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Microsoft Office 2021 vs. Office 365 – Which One Should You Use?

Office 2021 vs office 365: Which One Should You Use?

‘Microsoft Office’ is a very popular term for those of you who have been using the Windows operating system for a very long time. Even before the time of Windows XP, yeah you heard it right, this goes way back into the past to the time when the Windows operating system was released. From that time till now, Microsoft Office kept on updating to launch the new version, the Microsoft Office 2021! That’s not all, Microsoft updated its office system to a new cloud service, known as Microsoft Office 365.

Both of these services are top-notch and have very convenient features. So, what makes them different? Why did Microsoft launch two different Office services? Curious? Let’s keep on reading as we’ll give you a detailed explanation of Microsoft Office 2021 vs Office 365.

Before getting to the main part, let’s get to know more about what Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 are and exactly why they’re so popular.

What is Microsoft 365 and What Do You Need to Know About It?

Microsoft 365, previously known as Office 365 is the subscription service version of Microsoft Office. That is, if you need up-to-date productivity tools with real-time workability, then Microsoft Office 365 is the right software service for you. You can use this plan for home and personal use; it’s also appropriate if you’re running a small to mid-sized business, large enterprise, school, or non-profit.

Microsoft Office 365 includes plans for both home and business so that you can use them both personally or professionally. It contains almost all the softwares like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and so on. Moreover, you’ll get additional features such as some extra storage in the cloud-connected features. You can easily collaborate with your colleagues or teammates in real-time using the Microsoft 365 cloud service, popularly known as OneDrive. With one subscription, you’ll have all the updates right after they’re released!

So, let’s take a look at the different plans of Microsoft 365 and where you can use them.

Plan Name


Microsoft 365 Personal

For Single use; includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, and so on; Single license for one account only.

Microsoft 365 Family

Same as Microsoft 365 Personal, but designated for multiple accounts; it Contains apps Such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other Office apps.

Microsoft 365 Business

Designed for companies of Small to medium caliber; Contains cloud service and team management software like Teams and other business services like business email. Has 3 sub-plans in it, namely – Basic, Standard, Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

  Designed for small-time businesses and startups

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Along with all the cloud services in the Basic plan, there is the facility of different desktop software such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and so on.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

This plan is similar to the Microsoft 365 Enterprise; very widely used with more security, and more diverse facilities to handle the load of a large enterprise company.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Same as the Microsoft 365 Business but is built for large companies; contains more advanced employee management services and stronger security measures.

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

This one is specially designed to give desktop software backup for businesses and start-ups.

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

In this package, there are loads of advanced software and cloud backups with high-end security systems.

Microsoft Office 365 Professional Plus

With Office 365 , you can install Office on all your devices and sign in to Office on 5 devices at the same time. This includes any combination of PCs, Macs, Tablets, and Android phones.

Office 2021: Everything You Need to Know

Unlike Microsoft 365, Microsoft Office is the generic successor of the popular Microsoft Office software. You can buy it with a one-time purchase, and that’s it! you’ll pay once and use that version of the Office for a lifetime! However, once you pay for it, you’re stuck with the software version and there’s no upgrade option unless you decide to purchase the latest version out there.

So, if you think you’re okay with whatever you got and don’t want to take any more trouble of paying again and again, then Microsoft Office 2021 is just the software for you. With this, you are getting all the specialized productivity softwares such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, etc. with one purchase.

Like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Office 2021 comes in various types and versions targeting various groups of people! Let’s take a look at them –

Plan Name


Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus

Built for multiple Windows desktop use; includes all kinds of apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Publisher, Outlook, and Access.

Office Home & Business 2021

Built for a single PC; Windows or Mac; includes apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher.

Office Home & Student 2021

Built for a single PC; Windows or Mac; includes apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote.

Microsoft Office 2021 vs Office 365: Can the Choice Get Any Worse?

Yes, we know you get it too. The choice between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 is very difficult! They have almost the same facilities and the same software advantages. So, how should you choose? Let’s see who wins this battle of Office 365 vs Office 2021!

First of all, whether you should choose Microsoft 365 or Office 2021, all depends on whether you’re going to use it on an individual basis or commercially. Let’s see what makes Microsoft Office 2021 vs 365 different from each other!


You get access to all the applications offered by Microsoft if you purchase a subscription to Microsoft 365. On the other hand, Microsoft Office 2021 only offers you core app support.


In Microsoft 365, you can easily upgrade the features you’re getting with the productivity softwares. Unfortunately, Office 2021 does not offer you any upgrade once you purchase it.

Subscription Method

You need to purchase a subscription to Microsoft 365 regularly (monthly or yearly basis) to keep on using the facilities. Office 2021 gets ahead of the race with this one. This one-time purchase software is yours forever once you pay for it.

Device Access

You can use Microsoft 365 on any device as long as you have a premium subscription to Microsoft 365. But the situation is the opposite in the case of Office 2021. You can use any number of accounts in one license copy of Office 2021. However, your use is limited to just one device.

OS Support

Both of these software will give you support in any type of Operating system.

Security Updates

The security in Microsoft 365 is mainly cloud-based. So, you don’t get many options for securing your data other than the generic one. On the other hand, you get regular security updates in Office 2021.


 You can use Microsoft 365 in any Windows or Mac version. However, you can’t use Office 2021 in older versions of Windows which makes it really limited to diverse use.

Summary – Difference Between Office 365 and Office 2021

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Access to all apps

Access to core apps only

Keeps on upgrading the features

No upgrade to the purchased version

Constant customer support from Microsoft

Little to No Customer Support

Purchase needs to be renewed regularly

One time Purchase

Auto Save Feature

Manual Saving

Supports any type of Operating System

Older Windows versions are not supported

Changes constantly

Little to no change in features

Cheaper installment, more expensive in the long run

More expensive initially but never needs to be paid again

We know the choice between Office 2021 vs Office 365 is difficult but both come at their own merits and demerits. We helped you make the difference, now it’s your turn to choose! So, which one’s your new favorite? The old classic Microsoft Office 2021, or the new and the more modern version – Microsoft 365!

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