You’ve been on earth long enough to know that Microsoft Office is the quintessential tool for any computer. Sure, you can squeak by with Google Docs or maybe iWork, but at some point, you’ll need to return back to good ol’ MS Office. Office 365 Home Premium is not quite the latest office but rather your ticket to all the latest Office applications at any point in time. Office 365 is a fusion of online and offline tools. Essentially, it’s a monthly or yearly subscription that includes a full version of the latest Office Suite, in entirety, as well as Office WebApps, a 20GB SkyDrive membership, and some other nice perks.
Once I graduated I had an enlightening realization: Man, MS Office is expensive, and it only becomes more true if you’re interested in Outlook, Publisher, or Access. Office 2013 Home and Student costs $139.99, Office Professional (which includes Outlook, Publisher, and Access) costs a whopping $399.99. And those prices are just for one user and one computer! Office 365 is $10/month or $100/year and allows you to install it on 5 computers. Plus, it gives you access to all latest version of Office, Mac or Windows, and in a plethora of languages. Office 2013 is the latest version for Windows, but Mac’s version is Office 2011. With Office 365, you could upgrade your Mac’s office from 2011 to, say Office 2014, if and whenever it comes out.
Office 365 Includes:
Setting up Office 365 was a piece of cake. The account dashboard is simple and lets you keep track of the five computers that have office installed. You can activate and deactivate new computers (or tablets) at any time. From the account dashboard you can access your Skydrive, the Office web apps, or your 60 free Skype minutes per month. The Skype minutes are only a bit limited, you can use them to call landlines in almost any country, and mobile phones in select countries.
The online Office Web Apps are accessible from just about any computer or tablet. It works perfectly on a Mac, and surprisingly it worked perfectly on an iPad. It’s even optimized for touch (crazy!). There are web apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. With SkyDrive all of your files area accessible by the web apps, however you’ll notice the web apps are a bit watered down in terms of features. They offer similar functionality to Google Docs, but with the Office feel (and ribbon), and also a few extra features. In the Excel Web App, for example, you can create various charts and use the same advanced formulas, but you can’t create pivot tables. If you were to open an Excel document that already had a pivot table, it would still work and would even be editable. The office Web Apps are great, and we can only imagine them getting even better with more features.
If you’re in the market for the Microsoft Office or in need of an upgrade, then Office 365 seems like a no-brainer to us…Especially if you need it on more than one computer. Let’s recap one last time: 5 installs of the latest version of Office for Mac and PC (including the premium Publisher, Access, and Outlook applications), a 20GB SkyDrive account, unlimited use of Office Web Apps from any computer, and 60 Skype minutes per month. Really, the only drawback is that you technically don’t own Office, but if you plan on keeping up with the subscription, it should make no difference. Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium is currently available for $10/month or $100/year. Microsoft also offers a similar Office 365 plan for small business.