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We’ve been with Office 2013 for a long time now, and the news that Office 2016 is coming has been a surprise to many. This comes out after Microsoft released Office 365 as their new cloud platform for Office.

Of course, back then there was no difference between Office 365 and Office 2013; they were the same software that were accessible in different ways. But the release of Office 2016 raises two new questions.

First, is it worth upgrading to Office 2016?

Second, is getting Office 365 now a viable option?

Getting the right answers to these questions means that you could save money on buying software for your entire company and improving productivity.

So What’s New In Office 2016?

The appearance of Office 2016 looks a bit similar, but there are noticeable changes in the design and layout, as well as being able to see more details about the files you have saved/worked on without having to click on them.

The main changes, as you can expect, are in the suite programs, and their new improvements.

For Word, the idea of multiple people working on a document is nothing new. As long as a person had a link to the document from OneDrive, they were able to edit it. But only one person could edit at a time.

Now, 2016 allows users to work on the document at the same time with live co-authoring (something that you might have seen before in Google Documents). It also prevents other users from editing the paragraph you are currently working on, even letting you lock a paragraph so that other people know that you are the only one allowed to edit the document.

Outlook now allows you to see the files that you have recently worked on to use as an attachment. This is useful for situations where you have just worked on a document and do not want to search through a sea of documents for the one you need.

Excel has improved the most out of all the programs. It has a new forecasting option that allows you to create predictions on a graph based on a confidence level, or even adding multiple forecasts to a single graph to see different possibilities.

Even though Excel’s business intelligence features are nothing new, they are now easier to understand and have better integration with the rest of Excel. You also have basic business intelligence functions on Home versions of Excel (you will still need a Professional or Premium Excel for the rest of the functions), which is great for the basics.

It is also easier to add data since Power Query has become the standard query tool in 2016. PowerPivot is also now easier to work with, becoming the standard way for working with a Pivot Table instead of being a separate function before.

Excel also does a lot more work during data analysis, being more intelligent and making suggestions on what you might want to do next.

PowerPoint also comes with more design features which allows you to further customise themes and better editing tools to make a personal or corporate slide deck more like what you want for your company.

Most of the programs apart from OneNote and Publisher now have a Tell Me feature. Tell Me opens a box where you type what you want to do, and a list of tools that match the actions will appear in a list. It’s helpful for exploring the full power of each program, as you might not be fully aware of what it can do at any given time.

There will be new upgrades for Office coming out in the future, so there is always more to look forward to.

So Does That Mean I Should Switch Today?

Not necessarily.

In some cases, Office 2016 is not out yet (such as Office for Business). This means business suite owners would have to wait until next year for 2016 to be loaded onto their devices.

It is possible to buy Office 2016 as a software package by itself, but this is recommended for home users (and in some cases individual employees) because the expense would be very great to buy the software for everyone in your company.

Also, if you are using Office 365, your subscription to the service means you will automatically get Office 2016 as a new update.

If you want to be up-to-date with the latest features of Office, there’s no reason not to switch.

But the upgrades and changes are not so significant to Office 2016 that if you don’t switch right away, you are missing out on a lot of things.

Office 2016 just comes with more tools and apps, as well as Microsoft’s foray into real-time collaboration. Office 2013 still has the same tools as Office 2016, and is still good enough for your work.

What About Office 365?

While Office 2016 has its differences from Office 2013, none of them are so large that you need to jump ship now.

However, users might want to think about Office 365, now that it has updated to Office 2016 and there is a noticeable difference between it and Office 2013.

Microsoft released Office 365 as a subscription to Microsoft Office, saying they wanted to move away from selling individual software packages and to a subscription model.

By the time Office 365 was released, people already had Office 2013 and didn’t see much of a difference to getting Office 365 or switching payment models.

But now Microsoft is focusing their attention to Office 2016, and it is now apparent that Office 365 will now contain all the upgrades and improvements without having to constantly buy individual software packages.

To buy an individual package for Office 2016, it will depend on the version you are purchasing.

For Office Home & Student, you will spend $179 AUD/user.

For Office Home & Business, you will spend $299 AUD/user.

For Office Professional, you will spend $599 AUD/user.

You do get unlimited usage and don’t have to pay for the software after you buy it, but it is limited to one PC and you don’t get to use it on a tablet or a phone.

Now let’s look at buying Office 365.

You can buy Office 365 as a monthly or a yearly subscription. You save some money if you take the yearly subscription, but if you don’t need to have Office 365 for a full year, a monthly subscription is your better investment.

To subscribe to Office 365 Personal, it is $9 AUD/month or $89 AUD/year.

To subscribe to Office 365 Home, it is $12 AUD/month or $119 AUD/year.

Office 365 lets you access your account from a PC and a tablet/phone. The biggest difference between the Personal and Home editions is that subscribing to Home means you can have up to 5 users on a single account. This also means 5 PCs and 5 tablets/phones can all have Office 365 on the same account.

So immediately, cost savings become clear if you have multiple users, as getting Office 365 Home for even 2 users provides an immediate cost saving than if you bought two users their own package.

But what if you insisted on getting everyone their own account?

That would mean $89 AUD/year per user, and if you compared that to buying everyone an Office Home & Student package, you would be spending $178 over 2 years with Office 365 Personal and $179 Office Home & Student outright.

Of course, this is just looking at Office Home & Student from a price perspective. Office 365 Personal comes with access to Outlook, Publisher and Access which Home & Student lacks.

Looking at things from a price perspective, if you have many employees, using Office 365 Home editions will be enough to get your employees on Office 2016 and save money.

If you only have one employee who really needs it, or if everyone needs their own account, it is still cheaper to get them Office 365 Personal than buy everyone their own individual software package.

Is There Any Reason I Would Buy Office 2016 Individually?

If you are not someone who likes subscription revenue models, you can still buy the package outright.

In areas where bank accounts or credit cards are not readily available, or if your financial situation means you can’t afford subscription payments, purchasing the individual packages is the right move.

But in the long run, it appears that switching to Office 365 might be the cheaper option.

So While You Don’t Need To Switch To Office 2016 Right Now, Consider Switching To Office 365

Office 2016 brings many new features to the Office suite, but nothing so major that you would need to upgrade immediately.

But with the benefits of Office 365 made apparent, it may now be a wiser decision to switch to the subscription model to save money than to continue buying everyone individual packages.

At MSP Blueshift, we know how to set up your offices with Microsoft Office and ensure that any transitions and upgrades made are as seamless as possible.

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