Microsoft 365 is the new and improved version of the former Office 365. It’s the gold standard when it comes to office suites—one that everyone is trying to match. We particularly recommend the software because of the plethora of products and apps like Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. Complete with an affordable price tag, Microsoft Office 365 is really a no-brainer if you’re looking for powerful, feature-packed office suite software.
Comparing Microsoft Office 365 to the Best Office Suite Software
Being the world’s standard for office suites, it’s no surprise Microsoft Office 365 is one of our top picks for the best office suite software.
It’s the best option for online and offline use, thanks to its smooth collaboration features, user-friendly interface, and unparalleled flexibility to suit each use case. What’s more, the product is packed with several powerful apps and services, including Word, Excel, Power BI, Skype, and Outlook, that seriously simplify creating, collaborating, and sharing your work.
While Microsoft Office 365 offers a wide range of amazing features, it isn’t the only option in the market. We’ve compiled a list of a few other office suite software that take productivity to the next level to help you pick a solution that’s most suitable based on your requirements and budget.
- Google Workspace — The Best for Most
- Microsoft 365 — The Best for Online And Offline Use
- Zoho Workplace — The Best Bare-Bones Basic Suite
- iWork — The Best for Apple Devices
- WPS Office — The Best Microsoft Clone for Non-Microsoft Users
Microsoft Office 365: The Good and The Bad
Anytime-Anywhere Access: Microsoft Office 365‘s biggest USP is its flexibility. Work from anywhere on earth as long as you have a reliable internet connection. No need to wait until the morning to piece together an idea—just open the laptop and start working directly no matter the time of day. As it’s entirely cloud-based, you can access your email, files, and office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) from any device and location. You can also choose a plan with the desktop version of Office that can be installed on up to five devices per user. This way, you won’t have to rely on having a stable internet connection. Continue working and simply sync the changes once you’re reconnected. This is particularly handy for companies with remote or hybrid employees, multiple locations, and employees who travel often.
Variety of Quality Apps: Each Microsoft Office 365 app and service is one of the best options you can get your hands on, if not the top product. For instance, you get the ever-dependable Word that’s the best general word processor for most users. If you deal with spreadsheets, you can use Excel, which is another standard when other solutions fall short. And these are just the tip of the iceberg—several others can significantly improve productivity and help ensure better outcomes.
Easy and Seamless Team Collaboration: When looking for an office suite solution, many businesses want an option that allows them to collaborate with in-house departments and third-party individuals. Microsoft Office 365 has a co-authoring tool that lets multiple users collaborate on a specific project simultaneously. Employees can communicate on the same project without worrying about creating duplicate copies. All the updates are visible in real-time, plus you can see who has made what change and at what time. The multi-collaboration feature is also time-saving as you don’t have to wait for other people to finish working on the piece to make your own edits.
Superior Security Features: Security is one of the most common concerns business leaders have about cloud-based systems like Microsoft Office 365. The good news is that Microsoft has taken a lot of initiative to ensure top-notch security that ensures all data uploaded onto the system is as secure as it can possibly be. Besides the hashed passwords, you get a host of valuable security features like data loss prevention, threat intelligence, and mobile device management. You also get extra protection from sophisticated threats that may be hidden in emails and attachments, thanks to additional advanced security features like two-factor authentication.
Fully-Integrated Productivity Suite: Performing tasks is easier on Microsoft Office 365 because every app and service is tightly integrated. Notify your team members instantly about changes with @mentions. Or schedule a meeting directly from an email or a chat, and find them synced across all your devices. You can also add a file from SharePoint to a task in Planner. Everything is seamless and smooth and hassle-free. You don’t have to install any third-party apps, plus since the UI/UX is consistent across Microsoft Office 365, using each app and service in concert isn’t too complicated.
Automatic and Regular Updates: IT technicians spend the majority of the time checking, rebooting, and updating software. As you may know, this is a very time-consuming process, plus other employees have to wait for the update to be completed before they can continue working, leading to productivity loss. But not anymore. Microsoft Office 365 regularly pushes out automatic updates that free up your IT staff’s time, allowing them to focus their efforts on more important tasks and boost productivity. Your team can continue working without being held back by slow, outdated software.
Flexible Pricing Plans Tailored to Business Use Cases: The best office suite software lets you choose plans that meet your specific requirements instead of forcing you to fit into them. However, this isn’t a readily available benefit as most productivity suites offer a maximum of two to three plans—but not Microsoft Office 365. Currently, you can choose from seven plans that not only come with various unique and overlapping features but can also help you cater to your exact requirements. In other words, you don’t have to compromise and can choose a plan that best suits you and your business needs. Additionally, each plan is subscription-based, saving you from spending hundreds of dollars. You only need to pay a monthly fee per user based on what you need. Cherry-pick the programs and features you want, and mix and match plans as per your convenience.
Mandatory Internet Connection Requirement: While anytime-anywhere access to work is Microsoft Office 365’s biggest advantage, it’s also a disadvantage. Why? Like all cloud-based systems, Microsoft Office 365 uploads your data onto the web, which is where you access your apps and services from anywhere and at any time. If you have a poor internet connection or are experiencing downtime, you cannot access your most recent files. Of course, there are plans that allow you to download full desktop versions of Microsoft Office 365 apps, allowing you to continue working without the internet. But you’ll still need a stable internet connection to upload the work later.
Subscription-based Pricing: While you don’t have to pay exorbitant one-time costs, you do have to pay a subscription fee each month to use Microsoft Office 365. You can make the payment either via registered credit card or on direct debit if you work with Microsoft’s partner. The issue here is that you need to make an annual commitment. Once you sign up, you’ll have to continue paying subscription fees for the duration of your use. This can become costly for many people as they typically use only 20% of the platform’s functionality. When compared with other tools, you’ll find the latter more affordable options than Microsoft Office 365.
Compatibility Issues: Despite the periodical updates, Microsoft tends to only be compatible with devices capable of handling such advanced software. This means it’s likely your old system may not be compatible with Microsoft Office 365. If that’s the case, you can take a few steps to go around it—but beware, these hacks are both costly and time-consuming. Upgrade every one of your systems to a new version of Microsoft Windows or buy new systems altogether. Another possibility is that some of your clients may not use cloud-based systems or have the same software. In this case, you can use Office Online, a tool that allows third-party users to use basic functions of Microsoft Office 365, like viewing and editing documents without having to subscribe to a plan. But this tool is very basic and limited, so don’t expect too much.
Regular Updates Mean Constant Changes: As discussed, Microsoft Office 365 is always rolling out new updates and features. This is a solid advantage, especially for tech-savvy employees. But it can quickly get tedious for those who are slow to adapt to changes, leading to potential problems. If your workforce doesn’t like the new version or layout of Microsoft Office 365, there is not much you can do about it. This may cause team productivity to dip until people get used to the new changes. Ensure your users understand how to use the new features. If they don’t, help familiarize them with the changes.
No Ownership Rights: When you sign up for Microsoft Office 365, you don’t become the owner of the software. Instead, you only get permission to use Microsoft’s IP. You lose all your tools if Microsoft decides it doesn’t want to support Microsoft Office 365 anymore. The same thing will happen if Microsoft goes down tomorrow. Basically, your entire business depends on Microsoft. Considering several Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft Office 365, it’s safe to say you’re in good hands. But we still wanted to make you aware of this small factor.
Microsoft Office 365 Pricing and Options
Currently, Microsoft Office 365 offers three plans that are aimed at specific users:
- Microsoft 365 Home — For individuals and families
- Microsoft 365 Business — For businesses with 300 people or less
- Microsoft 365 Enterprise — for businesses with more than 300 people
Each of the above plans is further broken down into tiers that let people cherry-pick the exact services they desire. Here’s what the pricing breakdown looks like:
Under Home, you have two plans:
- Personal — $6.99 per user per month for a maximum of one user
- Family — $9.99 per user per month for a maximum of six users
Under Business, you have four plans:
- Basic — $5 per user per month for a maximum of 300 users
- Apps (for Business) — Costing $8.25 per user per month for a maximum of 300 users
- Standard — $12.50 per user per month for a maximum of 300 users
- Premium — $20 per user per month for a maximum of 300 users
Under Enterprise, you have three plans:
- F3 — Costing $10 per user per month
- E3 — Costing $32 per user per month
- E5 — Costing $57 per user per month
Note: There is no limit on the maximum number of users if you choose any one of the Enterprise plans.
As one would expect, the desktop apps are more robust than their web-based counterparts. You can use them even when you’re offline.
This Microsoft Office 365 service is perhaps the most widely used word processor on the planet.
Use it to collaborate on shared projects in real-time or connect with experts to create, edit, and polish documents. You also get access to Word templates in over 40 categories and then translate documents in your non-native language with just a click.
Excel is the industry standard when it comes to spreadsheet software programs. It’s also a powerful data visualization and analysis tool that helps you better understand your data and work together more efficiently.
A recent development in Microsoft Excel we love is that you can add data to the platform directly from a photo. All you need to do is take a picture of the printed data table on your device, and Excel will automatically convert the picture into a fully editable table.
Microsoft Teams allows you to stay connected and access shared content anytime and from anywhere to plan, innovate, and learn together regardless of whether you’re at home, work, or school. More importantly, it helps you stay in the flow by providing you with all the best apps and features at your fingertips, helping you become more focused and efficient.
Microsoft Office 365‘s personal cloud storage, OneDrive allows you to save your photos and files and access them from any device, anywhere. You can also edit and share your files on all your devices, backup and protect them, and collaborate in real-time with Office apps.
There is also a Personal Vault that adds an additional layer of protection to your sensitive files and photos.
How Microsoft Office 365 Ranks
Microsoft Office 365 is certainly a top contender when it comes to office suites. It’s a solid offering from Microsoft that makes collaboration seamless, taking office productivity and work mobility to the next level.
Our team ranked Google Workspace slightly higher, and you can find more about why in our roundup of the best office suite software. If you are looking for cutting edge productivity tools, Microsoft and Google are both good choices.
For people that don’t need the massive extensibility of Microsoft, Zoho Workplace offers a great price on the fundamental components.
Microsoft Office 365 is definitely Crazy Egg-approved!
It’s one of the most powerful office apps available on almost all platforms and is packed with smooth collaboration features and valuable apps and services that make it the best when it comes to productivity suites. Regardless of whether you use it online or offline, you’ll be surely impressed with the functionality and flexibility on offer.