Option one is to go for Microsoft Office 2019, option two is to go for a free product, either standalone or cloud-hosted and option three is to split the difference and use Office 365 Personal. If you do a lot of work, then Office 365 Personal is almost certainly going to be your best choice. Here are some reasons why.
It offers excellent value for money
Even a basic version of Microsoft Office 2019 is going to carry a hefty price tag. In fact, it’s probably going to be a lot more than the average home user is going to want to pay in one go, if at all. Office 365 Personal, by contrast, is a very affordable monthly subscription. Currently, this also includes Skype credit and OneDrive storage which makes the deal even better.
You could argue that nothing beats free for value and it’s true that there are some very decent free offerings available. In fact, the free offerings will probably be perfectly reasonable options for light users. Serious users, however, will soon find themselves bumping up against the shortcomings of the free options. These typically include lack of advanced functionality, buggy, erratic behavior and general slowness.
The storage (and Skype) alone could be worth the price
These days, there are plenty of places offering free storage, although probably not one terabyte of it. In principle, you could probably get one terabyte of storage by opening multiple accounts with different providers. In practice, however, that would probably be seriously inconvenient.
Even if you were prepared to live with the inconvenience, the fact remains that you only have any meaningful consumer protection if you are paying for a service. This should be a significant consideration if you’re using cloud storage to hold important files, whether they’re personal or professional. You need to be confident that a cloud storage provider will be available at least the vast majority of the time and that they will hold your files securely.
For the sake of completeness, consumer protection only has any real meaning if it can be enforced. This is why it’s very much recommended to stick with reputable providers based in countries with robust legal and regulatory systems. For a real-world case study in why this matters, it’s worth looking at the former file-hosting and -sharing service Megaupload.
Megaupload was closed down due to concerns over it being used to facilitate copyright infringement. The closure was sudden and left a significant number of legitimate and entirely innocent users without access to their genuine personal files and without any real hope of recovering them.
It has a great, all-round, feature-set
In the old days, most home users could probably have managed just fine with just Word and maybe Excel, but these days many of us are using (or being forced to use) a broader range of productivity apps.
For example, even school-age children often have to give presentations and create handouts, which means it can be handy for them to be able to use PowerPoint and Publisher. Outlook and OneNote are just generally handy to have and while Access may be a bit of a niche, if you ever need to use it, it’s good to know you have it.
Another plus point about having all these apps available to you at home is that you can really learn how to use them properly. As a minimum, this is very useful. At best, it could potentially improve your employment possibilities. The simple fact of the matter is that Microsoft Office (in all its formats) is the standard productivity suite across almost all industries and across just about every country in the world.
It can be used across devices and offline
The main difference between Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home is that Office 365 Personal is intended for use by one person whereas Office 365 Home can be used by up to five people. As such, Office 365 Personal can only be used on one PC (at a time) but it can also be used on one tablet and one smartphone.
It also has some offline functionality. Admittedly this is limited, but it’s enough to keep you going. This flexibility can be a massive benefit to users as it facilitates working on the go. Depending on your situation, that could be anything from on your commute to college or work or sitting in a car waiting for children to finish their activities.