Office 2021 vs Microsoft 365: How are They Different

Office 365 vs Microsoft Office

When Microsoft launched Windows 11 weeks ago, it unveiled Office 2021 as well. Office 2021 is the latest version of Microsoft’s productivity suite – with the last version unveiled in 2019 (Office 2019). But because both Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 have similar offerings, you might be wondering why Microsoft is selling two versions of essentially the same product, wondering how different are they? and which of them should you go for? In this article, we will be telling you about both products; their differences and similarities.

Office 2021 vs Microsoft 365: Key Differences

Office 2021Microsoft 365
CostOne-time purchase: For this, you pay a single, one-time fee.Microsoft 365: Just pay a monthly or yearly subscription.
Office ApplicationYou get Office apps including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.With Microsoft 365, you get the latest version of Office apps like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Also, you will always get the latest features, new tools, security updates, and bug fixes.
Feature UpdateYes, security updates are included, but new features aren’t included. You will always get all the latest features and updates, security updates, and bug fixes for your Office apps.
Install Office on more than one computer One-time purchases can be installed once on either a PC or Mac.

Microsoft 365 Family lets you install Microsoft 365 on all your devices and you can then sign in to five of them at the same time. This way, you can use Office from anywhere regardless of the device you’re on. Your subscription can also be shared with up to five other people.
Support for tablets and phonesOffice 2021 supports basic editing features on tablets or phones under 10.1 inches.With Microsoft 365, you get extra features when you sign in to Office apps on your device.
Extra online storageNot included.You can securely store your files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. You’ll also get 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user – available for up to 6 users.

One-Time Fee vs. Subscription

Office 2021 is a one-time purchase software that allows users to buy, install and run Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for only one computer. The downside of this is that you do not have an option to upgrade until the next version of Office is released. And this typically takes 2-3 years. Also, you will have to pay the full amount to get this new version when it is released. One-time purchase of Office 2021 starts from $149.99.

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Office 2021 Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 on the other hand, is a subscription-based (monthly/yearly) version of Office. But unlike Office, this one makes sure your apps are always up-to-date with the latest features. Microsoft 365 comes with a variety of plans for personal, family, businesses, large enterprises, schools, and non-profits. The family plan is quite interesting. It allows you to share your subscription with family members (up to 5 other people). Also, you can use your apps on up to 30 devices. The Personal plan for Microsoft 365 costs $69.99/year or $6.99/month, while the Family plan costs $99.99/year or $9.99/month.

Related: Is Microsoft 365 really that much better than Office 2019?

Getting the Right One

If you are not a fan of continuous subscriptions and only use the basic functions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then I advise you to go for Office 2021. However, if you need Microsoft’s Office applications for multiple people (family members or your employees), your best bet is Microsoft 365 as it offers you more.


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