What is Office 365? How is it different from Microsoft Office?

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Office 365. “Office 365” refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other productivity services that are enabled over the Internet (cloud services). Office 365 includes plans for use at home and for business. Learn about Office 365 for use at home. Office 365 plans for business include services such as Skype for Business web conferencing and Exchange Online hosted email for business, and additional online storage with OneDrive for Business.

Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of the latest Office applications, which users can install across multiple computers and devices. The fully installed applications include: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. (Publisher and Access are available on PC only.) And you can install them across multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, Android tablets, Android phones, iPad, and iPhone. When you have an active Office 365 subscription that includes the desktop version of Office, you always have the most up-to-date version of the applications.

The Office 365 plans that are online-only are a great choice for certain business needs, and they are designed to work with the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality. Get more details about which Office versions are supported. NOTE: This compatibility with Office does not include the Exchange Online Kiosk or Office 365 Enterprise K1 plans.

All Office 365 plans are paid for on a subscription basis, monthly or annually.

Microsoft Office. “Microsoft Office” is the name we still use for our familiar productivity software. Office suites are available as a one-time purchase and include applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which can be installed on only one PC or Mac. The applications are not automatically updated; to get the latest version, you can purchase the product again when the new version becomes available. The latest versions currently available for one-time purchase are Office 2016 for Windows and Office 2016 for Mac. These suites do not come with any of the cloud-based services included in Office 365.

Will Office 365 work with my copy of Office?

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Office 365 is designed to work with the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality. Get more details about which Office versions are supported. If you have Office 2003 or an earlier version, you will need to update to a newer version of Office in order to use Office 365; or you can subscribe to one of the many Office 365 plans that include the latest version of Office. In addition to getting the latest version of Office as part of your subscription, you will also get automatic updates, so your Office will always be up to date. Compare plans.

How many devices can I install Office on if I have an Office 365 Business or ProPlus subscription?

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Office 365 Business and ProPlus subscribers can install Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 smartphones. You can count hybrid Windows devices, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, as either a PC or a tablet.

Is Internet access required for Office 365?

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Internet access is required to install and activate all Office 365 plans and to manage your subscription account. Internet connectivity is also required to access Office 365 cloud productivity services, including email, conferencing, IT management, and other services.

Many Office 365 plans also include the desktop version of Office, for example, Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise E3. One of the benefits of having the desktop version of Office applications is that you can work offline and have the confidence that the next time you connect to the Internet all your work will automatically sync, so you never have to worry about your documents being up to date. Your desktop version of Office is also automatically kept up to date and upgraded when you connect to the Internet, so you always have the latest tools to help you work. Compare Office 365 plans.

What is the cloud?

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“The cloud” is a friendly way of describing web-based computing services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. With Office 365, for example, information storage, computation, and software are located and managed remotely on servers owned by Microsoft. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud—everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this infrastructure is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a PC, tablet, smartphone, or other device with an Internet connection.

How many users does Office 365 support?

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Office 365 is highly scalable and can support everything from a one-person business to companies with tens of thousands of users:

  • Office 365 Business plans are best for companies with one to 300 users.
  • Office 365 Enterprise plans fit organizations ranging in size from a single employee to 50,000-plus users.

You can compare all the options here.

What mobile apps are available for Office?

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Office provides the following apps:

  • Office for Android™: View, create and edit documents with touch-friendly Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps. You can count on Office for Android to keep your content and formatting intact so the document looks great when you’re back on your PC or Mac. In Word, add comments or track changes while you work together with others. Review and update Excel spreadsheets and easily add formulas or charts. Make changes to PowerPoint presentations and project them wirelessly on a big screen.

    You can view documents for free with Office for Android. Editing and creating documents requires an eligible Office 365 subscription: Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, Office 365 University, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4, and E5, Office 365 U.S. Government E3 and E4, Office 365 Education Plus, and Office 365 ProPlus.

  • Office for iPad®: View, create and edit documents with touch-friendly Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps. You can count on Office for iPad to keep your content and formatting intact so the document looks great when you’re back on your PC or Mac. In Word, add comments or track changes while you work together with others. Review and update Excel spreadsheets and easily add formulas or charts. Make changes to PowerPoint presentations and project them wirelessly on a big screen.

    You can view documents for free with Office for iPad. Editing and creating documents requires an eligible Office 365 subscription: Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, Office 365 University, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4, and E5, Office 365 U.S. Government E3 and E4, Office 365 Education Plus, and Office 365 ProPlus.

  • Office Mobile: Office Mobile is preinstalled on Windows Phone 8 and is available for select models of iPhone® and Android phones. Office Mobile offers great Office content viewing and on-the-go content editing capabilities. And you can count on Office Mobile to keep your content and formatting intact so the document still looks great when you’re back on your PC or Mac. Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones can be used for free for non-commercial use, simply download the app from the store on your phone.

    In order to edit or create documents or to access documents stored in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business on premises, you must have a qualifying Office 365 plan: Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4, and E5, Office 365 U.S. Government E3 and E4, Office 365 Education Plus, Office 365 ProPlus, and Office 365 University.

  • Outlook Mobile: Windows Phone 8 includes a pre-installed version of Outlook that you can use to access your Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange email.
  • OneNote: You can use the mobile OneNote app to access your notes while on the go. This app is available on Windows Phone 8, iPhone, iPad, and Android phones.
  • OWA: If you have an Office 365 subscription that includes Exchange Online, you can use the OWA app to sort, scan, and respond to email, and stay on top of your schedule. This app is available on iPhone and iPad.
  • Lync Mobile: If your organization uses Skype for Business or the newest version of Lync, you can use the mobile Lync app or the Skype for Business mobile app, to stay connected while on your mobile device. This app is available on Windows Phone 8, iPhone, iPad, and Android phones.
  • SharePoint Newsfeed: If your organization uses the newest version of SharePoint, you can use the SharePoint Newsfeed app to access your newsfeed from your mobile device. This app is available on Windows Phone 8, iPhone, and iPad.

Where’s my country/region? I do not see it in the dropdown list on the signup page.

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Office 365 is offered in a number of countries/regions and languages. If your country’s/region’s name doesn’t appear in the list, we have not currently launched a version of Office 365 for your market. We’re continuing to launch Office 365 in new markets and will publicly announce when we launch Office 365 in any new market.

With a subscription to Office 365, you can get:

  • The latest Office apps, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
  • The ability to install on PCs, Macs, tablets, and phones.
  • 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage.
  • Feature updates and upgrades not available anywhere else.

What’s the difference between Office 365 and Office 2016?

Office 365 is a subscription service that includes the most recent version of Office, which currently is Office 2016. It comes with the applications you’re familiar with, like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, plus extra online storage, ongoing tech support at no extra cost, and more.

You can choose to pay for an Office 365 subscription on a monthly or yearly basis, and the Office 365 Home plan lets you share your subscription with up to four members of your household. Different Office 365 plans are available for home and personal use, as well as for small and midsized businesses, enterprises, schools, and nonprofits.

Office 2016 is also sold as a one-time purchase, which means you pay a single, up-front cost to get Office applications for one computer. One-time purchases are available for both PCs (such as Office Home & Student 2016) and Macs (such as Office Home & Student 2016 for Mac). One-time purchases don’t have an upgrade option, which means if you plan to upgrade to the next major release, you’ll have to buy it at full price.

Office Online is the free version of Office that you can use in your web browser. Try the Office Online apps.

Ready to install Office? See Install Office on your PC or Mac.

Compare Office 2016 as a one-time purchase to an Office 365 subscription

One-time purchase
(Example: Office Home & Student 2016)
Office 365 subscription
(Example: Office 365 Home)
Cost Pay a single, one-time cost Pay a small monthly fee, or save by paying for a full year
Office applications Included Get Office 2016 applications, like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Your apps won’t be updated when new features are released. Included Get the latest version of Office applications, like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Right now that’s Office 2016, but your version will continue to receive new feature updates. PC users also get Access and Publisher.
Feature updates Not included Security updates are included, but you won’t get new features that are added to Office 2016. Upgrades to major releases are not included. Included Your version of Office will always be improving. Get the latest features and updates from Microsoft. Major upgrades to future versions are included.
Install Office on more than one computer (Mac or PC) Not included One-time purchases are designed for a single operating system, so your copy of Office is good for either one Mac or one PC. Included With Office 365 Home, you can install Office desktop applications on up to 5 computers, which can be a combination of Macs and PCs. If you don’t need all of those installs, share them with members of your household.
Install Office and get advanced features on tablets and phones Not included Get basic editing features only on your tablet or phone. Included Get extra features when you sign in to Office apps on your device. With Office 365 Home, you’ll get these extra features on up to 5 tablets and 5 smartphones.
Extra online storage Not included Not included. Included Securely store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user, for up to 5 users.
Technical support is included Not included Initial technical support is included for installing only. Included Contact us throughout your subscription at no extra cost for help with technical issues, or for subscription and billing support.

 

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