Microsoft Office Online VS. Office 365
Microsoft Office is known the world over – as famous and widely used as anything gets. What a lot of people aren’t aware of, however, is that there is a free, online-only version of Office that is very much similar to Google Docs. Let’s take a look at what Office Online offers compared to the paid service, Office 365.
Office Online offers the usual core functions: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Outlook.com is also an online alternative to paying for Outlook itself. This gives the equivalent of the Office Home & Business 2013 suite, all for free.
If you are Office for its basic functions – writing quick letters, essays, non-complicated lists, etc. – then Office Online might a better way to go than the $7 or $10 a month you would be paying for Office 365. Office Online also allows to easily store and share your files on OneDrive or Dropbox cloud storage, with the option to upgrade to paid plan in order to track or accept changes, or format text into columns.
The free availability of Office Online does come with limitations – there is no Ribbon feature, no shading, borders or multilevel lists. Mailing formats are also left out, and so is the Reference function – which is extremely useful for creating a table of contents, citations and bibliographies, captions, and indexes. The other programs are similarly affected with limitations that don’t allow in-depth editing of your projects. As always, you get what you pay for.
Office Online offers all free services and easy sharing with others, but limited functionality.
If full functionality is a must, then you are probably already using Office 365 or an earlier version. The payment options for Office have changed, as it is now possible to be on a subscription as well as making a one-time purchase. The regular, individual subscription – Office 365 Personal and Home – costs $7 a month; the shared group subscription – Office 365 Home (which allows for sharing in between 5 people) – is only $10 a month, making it ideal for households full of busy parents and students.
Another benefit of having an Office Subscription of any sort is that it provides unlimited OneDrive storage instead of the free 15GB Microsoft provides to all users.
Office 365 can be used by a paying a small monthly fee, offers the full suite of apps and unlimited cloud storage on OneDrive.
Office Online provides, for free, the basic functions of all Office applications – meaning that if you are only a light user of computers in general, don’t waste your money on the full version.
However, if you are a student or using Office for business purposes, then the full subscription to Office 365 is highly recommended, and the unlimited OneDrive storage is a big plus.
(IT Consulting Denver)