If you've been thinking about subscribing to Office 365 to get access to the Microsoft Office suite of applications for an affordable yearly or monthly price, there are two options you can to choose from. Currently, for general consumers, Microsoft offers both Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal.
While both of these subscription tiers give you similar access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access, there are some subtle differences for what you can get for your money. In this guide, we dive a bit deeper and will help you choose the subscription plan that is right for your home.
So, what's included in both subscriptions?
Before diving into the differences, it is best to look at the software and services you get with both subscriptions. Covered under Office 365 Home and Personal is access to full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Skype. These all receive monthly updates from Microsoft, and you can install on PCs, Macs, tablets, and phones. If installing on just a PC, you'll get bonus access to Microsoft Access and Publisher.
As a bonus, both subscriptions also include 1TB of cloud storage on Microsoft OneDrive per user (with paid options for more storage, if needed) and 60 minutes of calling on Skype per month. There are some exclusions and exceptions with who you can call on Skype, however. If you're using OneNote, you will also gain access to some special features. These include Ink replay, Researcher, Math Assistant, Stickers, and more.
Office 365 Personal --- For one person only
Now, it's time to look at the differences. We'll start first with Office 365 personal. For the price of $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year, Office 365 Personal is the cheapest way to get Office on your devices. We'd recommend it if you're just buying a subscription for one person, with no plans to add users to your plan.
While the subscription does grant you access to PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Publisher, and Skype, there is an important limit. If opting for this base plan, you only will be able to use the Office applications with one Microsoft account (meaning one user with one license) across multiple PCs, Macs, or tablets. You'll also only get 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage with that single account.
Keep in mind, however, that while it may seem as though you may be able to install Office on as many computers as you want using this subscription, there are some technical limits. According to Microsoft, you only can stay signed in to Office 365 Personal with five devices at the same time. That means, that if you sign in to a sixth device, you'll be forced to sign out of one of your other devices via the Microsoft Account page.
You might be able to install Office without signing in on that sixth device, but as Office 365 is activated using a Microsoft Account, you'll also lose some subscription features and Office might only run in read-only mode.
Office 365 Home --- For up to six people, best for families
Priced at $99.99 a year, or $9.99 a month, Office 365 Home is a subscription that we'd recommend for families. Compared to Office 365 Personal, for the extra $30, this version of Office 365 lets you pay one price to enjoy Office with multiple users, under one paid plan. There's even a free 30-day trial available if you're not sure if the subscription is right for you.
With this subscription, six different people can use PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Publisher, and Skype across multiple devices. In technical terms, this means you can link up to six Microsoft accounts with a single Office 365 Home subscription. Each person will be able to install Office on all their devices, with their own personal accounts, but only can stay signed in to five devices at the same time.
This means that each person will continue to get all the benefits, including full versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, plus the 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and more. There's plenty of value here for families, as adding things up across the six users, you can get up to 360 total minutes of Skype calls, and 6TB of storage on Microsoft OneDrive.
For most, Office 365 Home and Personal is the way to go
At the end of the day, both Office 365 Home and Personal are excellent ways to save money and get Office for an affordable price. The alternative to these options would be to buy Office Home and Student 2019, which comes at a one-time cost of $149. However, by going that route, you'll only be able to install Office on 1 PC or Mac, and you won't have the ability to update to the next major version of Office for free when it's available. You'll own the software forever, and won't have to worry about paying a yearly subscription fee, but you'll end up paying more if you want to enjoy Office on multiple PCs or Macs with multiple users.
You can buy Office 365 Personal today from Microsoft by heading to this link here. Stay tuned for more as we continue to dive deeper into the world of Office 365.