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Blazer5913

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 20, 2004
386
14
Unfortunately I've been hiding away in "school" for the past few years and have always had MS Office through various education routes. In the past, it had been standalone applications and then in the more recent years, I feel it's been the Office 365 "subscription" that has been included with my .edu email address at the schools. Now I'm realizing that my subscription has ended since I'm out of school and it will only let me view my MS Office documents, but obviously not save them and can't really work on them. So I haven't looked at MS Office in the past few years, but at this point, what's the consensus on the best way to utilize their services? For background, it's me and my wife, each with a laptop and possibly a home desktop - so at least 3 computers, 2 users. Probably couldn't make the single license work, so would need a family one? I have a new MBP coming in so would like the version to be optimized for M1 chips. But what's the consensus? It looks like I can purchase a standalone version of MS Office 2021 (although would likely need at least 2 for 2 people right, and even that's only 2 computers?) or pay $69/year for a single subscription vs $99/year for family subscription? Man, I miss school haha! Thanks.
 

sracer

macrumors G4
Apr 9, 2010
10,316
13,089
where hip is spoken
Unfortunately I've been hiding away in "school" for the past few years and have always had MS Office through various education routes. In the past, it had been standalone applications and then in the more recent years, I feel it's been the Office 365 "subscription" that has been included with my .edu email address at the schools. Now I'm realizing that my subscription has ended since I'm out of school and it will only let me view my MS Office documents, but obviously not save them and can't really work on them. So I haven't looked at MS Office in the past few years, but at this point, what's the consensus on the best way to utilize their services? For background, it's me and my wife, each with a laptop and possibly a home desktop - so at least 3 computers, 2 users. Probably couldn't make the single license work, so would need a family one? I have a new MBP coming in so would like the version to be optimized for M1 chips. But what's the consensus? It looks like I can purchase a standalone version of MS Office 2021 (although would likely need at least 2 for 2 people right, and even that's only 2 computers?) or pay $69/year for a single subscription vs $99/year for family subscription? Man, I miss school haha! Thanks.
You don't make mention of your need for MS Office other than you have files in Office format. If you are like most people, your Office documents have only simple document formatting. In that case, you can use alternatives like ONLYOFFICE, WPS Office, LibreOffice (all free and have high compatibility with MS Office documents that have simple-to-moderate formatting)... Apple Pages/Numbers/Keynote and Google Docs do a decent job in compatibility but not as good as those previous three.

I recommend giving those first three a try and testing them against your documents. You might be pleasantly surprised by how good a job they do.

If those options don't work for you, then the only practical choice for you is Office 365. There's a lot of flexibility with that for multiple devices in a household and 1TB of OneDrive storage for up to 5 people on your account.
 
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Blazer5913

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 20, 2004
386
14
Appreciate the help and thanks for the response! Although I myself would be willing to try something "new" like those apps, my wife is very "by the book" and would explode if anything but a Microsoft product came up for documents/presentations/etc. Good idea for sure though!
 

DNAppleGold

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2009
339
74
If you are just using Excel Word and PowerPoint, the standalone software might be fine. It will likely keep current for many years. However office 365 subscriptions come with some nice features, including storag, always updated software , additional software like firms, the ability to access and use the online versions of the products. It’s painful to pay one more subscription price, but I have found it’s worth it. It’s been a few years since I have done a direct comparison. Maybe go down the list of extra features for office 365 subscription to determine what you would actually use.
 

sracer

macrumors G4
Apr 9, 2010
10,316
13,089
where hip is spoken
Appreciate the help and thanks for the response! Although I myself would be willing to try something "new" like those apps, my wife is very "by the book" and would explode if anything but a Microsoft product came up for documents/presentations/etc. Good idea for sure though!
I completely understand. But I would still suggest ONLYOFFICE and WPS Office. They both closely mimic MS Office in look and feel. They're free so they're worth giving it a try... if your wife explodes, that's what home insurance is for. :p
 
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SpotOnT

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2016
879
1,802
If you have 3 computers, ya a 365 subscription might be the way to go, unfortunately. The standalone licenses can only be installed on 1 computer each and they don't sell a "family" standalone license.

Feature-wise, the only thing you really miss out on with the 2021 license is a lot of cloud based collaboration tools. Although the 365 subscription does come with cloud storage through One Drive. So if you are currently paying for iCloud storage or Dropbox, you could maybe end up using One Drive instead of that.

Another option is to get your wife a 2021 license for their computer, and then get a single user 365 subscription to use on the other two computers. Or maybe get one 2021 license for your wife and use LibreOffice on the other two computers etc.

Recently Microsoft has been having "Black Friday" sales on an annual 365 subscription, so you can keep your eyes out for that too. Microsoft loves the subscription model and keeps doing all they can to push everyone onto that.
 

Blazer5913

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 20, 2004
386
14
Thanks everybody for the suggestions and clearing up a lot of my questions/concerns!

@SpotOnT nice idea on the Black Friday deal for 365 - I signed up for a free one month trial with MS365 and I'll keep an eye out for BF deals before my trial runs out!
 
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