About Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 is among us. How are you mastering the latest version for the sake of your productivity? We tip you off to the best links for Office learning. Steal a march with these... Read More . There are a lot of new features to explore! And if you decide that Office 2016 isn’t right for you, here’s how to downgrade back to Office 2013 How to Downgrade from Office 2016 to Office 2013 & Block the Upgrade How to Downgrade from Office 2016 to Office 2013 & Block the Upgrade You don't want to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 or you were upgraded automatically? We show you how you can downgrade or stay with Microsoft Office 2013, whether you're a home or business user. Read More .

What do you think of Office 2016? Would you rather spring for Office 365 instead? Or does it make more sense to go with something like Office 365? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits:hand refusing by Fleckstone via Shutterstock

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