And the goodies keep coming. The original, browser-based Office Online has steadily gained features. At the same time, Microsoft has added a number of perks and incentives that make the subscription-based Office a very attractive upgrade.
The challenge is no longer access, but choosing the right version for you. Here's how to decide which to use. You can also use Outlook. With both the Office Online apps and the Office apps for mobile devices, though, the versions that Microsoft provides for free have limited functionality compared with the paid equivalents.
Derek Walter Office for Android shipped in January, joining Office for iPad as a free, native application for mobile users. For example, if you compare the Home ribbon in Word Online with the Home ribbon in Word , the two are almost identical.
You can copy, cut, and paste, change the font characteristics, and so on. A few features you might miss: Word Online has the basic paragraph formatting options, including bulleted or numbered lists, and the ability to align text left, right, or center. References and Mailings.
Mailing allows you to print envelopes and labels, and manage mail merge printing of Word documents. References contains features you need for more advanced documents—things like table of contents, citations and bibliography, captions, index, and table of authorities.
Footnotes is also part of the References ribbon in Word , but it's available in Word Online under the Insert ribbon. With the mobile apps, users can view, create, and edit Office documents for free, and sync those files with Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox cloud storage.
However, only paying customers are able to do things like change track or accept changes, or format text into columns. Getting access to the more advanced functionality requires investing in the Microsoft Office suite, and the best way to get Microsoft Office is with an Office subscription. Microsoft Office subscribers get full-featured applications and advanced features, like the Delve content management tool.
By contrast, Office is a Web-based platform that pairs the Office applications with cloud storage. With the new versions of the productivity suite , though, Office vs. Office is a smoke-and-mirrors debate.
Office is more expensive than Office , and the license is only good for one machine. Office comes in two flavors: Both come with the full Office Pro software for your PC, but there are key differences. Up to five people can use Office Home Premium on up to five devices, with each user getting an Office experience customized to their own Microsoft ID. Office Small Business Premium also comes with five licenses, but billed per user per year.
Office includes five licenses for Office Pro. Once you throw in a second PC, though, or if you need the additional tools like Outlook, Access, or Publisher, the math is heavily skewed in favor of the Office subscription. The beauty of Office is that you get more than just Office for your money—it also comes with benefits that Office lacks.
It comes with an additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes per month of international Skype calls. Office also has a new feature called Office On Demand that enables you to stream virtualized versions of the full desktop software to any Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC.
Outlook Search through Windows Shell  Features removed from Microsoft PowerPoint Support for Visio Drawing Distribution changes[ edit ] Unlike past versions of Office, retail copies of Office on DVD are only offered in select regions, such as those Microsoft classifies as emerging markets , as well as Australia , at the discretion of retailers. In all other regions, retail copies of Office and Office subscriptions only contain a product key , and direct users to the Office website to redeem their license and download the software. In previous versions of Office, this restriction applied only to OEM editions; retail Office license agreements allowed uninstalling from one computer to install on another computer. Should the buyer have wished to use Office on a different computer, or if they later became unable to use the computing device that the original license was downloaded to e. Transfer of license from one computer to another owned by the same user is now allowed every 90 days, except in the case of hardware failure, in which the license may be moved sooner. The first user of the product is now also allowed to transfer it to another user. In previous versions of Office, this restriction also applied only to OEM editions; retail Office license agreements allowed installing the product on two or three computers, depending on the edition. Five traditional editions of Office were released: This suite, only available through volume licensing channels, includes the core applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote plus Outlook and Publisher.