Office Suite Showdown: Office 2021 vs. Microsoft 365 (2024 Updated)

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Office 2021 vs. Microsoft 365

Billions of people across the world use Microsoft products to work and learn, whether they do so from home, an office, a classroom, or a mix of the three.

This productivity suite is used by individuals working in 106 languages in virtually every country on the planet, and it is accessible in personal, small business, corporate, and educational editions.

Office 2021 is offered as a one-time purchase, so you just need to pay a one-time fee in advance to obtain Microsoft products for a single machine. Both PCs and Macs support past purchases.

However, there are no upgrade options like Microsoft 365, so if you want to move up to the next major version, you’ll have to pay full price for it.

There are other ways to obtain Microsoft products or, more precisely, the license to use them.

There is a “perpetual” edition of Microsoft Office 19 that may be purchased once; the most recent version is Office 2021.

Office 2021 and Office LTSC 2021 will only get security upgrades until October 13, 2026.

That’s just five years of support, down from seven in Microsoft Office 2019 and ten in previous iterations.

Support for Microsoft 365 subscriptions, on the other hand, never expires – as long as you keep paying. Then there’s the cloud-based subscription version, for which you pay a monthly or annual charge.

When this version was first released in 2011, Microsoft referred to it as Office 365. It was later renamed Microsoft 365 for personal and small business subscribers. Both Office 365 and Microsoft 365 programs are offered at the enterprise level.

Unless we’re referring to a specific plan, we’ll use “Microsoft 365” as shorthand for all “365” subscriptions in this story.

Microsoft 365

Perpetual License – A lifelong license for Office 2021

Whether you purchase a single copy of Office 2021 at a retail store or download hundreds of them through bulk licensing, Microsoft refers to this as a “one-time purchase” since you only pay once for a Microsoft product, rather than monthly.

Office as a Service offered by Microsoft 365

If you’re unfamiliar with the Office software suite, two offerings, Office 2021 and Office from Microsoft 365, might make your selection more difficult.

Although each of these Microsoft products provides access to the same range of applications, the distinction is in the list of perks and pricing.

Microsoft 365, the preferred buying option, is a subscription service in which you pay to use Microsoft 365 on a monthly basis or an annual fee.

There is a discount for choosing an annual payment plan over a monthly payment plan. (A yearly commitment is required for all enterprise programs, from E1 to E5.)

For those who prefer a subscription based access to Microsoft Office, the list of apps and services offered is always increasing in number.

Microsoft 365 as a SaaS offering keeps getting better.

As with any subscription, Microsoft 365 offers a service – in this case, the ability to use the programs in the suite and access related services – just as long as payments are made.

When you stop paying, your rights to use the applications expire. This happens gradually, allowing you time to download your data or adjust your payment plan, whichever you want.

Microsoft 365 Subscription vs. Office 2021: Which is Right for Your Team?

Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 are two different offerings from Microsoft that provide productivity applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for personal and business use. Here are some key differences between Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 based on the provided web search results:

Feature Microsoft 365 Office 2021
Cost Pay a lesser monthly charge or save money by paying upfront for an entire year. One-time payment, to be made in advance for an entire lifecycle.
Applications Install the most recent versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for Windows or Mac. You’ll always get access to the most recent features, tools, security upgrades, and bug patches. Get Office applications such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
Feature Updates Your applications will continue to improve. You’ll get all of the most recent features and upgrades, as well as security and bug fixes. Security updates are offered, but no new features are available. Major release upgrades are not included.
Install Office on multiple computers (Mac or PC) You can install Microsoft 365 Family or Personal on all of your devices and sign in to five at once, allowing you to utilize Office programs no matter where you are or what device you’re using. PCs, Macs, iPads, and phones are all included. You may now share your membership with up to five additional individuals when you use Microsoft 365 Family. Once-purchased applications can be installed on either a PC or a Mac.
Tablets and phones with advanced features Install the free mobile applications and gain additional capabilities when you sign in to Office apps on your device. Install the free mobile applications to gain basic editing tools on tablets or phones smaller than 10.1 inches.
Additional online storage Store your files securely in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Get 1 TB of OneDrive online storage and 1 TB of Microsoft 365 Family storage for up to 6 people, including yourself. There is no cloud storage and other features available with Office 2021.
Technical assistance Contact at any time during your subscription for assistance with technical issues, as well as subscription and billing support. The first technical support is solely for installation.

1# Cost

Microsoft 365 – Offers a subscription-based model where you pay a monthly or annual fee to access the latest versions of Office apps on up to five devices. Pay a lesser monthly charge or save money by paying upfront for an entire year.

Office 2021 – One-time purchase, which means you pay a single upfront cost to get Office apps for one computer

2# Applications

Microsoft 365 collaboration tools

Microsoft 365 – Install the most recent versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for Windows or Mac.

You’ll always get access to the most recent features, tools, security upgrades, and bug patches.

Office 2021- Get Office applications such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

3# Feature updates

Microsoft 365 – Your applications will continue to improve and updates. You’ll get all of the most recent features and upgrades, as well as security and bug fixes.

Office 2021 – Security updates are offered, but no new features are available. Major release upgrades are not included.

4# Install Office on multiple computers (Mac or PC).

Microsoft 365 – You can install Microsoft 365 Family or Personal on all of your devices and sign in to five at once, allowing you to utilize Office programs no matter where you are or what device you’re using. PCs, Macs, iPads, and phones are all included. 

You may now share your membership with up to five additional individuals when you use Microsoft 365 Family.

Office 2021 – Office 2021 is typically installed on one computer and is licensed for use by one user. Once-purchased applications can be installed on either a PC or a Mac.

5# Tablets and phones with advanced features

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Microsoft 365 – Install the free mobile applications and gain additional capabilities when you sign in to Office apps on your device.

Office 2021 – Install the free mobile applications to gain basic editing tools on tablets or phones smaller than 10.1 inches.

6# Additional online storage

Microsoft 365 – Store your files securely in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Get 1 TB of OneDrive online storage and 1 TB of Microsoft 365 Family storage for up to 6 people, including yourself.

Office 2021 – There is no cloud storage and other features available with Microsoft 365.

7# Technical assistance is provided.

Microsoft 365 – Contact at any time during your subscription for assistance with technical issues, as well as subscription and billing support.

Office 2021 – The first technical support is solely for installation.

Conclusion 

Office 2021 is intended for clients with volume licenses who are not yet ready for cloud applications like Microsoft 365 and have unique needs to utilize the apps on-premise.

Anyone who is not ready for a subscription-based service, on the other hand, can purchase Office 2021.

Finally, the selection comes down to the programs and services required to complete the task.

If you want to use Office for many years, Microsoft 365 is by far the best alternative for your team.

If you want your business to develop and your staff to collaborate seamlessly, Microsoft 365 is the best option, and you can quickly set it up with the help of Exabytes.

View Microsoft 365 Business Plans

Related articles:

Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365 Comparison

Microsoft 365 – Stay Safe from Cyberattacks

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