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Microsoft Office 2019: Is It Right For You?

Microsoft Office 2019 has arrived — both the PC and Mac versions. But what does this mean for your computing life?

We have your answers here. Whether you’re using any version of Office for PCs or Macs (or Office 365), learn what’s included in Office 2019, how it compares to previous versions, and how you can determine the best value for your personal use:

1. What’s the difference between Office 2019 and Office 365?
Office 2019 is traditional software you buy once, download onto your computer, and use as long as you want. To update, you need to buy new software — the old-school way. Office 365, on the other hand, is an online subscription service that updates automatically.

2. What apps are included in Office 2019 — the same apps as Office 2016 and Office 365?
For the most part, yes. It depends on which of the two packages you buy — one has more apps than the other. Office 2019 Home & Student includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, while Office 2019 Home & Business also includes Outlook, Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher.

3. How much does it cost?
$149 for Office Home & Student 2019 and $249 for Office 2019 Home & Business costs. Prices are the same for PCs and Macs.

4. How many devices is it licensed for?
One computer.

5. Is there a mobile app?
No, Office 2019 is for your computer only. You need a subscription for Office 365 for mobile access.

6. If I have Office 365, do I need Office 2019?
No, not unless you need the Office apps on your own hard drive or server.

7. My internet service can be spotty and I travel. Do I need to be connected to the internet to use Office 2019?
No, you only need to be online for installation and account management. But you don’t have to be online to use for Office 365 either — just connect once a month to get the updates.

8. Can I get it for free if I’m a student?
Students, parents, and educators can get Office 2019 free if they qualify. Enter your school’s email address to find out.

9. How does the price compare to Office 365 — is it a better deal over the long term?
Office 365 Home costs $99/year for up to six users in your household. Each user also gets 1TB of free OneDrive cloud storage and 60 minutes of free Skype calling to landlines and mobile phones per user (Skype-to-Skype calls are always free).

If you pay $150 for Office 2019 and use if for three years until the next expected upgrade, that translates to $50/year — or half the cost of Office 365. However, if you also need cloud storage, you have to pay for that separately. Cloud storage for 1TB typically costs $60-$120/year, which cancels your annual savings with Office 2019.

The biggest cost difference between the two comes with the number of users. If three people share your Office 365 subscription, your per-person cost drops to $33/year, and if six people share it drops to $16.50/year. These are very good deals when you consider the cloud storage. So, unless you really need the on-premisis version of Office, an Office 365 subscription is the better the deal.

10. Will Microsoft phase out the on-premises version of Office entirely?
Rumors say there will be at least one more non-cloud version after Office 2019. But be aware that Microsoft’s pitch for Office 2019 is “a valuable update for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud.”

11. What’s new in Office 2019 compared to Office 2016?
The new version isn’t an overhaul but you’ll find some helpful improvements. Highlights include:

  • Word: Text-to-speech, improved inking (pen) functionality, black theme, and Focus mode
  • Excel: New functions, funnel charts, timelines, enhanced visuals, and PivotTable enhancements
  • PowerPoint: Morph transitions, 4k video, and Zoom
  • Outlook: @ Mentions, focused inbox, updated contact card, and Office 365 Groups (with Exchange online account) and focus mode
  • OneNote: While you can still use OneNote 2016 after upgrading, OneNote for Windows 10 is where it’s at moving forward

12. How do I find out what version of Office I’m using now?
See this page for both PCs and Macs.

13. Do Office apps work differently online and on-premises?
Yes, the apps are tailored for each platform.

14. Can I open up old Office files and Office 365 files on Office 2019?
Files are backward-compatible to Office 2007 for PCs and to Office for Mac 2008. Older files will need a compatibility service pack. Office 365 files are compatible with Office 2019.

15. What are the Office 2019 system requirements?
Microsoft lists all Office requirements — from Office 2013 to Office 2019 — here.

16. Do people like Office 2019 so far?
For the most part, yes. But there aren’t very many reviews available because it’s been such a low-key release with such few splashy upgrades. All the attention is right where Microsoft wants it — on Office 365. Reviewers agree that they like Office 2019 for its powerful capabilities. Office software is the gold standard, after all. See what TechRadar, Mac Observer, Business News Daily, and Gizmodo have to say.

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