Understanding the difference between Office 2013 and Office 365

 May 25, 2015

You’re looking to upgrade from Office 2010, but instead of just a choice between Home and Professional to make, you now have to choose between Office 365 and Office 2013. So what is the difference?

Fundamentally, the difference is simply licensing. Like previous versions, Office 2013 can be bought outright; you own the software and can use it indefinitely without any further cost. Office 365 on the other hand is more of a rental arrangement, incurring a monthly or annual fee.

The important thing to understand is that the Office suite programs in both cases will be the same. With the exception of Office 365 Online (which is free), all the Office 365 options allow for a full installation of the Office suite, so if you’re working in Excel or Word it makes no difference whether it’s 2013 or 365 – for now, anyway.

So what is the benefit of Office 365? Why rent when you can buy?

Understanding the difference between Office 2013 and Office 365

Well there are two factors, short term Office 365 offers much better value for money, and there are certain options available with Office 365 that are not available with 2013.

For example, Office Home 2013 which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote will cost $139.99, but it can only be installed on a single device and it doesn't come with Outlook, so chances are you’ll need Office Home and Business, which does come with Outlook but at nearly double the price and can still only be installed on a single machine. For a typical family of four people over the age of 6 who want to be able to send emails, you’re looking at an outlay of nearly $880.00. Office 365 Home on the other hand comes with Outlook, Publisher and Access (same as Office Professional 2013) and can be installed on 5 PCs or Macs at only $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. So, unless that typical family are planning on using 2013 for the next nine years, 365 is far better value.

Office 365 also has a strong online focus, each subscription includes 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls per month. Office 365 can also be installed on phones and tablets, and comes with a suite of online web applications. The web apps are scaled down, browser-based versions of the main Office programs but they can be very convenient to use if you are away from your regular PC and just need to send a few emails or update a document.

Office 365 also offers a “Try Before You Buy” option which 2013 does not, and moving forward, while we can expect to see updates released for Office 2013, new features and updates are going to be released for Office 365 more frequently, and many are likely to be exclusives. For people who do not like software changing on them the whole time, this may be an argument against 365 rather than for, and if you are a single user happy to use webmail and with little interest in storing precious data in the cloud, Office 2013 may still be the right option for you. For more information about the various options, both for home and business visit the Microsoft Office website.

Office 365 training – which course?

New Horizons offers a variety of training courses to suite different needs.
  • Requirement: I am upgrading from an older version of Office and would like a general overview of the main Office suite programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.)
    Course recommendation: Office 2013 Transition (available from 2003, 2007 and 2010.)
  • Requirement: I do not really need Word/Excel/PowerPoint training, but we are changing from Lotus Notes/Groupwise/Outlook 2007 to Outlook 365.
    Course recommendation: Outlook 2013 Level 1 & Outlook 2013 Level 2.
  • Requirement: I want to know more about the web apps and online collaboration options in Office 365.
    Course recommendation: Office 365 Web Apps and Online Collaboration

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About the Author:

Nicky Bull  

Nicky started her professional life over 19 years ago in the IT industry. Through the initial years of her career, she worked in the areas of software development & project management for some of the leading organisations in South Africa and U.K. Over the past 6 years, Nicky has been working as a Desktop Applications trainer, delivering courses to both corporate as well as government organisations across the entire Microsoft Office suite. Her approach to training delivery is very pragmatic and she finds immense fulfilment in her ability to assist other people with their growth and development.

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