There is a lot of confusion about the different versions of Microsoft Office. The most common software related question clients ask us is “what is Office 365”.
Signing up for Office 365 software gives you on-line access to the Microsoft Office applications you are familiar with and have learned to love or hate (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and so on) plus some other cloud based applications designed to improve productivity. You pay for your access to the software monthly, monthly or annually, and of course there are different plans available. The subscription model means you will always have the latest updates available without having to buy a new version of Office.
For example: having access to Office applications via your web browser means you can work on your spreadsheet on any computer anywhere, as long as your spreadsheet is stored in the cloud or on a USB drive.
When signing up for Office 365 you can choose a plan to only have on-line access or to include the desktop version of the latest Office applications as well.
Which one should you choose? Online only or online and desktop versions?
The online versions of the applications are very similar to the desktop versions, but not quite as sophisticated. They are great if you work with reasonably simple, straightforward files and don’t need or want any of the advanced features. In software training circles we would describe it as ‘intermediate functionality’.
The desktop version has full functionality and is the same as the desktop version you might currently have. The advantage is that, as a subscriber, you will always have access to the latest version of the desktop version too.
Smart businesses choose ‘a bit of both’ depending on people’s needs: they purchase the 365 online versions only for, let’s say, everyone in the field or in the warehouse and the 365 and the desktop version for everyone in admin and accounting.