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Office 365 Home vs Personal: Which One is Right for You?

Office 365 Home vs Personal: Which One is Right for You?

When Microsoft debuted Office 365 back in 2011, the online subscription service was exclusively geared towards corporate users. Microsoft’s idea behind the launch of Office 365 back then was to provide its business-focused users with an overhauled successor to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. In 2013, to coincide with the release of Microsoft Office 2013, Microsoft introduced major changes to the Office 365 platform. For the first time, Office 365 included different plans, following the on-premises Office model. Office 365 offered six plans to choose from Enterprise, Small Business Premium, Pro Plus, University, Home, and Personal.

Over the years, Microsoft has relabeled most of the Office 365 plans and created multiple plans under the Home, Business, and Enterprise banners. While both the Business and Enterprise categories now each include four plans, ranging from low tier to high tier, the Home category only includes two plans: Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal.

Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal are dedicated to general consumers looking for an affordable way to use the Microsoft Office suite of applications. Both plans are classified as entry-level Office 365 products and include the Office productivity suite as well as some of Microsoft’s online services. There are, however, subtle differences between Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal that might make you choose one over the other.

What is the difference between Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal? What is included in Office 365 Personal? So, what plan should you use? This blog post provides you with answers to those questions by comparing and explaining the features and services available in both Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal.

Note that following Microsoft’s rebrand in 2020, Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal have been renamed to Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal respectively. 

What is Office 365 Home?

Office 365 Home is a subscription-based plan that includes the Office suite of productivity tools and Microsoft’s online collaboration services. This plan comes with the premium versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The premium applications offer you smart assistance features such as advanced writing suggestions. Premium also gives you the ability to work on your documents in offline mode from any device.

As for online services, with an Office 365 Home subscription, you get access to Microsoft Teams, Skype, Microsoft Editor, and OneDrive. Along with the on-premises version of Office applications, you can also use Office 365 Web Apps and the Office mobile suite.

With an Office 365 Home subscription, up to six users can simultaneously use Office applications and online services. Each user can install the applications offered in the plan on five different devices. This includes PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. With the included 6TB of OneDrive cloud storage, each user benefits from 1TB of personal storage space.

Here are some standout features available in Office 365 Home:

Microsoft Editor

Editor is a writing assistant tool that integrates seamlessly with Office 365 applications such as Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. This writing and editing service includes features such as grammar checking, spell-checking, refinement suggestions, and formatting options.

Outlook.com Premium

With Outlook Premium, you get 50GB of mailbox storage, advanced email security features such as anti-phishing and anti-malware. Plus, encryption of sensitive information in emails, and an ad-free interface. In Outlook Premium, you can create a personalized email address such as [email protected]

OneDrive advanced security features

OneDrive in Office 365 Home includes a ransomware detection feature, multi-factor authentication, and a basic backup solution based on versioning. If your OneDrive files have been modified due to a cyber-attack, you can revert to previous file versions dating back 30 days.

Microsoft Family Safety

Microsoft Family safety is a security and monitoring application that offers parental control features. This includes content filtering, weekly activity reports across all devices, location tracking, and setting screen time limits.

The following chart sums up the key features of Office 365 Home:

Office 365 Home

Price $99.99/year or $9.99/month
Number of users/Device per user Up to 6 users, up to five PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices per user
Office Applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher (PC Only), and Access (PC Only)
Web Applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
Online Storage 6 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, 1 TB per user
Online services and features Microsoft Teams, Skype, Microsoft Editor, and Microsoft Family Safety
Security Anti-phishing and anti-malware in Outlook Premium, ransomware detection and multi-factor authentication in OneDrive
Updates Automatically updating to the latest version of Office apps and introducing new features and options, security updates

How to share your Office 365 Home subscription with other users?

To add up to five other users to your Office 365 Home subscription, as the main user you should send authorization invites. Once the users receive the invite, they can use their own personal Microsoft credentials to log in to the Office 365 Home subscription.

Here is how to share your Office 365 Home subscription with other users:

  1. Sign in with the Microsoft account you used when you subscribed to Office 365 Home.
  2. In the Office 365 Home Dashboard, under the Sharing tab, click Start Sharing.
  3. In the Share your subscription section, you can send an invite to a user via email or link.
  4. Invite via email: Send an invitation to the mailbox of the user(s) you want to share your Office 365 Home subscription with. In the Invite, someone else to share your subscription panel that opens when you click Invite via email, type the user’s email, and click Invite.
  5. Use Invite via the link: You can share a link with the user(s) you want to share your Office 365 Home subscription with. In the Copy Link section, select the generated URL and copy it. Click Close.
  6. By clicking on the invite link in the email or the shared link and following the on-screen steps, a user can sign in using a Microsoft account and access your Office 365 Home subscription.

What is Office 365 Personal?

Office 365 Personal is considered as one of the most affordable ways to purchase and use Office applications. For a subscription fee of $69.99/year or $6.99/month, Office 365 Personal offers premium versions of the most up-to-date Office applications, 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, access to online communication services such as Skype and Microsoft Teams, and premium features in Outlook.com.

With Office 365 Personal,.you are limited to one user per Office 365 subscription. You can still install and use Office applications on five different devices including PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Users can stay signed in on all five devices but if you want to install Office 365 Personal on a sixth device, you are forced to log out from one of the active devices.

Office 365 Home vs Office 365 Personal

Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal is basic Office 365 plans in terms of features and services. While both plans offer the latest on-premises and cloud-based Office applications, they pale in comparison to higher-tier Business and Enterprise plans when it comes to security features and diversity of online services. That being said, the Home and Personal plans are geared towards individuals, families, and small businesses. They work for those who don’t necessarily require some of the advanced features to run their daily tasks.

Differences

As for the differences, there are only three to mention when comparing Office 365 Home to Office 365 Personal. Firstly, Home supports up to 6 users while Personal supports only one user. Secondly, when it comes to cloud storage, Office 365 Home offers 6 TB of storage, 1 TB per user while Office 365 Personal offers 1 TB. Finally, since Office 365 Personal only supports one user, Microsoft did not include Microsoft Family Safety in this plan.

From that point on, both Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal share identical features. Both plans include Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Microsoft Editor as online services. Also, with both plans, you can install Office on up to 5 active devices at the same time. In reality, you can install any of the plans on an infinite number of devices. But, only five can stay signed in and active.

OneDrive

OneDrive integrates into your Office 365 productivity applications. Thus, making it easy to save, store, and share documents online. The multi-factor authentication and ransomware detection options add an extra layer of security to your OneDrive files. It is important to note that each Home user has their own OneDrive folder that no one else has access to.

If you require more OneDrive storage, you can buy an additional 1 TB, 200 GB at a time. It is only an additional $1.99 per month. Only the main user in a subscription can access the additional 1TB of cloud storage.

Families and Small Businesses

Office 365 Home is ideal for families and small businesses whose main workflow relies on Office productivity applications. As for collaboration, a small group of users can work together with an Office 365 Home subscription. They do this by sharing documents through OneDrive and communicating through Skype or Microsoft Teams. In contrast, Office 365 Personal is ideal for users who are not interested in sharing their subscriptions with other users. They just want access to the most up-to-date Office applications on different devices.

If your workflow revolves around the classic Office applications and you are looking for an affordable and hassle-free solution, then you can’t go wrong with any of the Home plans. The only other plan related to the Home family is Office Home and Student. This is an on-premises-only plan in the vein of Microsoft Office. With this plan, you lose the ability to use the most up-to-date revision of Office. Instead, you have to wait for the release of the next iteration to take advantage of the new features and options. Shortly put, Office Home and Student does not support regular updates for Office applications. It does, however, receive security and stability updates on a monthly basis.

Wrapping up

Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal are subscription-based plans. They provide users with the most up-to-date collaborative applications and a basic collection of online services. While both are entry-level subscription plans, individuals and small groups of users such as families and small businesses can take advantage of the premium versions of the Office applications offered in both plans. They both especially target users that are on a budget and don’t have use for collaborative online services such as SharePoint Online and Exchange Online.

The security measures applied for OneDrive enable the user to recover damaged or deleted files for up to a 30-day period. Setting up anti-phishing and anti-malware policies in Outlook can also help protect you from a potential breach. But without a third-party backup solution for Microsoft Office 365, your SaaS environment is open to threats. For example, accidental data deletion due to human error or a cyber attack like ransomware. Learn more here.

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