In general, it's a tedious job to figure out the differences between any Microsoft product containing the word Office. In addition, end-users also find it difficult to sort out all the Office-branded offerings. 

The main difference is that Office 2016 is the traditional Microsoft Office product, sold for a one-time and you need to pay only once to buy MS Office 2016 version. You can install it on a single PC or Mac and use it for as long as you like because it has no expiration date.

Office 365, on the other hand, is the new way to buy Microsoft Office. If compared to Office 2016, it’s the up-front price is low. And you need to pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to the latest version of Office for as long as you pay the fee. With it, you also get additional OneDrive cloud storage and access to the Office apps for tablets. There is a subscription plan available to choose and allows you to install Office on up to five different computers.

Recently updated versions of, Office 2016 vs. Office 365; are new versions of the Office productivity suite that are a mirror image of each other for basic features. Office 2016 is more expensive than Office 365, and you can only use a license on one device.

On the other hand, Office 365 Small Business Premium version charges annually to each user for five licenses. Also, each user can install Microsoft office 365 on five PCs but is limited to only one user. Plus, it can not be shared. 

Core Applications:

If you only need the core applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) you can get the Office 2016 Home & Student version.

Office 365 Small Business Premium version also includes a Microsoft Back Office environment equipped with features like Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync.

The prominent feature of Office 365 is that you get more than just Office 2016 with potential benefits that Office 2016 lacks and it is worth it to opt for Office 365.  Additionally, you get 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes per month for international calls on skype. 

Office 365 comes with the Office On Demand feature that enables you to stream virtualized versions of the full desktop software on any PC with Windows. You can easily access the stored files on Skydrive for other platforms or mobile devices, through web-based versions of Office applications; seamlessly from virtually any web-connected device. 

Furthermore, in case of theft, stolen or a destroyed laptop, you are still able to edit the presentation even if you don’t have your PC with you.

Which Version Is Right for Me?

Office 2016 is a traditional product of Microsoft Office and a subset of Office 365. But specifically, office 2016 can be installed only on one computer with a traditional license. Office 365 typically allows installation on up to 5 computers at the same time, with the exception that it does not have a "traditional" install. Instead, it sets up a "virtual computer" for Office to run in and one need not worry about applying updates. Microsoft always comes up with the latest version of Microsoft with productivity applications Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

For people with multiple devices…

Subscribing to Office 365 Home Premium will suit you if you have a PC or desktop. But with a laptop and tablet, Office 2016 is the best bet by far. Synchronization of data and accessibility of files is easy and convenient if you are using Microsoft Account and SkyDrive. In previous versions of Microsoft Office, you can get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more as a locally installed suite of applications or a cloud-based subscription with a subscription to Office 365.

The Evolution of Office 365

Office 365 brings out confusion for so many students and colleagues. As people falsely assume that the new version of Office 365 comes with the popular productivity application suite called Microsoft Office, but office 365 is very different.

Productivity software includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote and is installed on your desktop or laptop computer.

Online MS Office 365 offers a subscription service online which allows users to send an email, shared calendars, edit and create documents online, instant messaging, web conferencing, a public website for your business, and internal team sites, from anywhere anytime at the click of a single button. 

The Notable Differences Between Office 2016 and Office 365

The short answer is that Office 365 comes with a subscription services plan so it allows you to pay a monthly rental to use their services rather than buying a license for it. The products and features included vary depending on which Office 365 package you are going to subscribe to.

The subscription aspect is nothing new, as Office 365 has always been a subscription service, but the only difference is that it comes with different packages. Microsoft now offers an Office 365 Home Premium subscription. So it does NOT come with email, shared calendars, instant messaging, web conferencing, or a public website or internal team sites.

Premium package for Office 365 offers:

  • Access
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Word
  • 20GB SkyDrive storage
  • Skype calls per month for 60 minutes

Users can install it on up to five devices by paying $99.99 a year.

Office 365 Home Premium has common features of a subscription service with an established Office 365.

On canceling the subscription, the office convert to a pseudo “Read-Only” version that only allows users to read and print any file. This transition disables you to amend any changes, and save or create new documents through your desktop apps. However free SkyDrive version still allows you to edit features (but only those features that are available with the free Office Web Apps-and that's another blog for another time).

Premium package for MS Office 2016 

There are two stand-alone versions available for businesses:

Office Home & Business 2016: Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook) for 1 PC (or Mac – Mac users must purchase Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac)

Office Professional 2016: Includes everything in Home & Business 2016 plus (Publisher and Access for 1 PC -not compatible with Mac)- paid

The stand-alone versions to include the ability to save your files to the cloud, which makes collaboration easier – especially among teams not working in the same physical location.

Microsoft has given Office 365 a clear distinction over Microsoft Office 2016, as Office 2016 describes only desktop applications. On the other hand, Office 365 is a cloud-based platform that pairs Office applications with cloud data storage. Previous versions of Office 365 software had limited features and restricted capabilities compared to the full desktop versions. As there is no internet connection nor Office.

If you are interested in finding the best price to buy Microsoft Office 2016, search online and read reviews. Plus it depends on utility.