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Office 2016 and Office 365: What is the Difference?

Updated on January 15, 2018
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Abhinav is an avid blogger and a tech enthusiast who enjoys writing about technology. Follow him on Twitter @Abhinawsethi

The Enterprise IT world is filled with innovation, and in last few years we all have witnessed several innovations unfold. We have all been sticking to the legacy platforms, which over the time have been providing lesser support to the growing demands. We need technology that makes us more productive, and migration shouldn’t be a task to be worried about.

Office suite by Microsoft is their Enterprise IT environment which is unique and changing the ways businesses work today. If you have been using or following the Office suite, you would know that there are two of those - Office 2016 and Office 365. So, today we will be sharing some clarity on the difference between both.

Office 2016 and Office 365

So the first and the most prominent difference is - Office 2016 is their traditional Office product, buy it one time, with up-front cost. Simply install it on the machine and use it for eternity on any computer.

Office 365 is the new pitch by Microsoft for introducing their Office product. Instead of paying a cost right at the beginning, you choose to pay either a half yearly or monthly price and get complete access to their every new update. Additional benefits, the users get access to cloud storage at OneDrive and Office applications for tablets. Choose a plan as per convenience. They have plans that allow five users, which is ideal for startups.

Office 2016 with Office 365

Microsoft has multiple options in 2016, for home users, students, and business owners - packaged with additional applications - as well. The one-time fee gives the users a licensed version of their favorite Office products.

Most users prefer buying Office 2016 as part of the Office 365 plan, which comes with more options and features.

Every Office 365 plan is inclusive of:

  • Versions of Office - PowerPoint, Excel, Word (online)
  • File sharing and storage of up to 1 TB (OneDrive)
  • Presentation creation in Sway
  • Guaranteed uptime
  • Data security
  • Integration of Active Directory for creating user permissions

As you keep upgrading the Office 365 plans, you get access to more features:

  • Complete desktop versions of Office - PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, OneNote - on five computers
  • Office on mobile or tablet
  • Outlook with space of 50 GB
  • SharePoint that comes with intranet access
  • Yammer
  • Skype for business
  • Compliance protection

Factors to consider before making the purchase

Features and Programs

Understand the features that are necessary and choose a plan that fits best. If you require only basic features in the Office Suite, then pick a standalone product or the basic level of Office 365. However, for robust features like SharePoint, you will need Office 365.


For accessing information from multiple devices, Office 365 is the ideal option. Office 2016 does not let the users save files on the cloud; however, Office 365 provides more options for cloud access. Moreover, it gives the user the access to use the newest versions of Office anytime.

Switching Plans

  • Office 2016: As the Office 2016 is standalone software, so the new features and upgrades will not be available unless you buy a new license for every user. The new version of Office will be released sometime in 2018.
  • Office 365: The users can switch their plan anytime right from the admin center

So what is better - Office 2016 or Office 365?

Well, this is a question that does have a right or wrong answer. Depending on your requirement and usability of the Office suite, you can decide the version that is an ideal match. For us, both the options are perfectly fine, but Office 365 does get the edge, thanks to the constant updates and the feasibility to choose the plan as per your requirement and wallet. We would like to hear what you think about this, do share your experiences with Office 2016 or Office 365.

© 2018 Abhinav Sethi


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