Outlook_UI_900x530

Microsoft Office 2016 vs. Office 365: Which is better value?

Information verified correct on December 7th, 2016

More and more services are becoming subscription-based but with something like Microsoft Office, is it worth paying every month or should you stick to a once-off payment?

When Adobe announced its monthly subscription service, Adobe Creative Cloud, some embraced the monthly fee whereas others were put off by it. It’s a continuing trend across all kinds of software that used to be exclusively store-purchased.

Microsoft is not new to this game. Office 365, which continuously updates, has been available for home use since 2013 but even in 2015 there is still a demand for physical copies. If you purchase a boxed copy of Office 2016, you'll only pay a one-time fee, but you can only use it on a single machine. You'll receive security updates, but your copy will eventually go out of date. If you purchase Office 365, you're continually receiving updates as long as your subscription is active.

What many people don’t realise is that you actually save money with a monthly subscription service, especially if you’re shopping for more than one computer.

Check out our comprehensive Windows 10 coverage here

To start with, Office 365 Personal - which allows for 1 user - will only set you back $83.88 per year. That means you would have to pay for nearly two years of Office 365 Personal before paying more than the physical copy of Office Home and Student 2016 (priced at $149.99), not to mention the additional features that Office 365 Personal comes with.

If you’re shopping for multiple users, Office 365 works out cheaper again. Yes, the monthly fee is $9.99 but you’re getting access for 5 users across PC, Mac, mobile and tablet. Realistically, that’s only $23.97 per year for each user. That gives each user about 6.25 years worth of usage before racking up the $149.99 it costs for the packaged Office Home and Student.

Again, Office 365 offers more inclusions and more storage than the boxed version (which incidentally now includes a download card rather than physical media), as well as all the Office 2016 features. See below for a full comparison of inclusions.

Office Home and Student 2016Office 365 PersonalOffice 365 Home
No. of users1 PC1 PC or Mac5 PCs or Mac
OneDrive cloud storage15 GB1 TB for 1 user1 TB for each user
Regular updatesnoyesyes
Microsoft Supportnoyesyes
Skype inclusionsno60 minutes per month for 1 user60 minutes per month for each user
Wordyesyesyes
Excelyesyesyes
PowerPointyesyesyes
OneNoteyesyesyes
Publishernoyesyes
Accessnoyesyes
Outlooknoyesyes
Price$149.99once-off payment$6.99per month$9.99per month
Annual costN/A$83.88$119.88

Try for yourself:

Office 365 Personal from Microsoft Store

Now you can easily access your docs with office mobile apps for iPhones, android, and windows phones with Office 365 Personal. This features 20 GB OneDrive online storage.

View details

Office Home and Student 2016 from Microsoft Store

The newest version of this software tool that leads you to accomplish more for home and homework. Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

View details

Brodie Fogg

Brodie is a staff writer at finder.com.au covering breaking tech and telco news. When he's not drooling over the latest comic book releases or grinding away at the newest time-devouring RPG, he's helping people choose between Australia's various streaming services.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Christmas Deals & Specials

Christmas Gifts for Girlfriends
Christmas Gifts for Girlfriends

Find the perfect gift for your girlfriend, regardless of your budget.

More info...
Need antivirus for a new laptop?
Need antivirus for a new laptop?

Norton™ Security Premium for 3 Devices $89.99

More info...
Christmas Ideas
Christmas Ideas

Visit our Christmas homepage for gift ideas, markets, travel & deals.

More info...

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback