Microsoft 365 vs Office 2021: Which version is right for you?

We compare the two versions of Microsoft Office you can buy and help you decide which one is right for you

Usually when you buy a new Windows laptop and PC or Mac, you don’t include Microsoft Office. Therefore, if you want to write a document, or put together a presentation, you should consider buying two modern versions of Office. You can subscribe to Microsoft 365 for an annual or monthly fee and get Microsoft Office software (and other bonuses), or you can buy it once and buy Office 2021 for a single fee, without worrying about subscriptions. We look at the benefits of all versions of Office for you right here.


Microsoft 365 vs Office 2021: Price

We’ll start with price and how you’ll pay, which is the biggest difference between the two. Microsoft 365 is subscription-based, and Office 2021 is not, but let’s dive deeper.

For consumers

Like your Netflix or Amazon Prime account, Microsoft 365 is a standard, but affordable way to get Office on your devices. There are two main types. One if you are an individual and the other if you are buying for a family. Microsoft also has a cheaper third-party solution, which offers web-based and mobile apps.

  • Microsoft 365 Personal: $69.99 per year for one person, or $6.99 per month
  • Microsoft 365 Family: $99.99 per year, for up to six people to share, or $9.99 per month.
  • Microsoft 365 basic: $19.99 per year for one person, or $1.99 per month.

On the other hand, Office 2021 is very expensive. This is a one-time purchase, known as a perpetual license that you get as a one-time fee, with no registration or expiration dates to worry about. You buy and have it for the rest of your life on one computer without worrying about needing to renew your subscription. Office 2021 Home and Student 2021 costs $150. There is also Office 2021 Professional, which cos

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About businesses

Businesses can also enjoy Microsoft 365 and Office 2021. These editions are expensive, however, they work well with multiple users and PCs. That’s what we recommend for IT Admins to buy a company.

  • Home Office and Business 2021: $250 (one time), same terms as Individual or Student
  • Office 2021 Professional: $440 (one time): same term as Personal or Student but includes Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50 per user per month, includes Microsoft Office software, and webinars.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $22 per user per month, includes everything like Microsoft 365 Business Standard with additional security and data management.
  • Microsoft 365 business plans $8.25 per month, includes desktop versions of Office.

Microsoft 365 vs Office 2021: Changes

Each of these versions of Office has its own features and ways of working. Of the two, Microsoft 365 should be the best for most people, as it offers many benefits and is regularly updated with new features. You always get new updates on the original software like and you can also try the beta through the Office Insider program.

With Office 2021, you won’t get any new software updates. It’s just a security fix. If you want this update, you have to pay to get it permanently released. Microsoft hasn’t talked about one yet, but we expect to see Office 2024 soon.

Microsoft 365 vs Office 2021: What you get with each version

Now, we will dive deeper into what is included in these versions of Office. How many devices you will use, what programs you will use, and how you will use those programs. We’ll also cover bonuses.

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Included in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is like Windows 365 in that you have to provide your credit card information (or registration code) and pay monthly (or yearly) at the rates described above. The advantage of this, however, is that you have access to open access to your Office applications, as well as regular updates that are not limited to security. With Microsoft 365, you can sign in to Office on five different devices, including Windows 11 and Windows 10 PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

You can also share this with up to 6 people with Microsoft 365 Family. Another bonus includes access to 1TB of data in OneDrive per person, and additional features in the Family Safety mobile app. Microsoft 365 comes with access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft Defender (to protect your PC and your family from online threats), OneDrive, Outlook, Microsoft Editor (like Grammarly), Clipchamp (a video editor like iMovie), OneNote, and Family. Security. Best of all, you can get the latest software, since it has been updated from Microsoft.

There’s also Microsoft 365 Basic, which doesn’t include many of these great features, but gives you 100GB of OneDrive storage, an ad-free experience in Outlook on the web, and access to Microsoft support experts. This is a OneDrive plan rather than a standard Microsoft 365 plan.

What is included in Office 2021

On the other hand, Office 2021 has very little at a high price. You can access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. You don’t get access to save in OneDrive. You can only use Office 2021 on one device and there is no sharing. You also won’t get the latest updates with Office 2021, as Microsoft only applies security updates. You have to wait for the permanent release (Office 2024) to get the new version.

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What you get with Office 2021 Professional is the same, but with additional software. You get Microsoft Publisher, so you can create advertising graphics, flyers, or business cards, for example. You also get Microsoft Access, so you can create and manage databases. You still have to wait and pay for the next release to get the new features, though.

Microsoft 365 is better

If you have to choose between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021, Microsoft 365 is the best choice now. Microsoft 365 includes access to more products and apps than Office 2021. You get OneDrive storage and access to family-friendly apps. Microsoft Defender, and a video editing service like Clipchamp. All this for the affordable price of $70 per year for individuals or $100 per year for families.

Microsoft 365 The best way to get Office

Microsoft 365 gives you access to Microsoft Office, Microsoft Editor, and Family Safety apps for a monthly or yearly subscription fee. You also get new software.

$70 at Amazon (MICrosoft 365 Personal) $100 at Amazon (Microsoft 365 Family)

On the other hand, if you are the type of person who does not like to register something, it is only need access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook and don’t worry about missing OneDrive storage and more, then Office 2021 is for you. It is also good if you only have one PC.

Microsoft Office Home & Student Great for those who don’t like subscriptions

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2021 includes access to Microsoft Office software for a one-time fee. No subscriptions are involved.

$150 at Amazon

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