Productivity

Don’t Buy Office 2019! Here’s Why You May Not Need It

Ben Stegner Updated 16-04-2020

Microsoft offers two ways to buy Microsoft Office: the Microsoft 365 subscription plan or a one-time purchase. The latest standalone version of Office is Office 2019, which you might be tempted to buy if you want to avoid subscriptions.

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However, we strongly recommend against buying Office 2019 (or older versions like Office 2016). Let’s look at why you shouldn’t buy standalone Office 2019 and the best alternatives you could consider instead.

Why Microsoft Office 2019 Isn’t Worth the Cost

The biggest draw for the standalone version of Office 2019 is that it’s a one-time purchase. It makes sense that you’d want to avoid signing up for yet another subscription, especially if you don’t use all the features of Office. If you’re not familiar, have a look at our Office 2019 overview Microsoft Office 2019 Is Coming: Everything You Need to Know The standalone version of Microsoft Office 2019 will be exclusive to Windows 10. When will it come out and how much will it cost? Here's everything we know. Read More first.

As it turns out, though, buying Office 2019 isn’t the right move for almost everyone. This is because…

1. Microsoft 365 Offers So Much More

When you buy Office 2019, the basic Office apps are all you get. While this might be exactly what you’re looking for, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) comes with some bonuses that make it a much better value.

Most importantly, Microsoft 365 guarantees you’ll get all updates to Office as they become available. Like Windows 10, Microsoft regularly works on Office to add new features. Office 2019 does include security updates, but when the next major version of Office arrives, you’ll have to pay full price for it again.

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Additionally, Microsoft 365 Personal comes with 1TB of OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype credit each month. Even better, Microsoft 365 Family offers these benefits for up to six users individually. Since OneDrive charges $1.99 per month for 100GB of space, the storage alone is a great value.

You also get access to Microsoft support via chat or phone as a Microsoft 365 subscriber.

2. Office 2019 Isn’t Cheap

Microsoft Office Pricing

Home users have three available versions of Office 2019 to choose from. No matter which one you chose, they are licensed for one Windows PC or Mac only:

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Don’t forget that OneNote is free for everyone, so you don’t need Office to get it. Instead of these packages, you can also buy individual apps (such as Word or Excel) for $139.99 each. However, this doesn’t make much sense when you can get Home & Student for just $10 more.

Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 includes all these apps in each plan. Microsoft 365 Personal costs $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year) and lets one person use Office on all their devices. The Microsoft 365 Family plan costs $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year) and allows up to six total people in your family to use Office across every platform they use.

When purchased yearly, you could pay for six years of Microsoft 365 Personal before you matched the cost of Office Professional 2019. And the Family plan provides much better value if you have multiple people who need Office. Buying standalone Office just isn’t cost-effective.

3. Office 2019 Has Limited Functionality

In the early days of Microsoft 365, standalone versions of Office, such as Office 2016, were simply snapshots of Office 365 at that time. Thus, you could buy Office every few years to avoid the subscription and keep up with the latest developments.

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However, this isn’t the case anymore. Microsoft now prevents Office 2019 users from accessing some of the features found in the Microsoft 365 apps. This includes the Researcher panel in Word, the Designer feature in PowerPoint, and real-time collaboration in Excel.

These limitations extend to the mobile apps. Buying Office 2019 doesn’t unlock full access to the Office apps for Android and iOS/iPadOS.

If you have a tablet with a screen larger than 10.1 inches, the mobile Office app only lets you view files. Smaller devices can edit files in Office apps, but are still missing some features. You need a Microsoft 365 subscription to unlock them all.

While you might not use these functions all the time, getting an inferior product for the price you pay is frustrating.

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4. Microsoft Won’t Support Office 2019 for Long

Office 2019 Lifecycle

As we’ve discussed, the biggest advantage of buying Office 2019 is that you can use it as long as you want without additional cost. However, Microsoft has changed its support plan with Office 2019 to reduce this period.

Office 2019 will enjoy five years of mainstream support (ending on October 10, 2023), but only two years of extended support after that (ending on October 14, 2025). This is quite a drop from the five years of extended support that previous Office editions offered.

Microsoft is likely doing this to reduce the amount of old software it has to support. However, it means that your purchase has less value, as you’ll need to upgrade sooner to avoid using an unsupported version of Office.

5. What You Have Is Probably Good Enough

If you have Office 2016, Office 2019 isn’t a must-have upgrade. Unless you’re an Office expert, you won’t use most of the new tools anyway. Whether you have Office 2016 or even another office suite (as we’ll discuss below), you can still do what you need to do: create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

If that’s all you need to do, why spend money for features you’ll probably never use? You’re better off learning more about Office with online tutorials Learn Microsoft Office With These 20 Online Tutorials, Videos, and Courses For beginners who are looking to learn Microsoft Office application skills, this big list of learning resources will propel you to new heights. Read More .

6. There’s No Free Trial

Office 2019 doesn’t come with a free trial. This is strange, as earlier versions came with an evaluation period so you could see if you actually needed the new features or not.

On the other hand, you can try Microsoft 365 Family for a month at no charge. Microsoft’s lack of a similar trial for potential customers of Office 2019 isn’t a make-or-break issue, it’s yet another indication of the lack of value in Office 2019.

The Best Free Alternatives to Office 2019

If you decide to skip Office 2019, you still need a software suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps. Thankfully, you have some great alternatives that provide these features without costing you anything.

While they might not have every little feature of Office 2019, they’re more than enough for most people.

1. Office Online

Office Online Apps

Did you know that Microsoft offers free online versions of Office apps through the Office Online service? These are stripped-down compared to the desktop offerings, but for drafting a quick paper or spreadsheet, Office Online is plenty good enough Don't Pay for Microsoft Word! 4 Reasons to Use Office Online Instead Microsoft Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Here's why you should give it a try today. Read More .

There’s no offline version, which means it’s not ideal if you often work without an internet connection. However, for casual Office users, it’s a free and simple way to use the service. You just need to sign in with a Microsoft account.

2. Google Docs

Google Docs Explore

Like Office Online, Google Docs is a simplified office suite that’s available in any browser. If you use Google products more than Microsoft’s tools, this option might work better for you. You can use Google Docs offline with a Chrome extension, but it’s more of a last resort feature than something you should rely on.

Want to maximize your productivity with Google Docs? Keep on top of these time-saving Google Docs tips 10 Google Docs Tips That Take Seconds and Save You Time Learn some secrets that'll boost your Google Docs productivity with the help of these quick and simple tips. Read More and you’ll make your life much easier.

3. LibreOffice

LibreOffice Toolbar

For a desktop alternative to Microsoft Office, LibreOffice is the best choice. This open source suite comes with tools for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, diagramming, flowcharts, databases, and advanced math equations.

If you need an offline office suite that’s more powerful than free offline tools, look no further. Once you get used to its interface, you’ll probably never need to use Microsoft Office again.

Office 2019: Not Worth It for Most Cases

Before you buy Office 2019, you should try one of the free alternatives. If they don’t work for you, Office 2019 is only a good choice if you satisfy all of these conditions:

  • You only work on one computer and don’t plan to get another.
  • Nobody else in your family uses Office.
  • You never work on your mobile device.
  • Missing out on features in Office doesn’t bother you.
  • You won’t use OneDrive cloud storage.
  • You’re fine with using Office as it is now until the next major release when you’ll pay for it again.

If you disagree with any of the above, Microsoft 365 represents a better value for you. Otherwise, go ahead and buy Office 2019. If you use it until the end of support, having the upfront price spread out over several years is acceptable.

Next, master using Office with hidden Word features 10 Hidden Features of Microsoft Word That'll Make Your Life Easier Microsoft Word wouldn't be the tool it is without its productive features. Here are several features that can help you every day. Read More and essential Excel formulas.

Related topics: Buying Tips, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 2019, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office Alternative, Microsoft Office Online, Microsoft Office Tips, Spreadsheet, Word Processor.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Angie
    May 20, 2020 at 4:18 am

    I just don't like that with the new subscriptions offered, they are connected to the Internet. Microsoft uses this to monitor what you are writing. My mom had the $69.99/year subscription. She used it to type up a price list for something she was selling and they froze her account because they said it was business-related and not allowed. I don't like the idea of Microsoft spying on what I am typing.

    • Ben Stegner
      May 20, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      I've never heard of Microsoft doing this, Angie, but that's interesting to hear. Do you have a screenshot of the message that appeared about using home Office for business use?

      It seems a bit excessive to punish people for using a personal plan to type up a price list. I don't know if it's against the terms to use the personal plan for business use, but surely selling something is different than using it for business all the time.

  2. S. D. Martino
    April 18, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Open source has taken over inferior microdud software. End of line.

  3. me
    December 26, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    almost everything Microsoft has created since 2010 is terrible
    I am not sure if it is that
    1) they are using failed MS technology to revitalize the idea, WPF is an example of this.
    2) they are completly out of touch with their users
    3) they want you to buy another product
    4) they just dont care
    5) if it is Satya Nadella has made microsoft into a third world nation where so many good developers have quit
    I would say - all of the above.

  4. Rex
    June 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Office 2016 sucks on purpose. They are trying to push people into the subscription based option. I'm also going to blame all the bad shit on the people who just have to have a new looking app. For years after a program was introduced it was tweaked to fix problems and make it better. Every damn release now days the baby is chucked out with the bathwater. They start from damn near scratch because of the people that want something new. Now you add in the desire of software companies companies to obsolete their own products to create revenue and you have the shitty state of software we are in.

    It's a damn shame that tech companies are spending all of their effort trying to trick and force people into buying their "new" products instead of making their once good products even better.

    To answer all of the prepubescent twenty somethings muttering "you're just old", you're just wrong. New doesn't mean better and products should evolve to become more productive and actually faster not just different.

  5. Burp
    June 10, 2018 at 3:39 am

    LibreOffice or bust!

  6. Sunil
    November 23, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I am not an MS fan. In 2010, I decided to try open source solutions in an effort to minimize my MS investments. First I tried Open Office for a few years, then I tried LibreOffice. They were ok to fair for basic work with docs 10 pages or less, but I'm a power user and I really missed many MS touches. I've had many time consuming problems formatting large documents (>20 pages) with features like columns and pictures. Plus, I found that some files just do NOT work well between open formats and MS formats requiring tedious manual editing to get files to look the same. I've determined that the "free" software was actually costing me more in terms of the time that I was investing in trying to use the tool versus using a higher quality tool in the first place. Alas, I've decided to pay for an MS Office Pro perpetual license product (https://products.office.com/en-us/professional).

  7. Linda
    October 21, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I use Word Perfect Office and didn't install Microsoft Office on my new computer. However, now I need to use Powerpoint to edit some ppt files. Then I see there's this subscription thing. I'm not cool with this concept -- Like other commenters, I want to buy something once and not have to keep buying it over and over. Then it dawned on me that I had bought Office Home and Student 2010, so I dug in a drawer and found it and decided to install it. HOWEVER, when I try to start PowerPoint, I get several messages: my license to the software I purchased has expired, and most of the features of the PowerPoint program have been disabled! So my question is, were I to purchase Office 2016, who can say I will be able to use it in a year or two? I haven't read the fine print, but my guess is that Microsoft will disable anything it wants when it wants.

  8. Sharon
    August 29, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Do you reply to these?
    On my home computer I have and used word/excel 2003 forever. (well ok since 2003.) I think I've just re-installed everytime I got a new computer. Now I need a new computer/laptop and decided I wanted one with the latest office software. well that would be with a subscription which I do not want. Like another user I am fine using the stand alone stuff for many many years. Now my understanding of the subscription is it gives updates - but if you buy 2016 on it's own it doesn't. Why? Shouldn't some earlier versions be supported if oh say a hacker figures out a vulnerability? I LOVE excel and do not want to use anything else. All the online stuff is crap because that is not what I want. (google sheets better? WHAT? really? my 2003 version is better then google sheets!) What I want is something I can use offline.... FOREVER. If I wanted. If I never want to upgrade again... for one price. Do I expect it to be supported forever? no. But I do expect it to be supported for a few years at least. The big thing... if you buy a subscription to office if you stop the subscription *you can no longer edit files!* I don't want to pay for "using software" like you would a service. (like for example my ADT security screening that's a service.) I want to pay for a program that installs on my computer and if I never go online again or change the dates (ie so it doesn't connect to subscription or count down or any of that crap) that I can still use it. For as many years as I want to. One price. Because if I do the subscription, 2 or 3 years from now something may happen and maybe I can't afford it. I'd rather pay 300-400 NOW and not worry about it later. So - what is the LAST update you recommend that is available that I can buy without a subscription? 2016? 2013? 2010? If 2016 is that bad - what is the alternative without a subscription? Note this has to be something I can transfer from computer to computer... I don't know if I have the 2003 discs anymore - or even if I can install that on a new computer. Has Microsoft screwed me (and other people like me who don't want a subscription and want a tangible hard copy of a program... if not on a disk on a usb or something.. NOT just a download off a site?) Thank you.

    • Conway Costigan
      September 19, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      I totally agree.

      My home machine bought in 2002 runs Win 2k pro with Office2000 - there is no 'significant' difference between using that and my 2017 work machine running Win10 and O2016, except my home machine is faster.

      Insignificant differences are O2016 has ribbons, worse colours, a couple of useful excel features (and many many non-useful or just different ones), that's all.

      Subscription service means we are dependent on the unknown future behaviour and indeed existence of Microsoft, global data centre operations, and no DP breaches or internet infrastructure issues.

      Does no one else see the elephants?

  9. J
    July 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Duuude... LibreOffice all the way.

    • SanMIlly
      July 20, 2017 at 3:59 am

      *Guys who need office 2016 product key can google "aakeys" to get one, 100% working.*

  10. John Idontpayfullprice
    July 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    One of the worst write-ups I have ever read, what this Microsoft paid fool fails to you that Office 365 is the latest version of Office 2016, they are the same. I had office 2007 for a while before I upgraded to 2010, why would someone want to pay Microsoft monthly or yearly fees, when there is nothing special about office 365? I had a year free and 6 month code to use 365, after this was up I went back to my office 2010 pro. I just ended up paying $9.95 for office 2016 pro, so yeah you can keep your advice to yourself, because guess what? I'll be using it for the next 3 years it will end up costing me $3 per year vs $100 per year your way!!!!

  11. Squalle
    June 18, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Last I tried LO, the spreadsheet program didn't do near as much as Excel does. For basic users, LO or Google Docs may work just fine. But for more advanced users, it's hard to beat Excel (and this is coming from a MS hater!)

    As for the rest of Office, I could go with any of them that are listed above. I very rarely ever use a word processor. If I'm writing text, it's in a note app or a plain old text editor. And I don't use any of the others much either, if at all.

  12. Bleron Mehmeti
    April 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    that's why i bought office 2010 (one time buy) for only 45 euros about 48$

    it has every thing you need and this is the program i'm used to all my teachers had it

  13. Eric
    December 27, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I used Office 2000 for nine years. It did everything I needed and I did not like the redesigned ribbon menu as much. Finally changed because it didn't seem to work well with Windows 7. The notion of buying new productivity software every couple years just to get new features is fallacy. But more concerning is the idea of putting yourself in a position where Microsoft can pull the plug at any time. Office 365 is a terrible, terrible business model.

    • MS_is_alternative_science
      April 26, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      yep

      and still so many of the same problems found in previous versions.

      i was looking around the web for a reason as to why my outlook 2016 rules fail.

      MS almost has NO 'killer' apps left. Once openOffice or LibreOffice gets the corporate nod, there will be no reason to stay on MS operating systems.

      Worse yet, this push to the cloud over the last ten years was a largely crappy decision made by the ultra wealthy, and their sad followers. I can run a 200+ core system in HA\Failover on a single 3U server rack, and it will only get smaller, fitting nicely next to the other gear in SMB offices (alarms, hvac, access control, fire systems, etc), and better yet, running infrastructure as code (automated sys admin recipe's) to automate essentially bare-metal configuration solutions.

      The IT industry is too bureaucratic, full of followers who think the old style of doing things is the only way -- otherwise the c-levels get a headache thinking about actual IT science. And they wonder why its so expensive

  14. Jason210
    December 20, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Libre Office is excellent for writing documents on a desktop. Why anyone would want to pay continuously for the privilege to use Microsoft Office is beyond me. Wake up people.

    • Barry Trotter
      March 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Because libre office is slow and terrible.

      • You must be a liberal
        March 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        no, it isn't, you are too slow to just learn new software.

      • You must be a liberal
        March 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm

        you are slow

    • Andrea
      March 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      For me personally, I need to have grammar and punctuation checker because I want to write novels and get them published. I don't want to pay for Microsoft when it's a lot of money and a continuous payment, so I'm looking for alternatives. I don't have cable or wifi, so I can't use the Internet on my computer for alternatives (I'm using my phone). I got WordPerfect x7 yesterday. It has everything Microsoft has, but it has a really bad grammar checker. My stepsister told me Google Docs is a good alternative (for those who want or need punctuation and grammar checker and don't have the money for MS) and it's free. You just need Internet to download it.

  15. Saldatoccio
    December 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I got the following things FOR FREE from Microsoft:

    - Office 2016 on my desktop PC (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Outlook, ...) + mobile device, including Android ones
    - 1TB of storage on OneDrive
    - 60 minutes of international calls through Skype

    And after 1 year I'm supposed to pay approx 69$/year... Something that I'll do for sure, because it's a bargain. If you can live with Google Docs or LibreOffice instead of the full Office 2016 suite, well, good for you.

  16. Joe O.
    December 6, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    wtf? WRONG! Most Students can get Office 2016 for free from their School or work. Also, even if you leave or graduate, you can sometimes purchase the license at a very low discounted price. Most places offer $14.99. Everyone should always look in to that first.

    • Hepler
      April 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Hey kid, want some hard drugs, it's free for now.
      MS is fostering dependency by providing Office and others programs free or at lower prices to students and non-profits. Really pretty clever marketing, IMO.

  17. bromberg
    October 28, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Your article suggests that Office 2016 does not come with updates - is that really true?

  18. Mickael
    September 17, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    To answer all the questions like: "Why Office 365 has ....... but Office 2016 does not?"

    Simply, because they want you to transfer to O365.

    Which they have a hard time doing, apparently :D

    • Joel Lee
      September 20, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Yeah, it really seems to be that way. I hope that they continue with the desktop apps though. It would be very stupid of Microsoft to eventually move EVERYTHING to the cloud 100%.

  19. makeuseof commentor
    August 16, 2016 at 3:52 am

    The reason I prefer Office 2016 is that I fundamentally hate the whole concept of Office 365. These are tools I use on a daily basis, just as important as any of my pens, pencils, and papers, so by what logic should I "rent" this? If you look at 2016, assuming you plan on keeping office for more than a year, it's clear that Office 365 is far more expensive, even if 2016 costs more from the get-go.
    There are some reasons for a subscription office- corporate offices, for one, would need it- but I see no good reason for a consumer-based subscription Office "service". The day that they get rid of the lifetime plans is the day I stop buying new versions of Office. Software as a Service is a concept that simply doesn't make sense in most cases, but in this case especially.

  20. jw
    August 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    What about OpenOffice...?

    • Patrick Saunders
      October 22, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      OO development is patchy at best. It seems to be heading to a dead end.

  21. Lynn
    July 26, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    It's a horrible release. There are so many bugs. Outlook search doesn't consistently work and the rules really don't work. Excel data disappears. The whole office is complaining about this product.

  22. Pieterjan
    June 20, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Office 2016 sucks. uses 60% of my cpu when word is focused.

    • Joel Lee
      June 24, 2016 at 1:45 am

      Yikes, that seems high! Are you using an old machine? If not, I hope you can find a solution to that. I'd be mad if an office app ever used that much CPU.

  23. Anonymous
    March 23, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I'm a troglodyte when it comes to using the cloud to store information. I have more than enough storage and use an NAS to access from an outside location. What advantage is there for me in using the cloud?

    That being said, please explain why 365, which charges annually, is better that 2016 which charges once, from a financial stand point.

  24. Anonymous
    March 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Google Drive and Libre office get on well, ODT as a file type is superior to docx. Great article, does justice to users ;)

  25. davi
    March 21, 2016 at 5:09 am

    although I installed office 2016, I actually like office 2010 better. The color of office after office 2010 (2013 and 2016) looks like a bad taste from Indian, it looks so ugly. And for word, they took away the traditional text boundary function and replaced with a bad one, another taste from India, i guess?

    • ash
      March 22, 2016 at 8:11 am

      India!? why such racist comment. if you dont like 2016, uninstall and use version you like.

      • niemam
        July 17, 2016 at 8:28 am

        This is an aesthetic typical for Asian software so I see no isue with davi's comment.

    • Anonymous
      March 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

      The only thing ugly here is bigotry. Shame, davi.

  26. Donald Siegfried
    March 20, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Said goodbye to the MS products years ago - been using Libre-Office now for all my former MS Office apps and haven't looked back once - except for Publisher! Damn propriety file formats. Only reason I still have Office 2010 on my system yet.

    • Anonymous
      March 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      "Propriety" file formats? As in well-mannered and polite? I think you meant *proprietary* LOL.

  27. Anonymous
    March 19, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I absolutely love my Office 365 Personal subscription. I use Excel on my desktop for budgeting my paychecks, so I plug in my take-home pay, plug in any bills I'm going to pay and then plug in my itemized shopping lists. Once I'm finished, I access the file on my cell phone and take my lists with me. I can update price changes for groceries and other items on the fly, and I know before hitting the checkout if I'm over budget and need to remove an item or two from my shopping cart.

    I did notice that WPS Office was missing from the alternatives list. The free version doesn't have all the latest bells and whistles of Office 365, but it does have desktop and mobile apps and can also access Microsoft's OneDrive.

  28. Rocco Rizzo
    March 18, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Libre Office or Open Office has long been my office of choice.
    Always compatible without all the bloat of Microsoft.

    • Anonymous
      March 22, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Until LibreOffice added the code that OpenOffice's management didn't want to accept, neither suite was compatible with Office XML (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX) formats.

  29. Nancy
    March 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I'm perfectly happy with Office 2010 which I could load into 5 computers .... if I had 5! and yes I still use Windows 7 as I like it.
    I'm not one to jump on the "newest and latest thing bandwagon" until all bugs have been worked out and endless updates and service packs added.
    Won't be buying Office 2016 until I have to move to Windows 10.

  30. Perry Bruns
    March 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I can't recommend Office365, because if you stop paying, all your files become read-only.

  31. DoktorThomas™
    March 18, 2016 at 5:01 am

    The biggest flaw in Office is Microsoft. The software could be a success if its designers dropped Microsoft.
    As for sales now or future, I am not buying it. Period. Been screwed too many times with evaporating keys . . . Just say NO! to all things Microsoft. ©2016

  32. Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 at 1:30 am

    I can't say I'm that surprised about the lack of a trial - most of the pirated copies of earlier versions seem to be constantly resetting free trials. It must have been a tricky decision though - how are people going to be sucked in by the new bells and whistles if they don't see them in action. Perhaps they're counting on people being exposed at work.

    For me it's too expensive - I use Access so it would be the big money package; but use very little or Word's capabilities as it is - so more functions would probably just be more stuff I've forgotten it even can do.

  33. Barry
    March 18, 2016 at 12:23 am

    As a frugal person, for a decade I used free word processing software. But often such software had major disadvantages, worst of all, most free software crashes quite often.

    I finally blew a fuse, reached beyond my Calvinism and purchased Office 2016 (18 months ago now). It has been heaven not to have any document fall over even once. Plus I receive five copies, plus access to OneNote with 1 TB capacity. My wife delights in Word 2016, as does my grandson.

    Office 2016 is worth every cent compared with the drive-you-crazy free word processing software.

    • Sue
      November 27, 2017 at 1:12 am

      What does it mean to have a document "fall over"?

  34. not-a-365-fan
    March 17, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Wow, this article might as well have been well been written by the MS accounting department.

    Office 2016 vs 365 is a very complex buying decision.

    Lets look at your points

    #1 2016 is "more expensive" than 365
    Your first assumption, about Outlook. Does a home user really need Outook. I have been able to do just fine with Hotmail and Gmail native email tools. If you are talking about a business, then Outlook is a reasonable requirement, but you are comparing to the wrong 365 bundles.

    The simplest case is 1 computer in the house. Then you are talking US$150 Home and Student vs 365 Personal at US$70. After 2.1 years, (2 years 2 months) 365 becomes more expensive.

    2 computer break even at 3 years. But that assumes that you will be upgrading to the next version as soon as it it released. Many people don't.

    3 computers break even at 4.5 years, which is a more reasonable upgrade cycle.

    So unless you have 4 or 5 computers (maybe 3) in your home. And this assessment only works because MS "improved" the 2013 license terms when 365 was released to limit the 2013/2016 license to install on only 1 machine, instead of 2 or 3 as it had been in the past.

    Look at it the other way. If you had 1 computer in the house since 2003 (much more reasonable assumption till 2007? or so) and bought Home and student every time it came out from 2003 to 2016 you would have spent US$600. If you had a 365 subscription it would have cost you US$1300 ... (Personal only came out with 2016). Or for a Personal subscription it still would have cost US$910.

    And if you bought the local install, you would still have use of all 4 version (2003 having only recently gone out of support). You would have had control of when the new version was rolled out, not MS.

    #2 No free trial for 2016 is because MS want's to make 2016 as hard for people to get as possible. Have you tried to find 2016 on the Web site. But the no free trial is a red herring anyway. the core functionality of 2016 and 365 is the same, so you could use the 365 trial for testing purposes.

    #3 No Cross Platform options. That is partly true. Some of the cross platform Office apps are currently free so they are also available to 2016 owners. As well there is the Office Online offering with it's limited functionality (cr)applets.

    #4 Other goodies. How many users need more than the 5 GB of Free Onedrive space. You can't count on the 1TB allocation, up until last fall the space was "unlimited". Plus, MS is scanning any file you upload to onedrive. Ostensibly, to prevent "unacceptable" content like pron. But if a file you upload triggers their filter you could lose access to your email account and therefore Office 365. Then fight with them to get access back to the product you paid for.

    Skype. How many people actually use that skype time? I have no idea, it would be interesting to see some numbers.

    "Updates", they go to both versions. Granted, 365 does sometimes get new features that 2016 won't see. Free support applies to both versions.

    "Free Upgrade" for 365. Sure that is "better", but the roll-out is controlled by MS. People with 365/2013 had to wait a while after 2016 went GA before they eventually got 365/2016. And what if you want / need to keep the older version for compatibility with addon tools that have not kept up with MS. Oops, you lose functionality!

    "free updates". Haven't you been keeping touch. MS gave 365 a "free update" that converted pens to default INK from previous default of POINTER. Many people with tablets, like the Surface have complained that their tablets were effectively unusable without the pen touch capability. It has been almost a month now.

    #5 That applies to both 365 and 2016 and is actually the best argument for delaying the "upgrade".

    #6 Office Alternatives. Again that applies to both versions. More so on a cost basis for 365 than 2016.

    Conclusion: Sorry, Office 2016 is no longer the "best" alternatives for businesses. MS has "improved" the 2016 install process so that it requires the activation and email account at the START of the install rather than at the end, after the software was simply installed. This makes it effectively impossible for the IT department or a 3rd party to do mass installs of Office 2016 on many machines.

    Throughout your article you have said you don't know why 365 has some feature while 2016 does not. Every time the answer is simple, "bottom line" simple. MS makes more money with 365 in the medium to long run so they are doing everything they possibly can to hinder and limit 2016 licenses when compared to 365 to "encourage" people to switch to 365. Doesn't take much imagination to figure this out.

    • Douglas Lawson
      March 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      You nailed that on the head... The situation also changes even more drastically when you consider business needs... Needless to say, SAAS is hardly a more "cost-effective" approach.

  35. Andrew Gulak
    March 17, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    The one reason you shouldn't buy Office 2016 is because Open Office.

    • Barry
      March 18, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Andrew, I used three different editions of Open Office over the past decade. I was forced to leave each due to hassles, particularly word processing documents falling over.

      Word 2016 is rock solid in comparison.

      • Andrew Gulak
        March 18, 2016 at 12:53 am

        Fully expected the user name of that reply to be B. Gates. I only use it for word processing (maybe 6 years I've known about it) and it's never let me down. In fact, I access files off my phone via OneDrive, and fax and print with next to no trouble at all with formatting issues. I am a firm supporter of open source software.

        • Barry
          March 18, 2016 at 1:43 am

          Andrew, cynical throwing mud at me smudges your contribution. As a 76 year old who has been using a PC daily since 1989, who is a devotee of free software via Gizmo Richards, I tell of my experience with free word processing software as experienced. Your experience is different. I accept that reality. Please accept mine without sneering.

        • Andrew Gulak
          March 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

          Yeah ummm wow. Ok so apologies are in order I guess. That was intended as nothing but a gentle tease.

        • Barry
          March 18, 2016 at 11:51 am

          Andrew, you apology is a kind courtesy. Thank you. Barry

    • Douglas Lawson
      March 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      Libre Office IMO has grown to be quite a viable alternative. I'm not a fan of Open Office anymore since the split. Microsoft office itself still tends to work better & more reliably, but Libre Office is fast becoming an alternative I'm willing to push my more "frugal" clients too, and I love the idea of more clients going with Open-Source software. Warms my heart!

      • Anonymous
        March 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

        I had no idea this was available for the Windows platform now! I thought it was strictly a Linux thing. Next time I have to install I'll give it a try. Thanks.

    • Brian
      March 21, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Open office calc sucks the interface and shortcuts are completely different and it does not have nearly has mean options. It takes me three times longer to make a simple cash flow model than in Excel. I will go with Excel any day of the week over the free alternatives for modeling.

  36. Dick
    March 17, 2016 at 11:19 am

    o365 home - The office suite, always up-to-date, a terabyte of Onedrive, 60 mins of Skype for each of 5 users and mobile access is just too good to be true for the price - and do shop around on price, I got it a bit cheaper on Amazon.

    My guess is they'll hike to price in future years - the trick is maybe 10% increase every year, not enough to worry about but it's like compound interest calculations, after about 8 years you find the annual cost has doubled.

  37. Anonymous
    March 16, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    My needs have pretty much been met since Office 2003. Thank you.

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      ... except that Office 2003 has compatibility issues with Windows 10. Even if you're someone who doesn't want to use Windows 10, your choices going forward largely involve using a virtual machine or WINE to maintain a compatible system.

      • Douglas Lawson
        March 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

        I've installed Office 2003 on plenty of Windows 10 PCs without issue. Outlook has a brief install glitch, but works perfectly fine. I don't like it compared to other versions, but if it works...

    • IdeaStormer
      March 18, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Exactly, I don't see why people need to upgrade past what they need, who really uses even 10% of the features of any of the Office suite apps? Why does a word processor need a backend compiler? (Visual Basic if you're wondering) At some point apps don't need more features, they need to optimize what they do and end there, ok some fixes for new OS versions but that should be it. Not add more bugs... I mean features. Or is word processing changing so much a bevy of new features are needed... nope, some people do fine with the lamest word processor named Latex (which is used by publishers over Word). Maybe people should concentrate on writing and not word processing, notepad or wordpad are good enough for the majority of those forking over hard earned money on something you will only use 10% of its features. But I'm sure there's a long line of people wanting the latest version because... actually I can't think of a reason anyone would need a new version of Office except to say they have the latest version.