Unlike the traditional Office Suite where you pay a one time license fee and get to use it for as long as you need it, Office 365 is a subscription based version of Office 2013 that you can subscribe to on a monthly or yearly basis. Depending on the subscription you choose, Office 365 allows you to install Office applications on up to five different computers (PC or MAC) including tablets and iphones. It also includes access to the online version of Office and free cloud storage on OneDrive.
One of the advantages of buying an Office 365 subscription is it guarantees that you’ll be able to upgrade to the latest version of Office whenever it’s available at no additional cost. You’ll also get access to the full suite of Office 2013 software. You’ll need to set up a Microsoft account where you will be able to manage your account settings and payment information. For home users, there are a number of different packages depending on your family size, needs and budget.
Office Online: It’s completely free to use Office Online at office.com. All you’ll need to do is set up a Microsoft account, login and you’ll immediately get access to the free version of Office 2013. This is a scaled down version of the full blown Office Suite but is a great option if you just need simple word processing and spreadsheet functionality and you don’t mind creating and managing your office documents online. All your documents will automatically be saved on One Drive.
Office 365 Personal: This single subscription costs $6.99/month or $69.99/year and can be installed on one PC or MAC, 1 tablet and 1 phone. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.
Office 365 Home: This subscription costs $9.99/month or $99.99/year and is great for a family or small home office as it can be installed on 5 PCs or Macs plus up to 5 tablets and 5 iphones. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.
The following comparison summary from office365.com summaries the latest subscription offerings from Microsoft:
Office 2013 As a One Time Purchase
It’s still possible to purchase a one time license of Office 2013 that can be installed on just one computer but you’ll need to think carefully about what applications are most important to you and buy a license accordingly. For example, Office Home & Student 2013 for $139.99 installs with only Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. This is a great, affordable option if you don’t need to create databases or do not need to send emails via Outlook. If the full Office Suite functionality is what you need, you would need to purchase the Office Professional 2013 license which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.
View the comparison summary for current 2013 licenses from Microsoft’s website below:
Office 365 University
If you happen to be a student or faculty member, you can purchase a 4 year subscription of Office 365 University for just $79.99 which works out to be less than $1.67 per month. You will need to provide Microsoft proof of your student or faculty standing before your product will ship.