If you are a Mac user and new to the suite of Office applications, it can be challenging to choose between Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Microsoft Office. Here’s everything you need to know to make an informed choice.
Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service, and users make yearly or monthly payments to use a wide range of apps, including Publisher, Excel, Word, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
The service is available on laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones. But it is limited to connections at a time.
Users can opt for the Family subscription plan and share the account with five additional users.
Once the apps are installed, users needn’t worry about upgrades. The apps receive automatic maintenance and security updates, new features, and improvements throughout the subscription’s lifetime.
Furthermore, Microsoft 365 gives users access to cloud features to enhance their productivity. Users receive Skype minutes and 1TB of OneDrive storage. If you are subscribed to the Family plan, you will get 6TB of storage. You can also expand the storage by purchasing additional OneDrive storage.
Despite all the outstanding features offered by Microsoft 365, Mac users have complained of encountering some errors, such as can view documents but it doesn’t allow editing on a Mac. Fortunately, the problem is easily fixable. Clear the cache and re-log to fix the problem, or you can restart your device.
Microsoft Office 2021
Microsoft Office 2021 is the traditional and desktop version, and Office 2021 is the last version as its components will be rebranded as Microsoft 365 in 2023.
Office 2021 comes with Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. However, they don’t offer the same benefits and features as a Microsoft 365 subscription. For example, users will not find the AI-based and cloud features and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
However, the advantage of using Office 2021 is you can continue using the applications offline.
The upfront cost of Office 2021 is expensive, and users have to pay again to upgrade and access additional features. In addition, there’s no customer support, and the account cannot be shared with other users.
Microsoft 365 Versus Office 2021
Office 2021 for Mac is a one-time purchase for one user. The latest version of the app will not have any upgrades because the company is rebranding it to Microsoft 365. But if you are using Office 2019 or an earlier version, you will have to pay again for the latest version.
On the other hand, Microsoft 365 is a subscription service. You can choose to pay monthly or yearly. You can also subscribe to the Family plan and use the same account with five additional users. Furthermore, you can save costs by installing Microsoft 365 on several devices.
The exact cost of the service depends on your usage. There are different price plans for Microsoft 365 Personal, Home, Business, and University. The Business subscription plan is higher than the rest.
In Office 2021, the Word features are text-to-speech, translator, text spacing, and customizable ribbons. In Microsoft 365, the features of Word are researcher, editors, and group collaboration in real-time, along with a translator, text spacing, etc.
Outlook also offers additional features in Microsoft 365, and you can enjoy @mentions, teamwork, and group chats. You can even sync Calendar and Google Contacts.
Office 2021 will not get any more upgrades. Instead, Microsoft 365 offers automatic upgrades, so users don’t have to worry about installing the latest versions of the apps.
Besides these, the cloud-based features of Microsoft 365 ensure that you can access your work and continue editing a document whenever, at any time. However, it would be best if you had an Internet connection to use the features of this subscription-based service.
Which is Suitable for Mac Users?
Microsoft 365 is the best option for Mac and Windows users. This is because Office 2021 is the latest and final version. So from 2023 onwards, Microsoft has decided to integrate it and rebrand it as Microsoft 365.
Also, Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based model, so the cost is spread yearly or monthly as users choose. The subscription can be shared with your family members or other users. You can benefit from using the cloud-based features offered by this service so you can collaborate and edit your work in real-time.
Moreover, you can install Microsoft 365 on all your Apple devices to manage the cost and your work.
So there’s no point purchasing Office 2021 if you haven’t already. Microsoft is also urging users to subscribe to Microsoft 365 because that is the future for all the Office applications you enjoy using so much. For Mac users, this is the best option, as it is available for desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. Install it and subscribe to available plans to use the apps, cloud-based features, and storage solutions.