If you need an upgrade of your Microsoft Office suite and you’re wondering which version to choose, Office 2019 or Office 365, (now Microsoft 365), here’s a rundown of the features of each.

Which version of Office?

Deciding between Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 really comes down to understanding the main differences of each product and what you want to use it for, or may want to use it for in the future.

First things first…

Check your Windows version

If you know you need an upgrade of your Office suite of applications, it’s important to also bear in mind that if you are still running Windows 7, Microsoft won’t offer any security updates for Office apps after January 2023. This means you need to also think about upgrading your Windows operating system to Windows 10, keep whichever Office version you decide on, up-to-date and secure.

Quick comparison of Office 2019 and Microsoft 365

The main difference between Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 is the range of applications and enhancement upgrades you get with Microsoft 365, (formerly Office 365) that you don’t get with Office 2019. And the cost. Office 2019 is a one-off cost, whereas Microsoft 365 is a monthly subscription cost.

Office 2019 features

If you’re not fully committed to the cloud, and only use, and want to use, the essential apps you already know, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook then you will probably be fine with Office 2019. It’s sold as a traditional, standalone, one-time purchase that you run on one computer. You can install the relevant apps on your other devices but with some reduced functionality.

You’ll need to pay upfront, and pay again for any later, new version you want to buy. But that means you don’t have any ongoing monthly payment.

You’ll also get security updates, and Windows 10 and macOS support. But any aspects of Office 2019 that link to Microsoft 365 will only be supported to October 2023, although this date is subject to change.

Microsoft 365 features

If you want all the flexibility of cloud-based working along with enhanced, AI features as they become available, then you need Microsoft 365. With access to the entire range of Office apps, and special features, such as, MS Editor, PowerPoint Presenter and other creative tools, you can use one subscription/account to service up to six people on their respective computers.

Complete continuity of updates and upgrades is all in with the monthly, or yearly, subscription of Microsoft 365, and you’ll never need to manually upgrade again. You’ll get customer support and Windows 10, 8, 7, and macOS support.

With Microsoft 365 you will never have to worry about being cut off from support in Microsoft’s drive to get everyone on the cloud with subscription services. But it does mean you may be paying for some features that you’ll never get around to using.

Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 at a glance

Office 2019: 
Core apps only 
No upgrades 
Security updates 
No customer support 
Windows 10 and macOS support  
Features linked to MS 365 currently only supported until October 2023 
One-person use 
Apps on devices but with limited features 
One-off payment

Microsoft 365: 
All apps and enhanced features 
Free upgrades 
Security updates 
Customer support 
Windows 10, 8, 7, and macOS support 
No time limit on support 
Six-person use 
Apps on all devices 
Monthly subscription and payment

In summary

If you want the basic suite of Office apps you are used to using and only want to pay once then Office 2019 is your best bet. Microsoft won’t withdraw support until 2023 so you’ll be good for a few years.

However, Microsoft 365 is tempting if you are interested in progressing to cloud and exploring the innovations that advanced apps, features, and the support to go with it, could bring to your business. At the risk of not using every aspect of 365 it would still be worth it for the potential to transform your working processes along with the peace of mind of never having to upgrade again.

Weighing up the ongoing cost, for the ongoing innovation in tech you would be able to use for your business is really the crux of the choice, and if this gives you any peace of mind at all then you’ll need to embrace the monthly subscription and the potential of Microsoft 365 that comes with it.