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Microsoft 365: purchase, downloads and available versions

Let’s discover Microsoft 365, the subscription-based productivity suite combining Microsoft Office applications with cloud services

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on April 15, 2024
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Microsoft 365 is the subscription-based productivity suite combining the traditional Microsoft Office applications with cloud services. It provides users with a variety of tools for creating, editing, and collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. This guide drives you to the available versions, downloading methods and opportunities for purchasing it at an advantageous price.

Microsoft 365: introducing the new Office Suite

Microsoft Office 365 has been replaced – welcome to the new world of Microsoft 365. This upgrade to the classic Office suite is now subscription based, but also comes with more frequent updates, fixes and more. There are tonnes of different plans available, so you can get one which suits your budget and needs.

However, Office 2021 is still available as a lifetime product via a one-off payment. This might be a better option for some. 

Today’s best Microsoft 365 deals

We’ve been scouring the web to bring you the very best Microsoft 365 deals. Here are those from two reliable online retailers.

Microsoft 365 deals

Microsoft 365 discount

Microsoft Office 365 vs Office 2021: Benefits and Differences

Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2021 are both fantastic options for home and work use. They have the same Office desktop apps we’ve come to know and love, including Word, Excel and Powerpoint. However, the way you pay for the services differs between the two.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription product. This means you pay an annual or monthly fee which enables access to the most current updates and tools from Microsoft. Furthermore, there are 365 plans for home and business use, as well as for schools and non-profit organisations. On top of the desktop apps, you get features such as extra cloud storage and collaborative work tools. The latest fixes and security updates are a breeze and will be slotted in along with consistent technical support at no extra cost.

Microsoft Office 365

However, paying on a subscription basis does mean that eventually you will rack up a higher cost than simply paying for Office 2021, which is a one-time purchase. If you’d rather stick with a lifetime product, then Microsoft Office 2021 is probably your best option. Remember Office 2021 does not feature all the services of Microsoft 365 – such as cloud storage and Windows 10 Enterprise – but these are available separately. There is also the possibility of downloading Microsoft Office for Mac

Office 2021 does provide the Microsoft desktop apps available right now. However, you won’t have access to updates, unlike with 365. 

Microsoft 365 Pricing: Subscription Prices and Available Versions

Wondering how much Microsoft 365 is? Although it is a subscription-based service, Microsoft 365 pricing varies as there are several versions available on the market. Take a look at the list below for some of the options.

  • Microsoft 365 Free: Surprisingly, free. Use it in your web browser only.
  • Microsoft 365 Personal: £59.99 a year, or £5.99 a month
  • Microsoft 365 Family: £79.99 a year, or £7.99 a month.
  • Microsoft 365 Business: plans range from Basic (£4.90 per user per month) to Premium (£18.10 per user/month) which offers advanced security and data control.
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise: £12.50 per user/month
  • Microsoft 365 School: prices vary.
  • Microsoft 365 for large organizations and nonprofits: the Basic plan is free for up to 300 users, or £8.30 per user/month for the E3 plan. Alternatively, max out with the E5 plan for £21.00 per user/month.

As you can see, there are plenty of different price options available, so whatever your budget, you should be able to find a plan that suits your needs.

Microsoft 365 pricing

Buy Microsoft 365 on Mr Key Shop saving

If you’re after a bargain in buying Microsoft 365, we’d recommend checking out Mr Key Shop. It’s an online retailer we trust to provide solid Microsoft products at money-saving prices – just check out the TrustPilot reviews. In addition to the Personal and Family versions, Mr Key Shop also offers Microsoft 365 Business at a discounted price. Furthermore, it’s a great place to get licences for separate Microsoft 365 apps – or the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business, or Microsoft 365 apps for Enterprise packs. So if you just need to use Word, for example, you can download the program at a lower cost than purchasing Microsoft Office 2021 in its entirety – although of course this might be what you’re after.

Mr Key is also a great place to look for other software. They have some of the best antivirus software available, as well as VPN and backup software. Plus, if you haven’t upgraded to Windows 11, they offer the Windows 11 product key as an option too.

Get Your Office 365 Subscription Today from Keycense

Another good place to get your Office 365 subscription is Keycense. It promises great deals on Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 products, including the Microsoft 365 Personal plan and the Microsoft 365 Family plan. We also like their antivirus software, app VPN, and operating system options.

Remember – if you don’t need all the apps available in the Office packages, you can purchase individual app licenses separately.

Microsoft 365 Free: How to get it

If you are keen to get your hands on Microsoft 365 Free, bear in mind that you will only be able to use it online, as it is a web-based application. You can do this by creating an account for Microsoft 365 online via the Microsoft website or mobile app.

There are also some ways to download Microsoft Office for free, if that floats your boat.

Microsoft 365 download

Microsoft 365 Download: Everything you need to install your package

To download Microsoft 365 and activate your plan, first purchase it online. The process via the official Microsoft site doesn’t come easy, and the same goes for activation, for which a Microsoft account is needed in any case.

If you buy the license from one of the stores recommended in this article, you will make your life much easier. Immediately after purchasing, you will receive instructions for quickly downloading the software, and the customer services will take care of the activation on your behalf, especially for business products.

To proceed via www.office.com you’ll have to sign in first, or create an account if you haven’t already. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Microsoft 365: On the Microsoft website, search for “Microsoft 365” or navigate to the product section where you can find Microsoft 365.
  2. Choose a subscription plan: Select the Microsoft 365 subscription plan that suits your needs. Microsoft offers different plans with various features and pricing options.
  3. Sign in or create a Microsoft account: If you already have a Microsoft account, sign in using your credentials. If not, you will need to create a new Microsoft account to proceed with the download.
  4. Provide payment information (if required): If the subscription plan you selected requires payment, you will need to provide your payment details during the checkout process.
  5. Download and install Microsoft 365: After completing the purchase or selecting a free trial, you should be directed to a page where you can download the Microsoft 365 installer. Click on the download button to start the download.
  6. Run the installer: Locate the downloaded installer file on your computer and double-click on it to run the installation process.
  7. Follow the installation prompts: The installer will guide you through the installation process. Follow the on-screen instructions, including accepting the terms and conditions and selecting the installation options you prefer.
  8. Sign in to activate Microsoft 365: Once the installation is complete, launch any Microsoft 365 application (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint). You will be prompted to sign in with your Microsoft account. Enter your credentials to activate your subscription.

You can get more help, if needed, by contacting the customer service of Mr Key Shop, which offers free support even before the purchase. The same goes for Keycense.

Microsoft 365 Personal: a complete solution for single users

If you only need Microsoft 365 for one person, Microsoft 365 Personal is the plan for you. Especially useful for freelancers, it allows access to all the key Office suite programs, with 1 TB of cloud storage.

Plus, Microsoft 365 Personal allows you to use up to five devices simultaneously, so no stress about being limited to just your laptop.

Microsoft 365 Family: connectivity and productivity for the whole family

For families with multiple people wanting Office services, try Microsoft 365 Family. It offers up to 6 TB of storage (1 per person), with the same capabilities as the Personal plan but for an increased number of people. It works out as far better value, with a cost of just £7.99 a month/£79.99 a year.

Furthermore, Microsoft 365 Family includes the Family Safety mobile app that offers additional security and safety features. 

Microsoft 365 Family: learn about Microsoft Family Safety

Microsoft Family Safety is a suite of features and services provided by Microsoft to help families manage and protect their digital lives. It is designed to promote healthy online habits, protect against online threats, and enable parents to manage screen time and content for their children. 

Features include content filters, location sharing, screen time limits and digital safety notifications which keep parents up to date with any potential issues. Microsoft Family Safety is available as a free app for iOS and Android devices, and it can be managed through a Microsoft account. 

Microsoft 365 for students

Students will be best off with the Microsoft 365 Education plan. This will need to be provided through their school or college.

The plan includes Office apps, Cloud Storage, collaboration tools including Teams, and much more. Specialized classroom tools like OneNote Class Notebook also feature.

Microsoft 365 Business: the integrated solution for successful companies

Finally, Microsoft 365 for Business plans are the best option for companies big and small. For start-ups and small businesses, the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan is a great bet, allowing web versions of some desktop apps along with the Bookings app and a business email account.

The Microsoft 365 Business Standard version includes installable desktop apps, the ability to host large meetings and webinars and Access, an app for data visualization. An upgrade to Microsoft 365 Business Premium will grant you greater cybersecurity, device management, the ability to control access to company data and much more.

Microsoft 365, let’s recap

There are many versions of Microsoft 365 – still called Office 365 by many. Whether you are looking for it for personal, family or professional use, you can find the solution that best suits your needs. If you plan to use it for an extended period, you may consider purchasing a lifetime license of Office 2021 and save. 

You can save meaningfully and buy safely thanks to the online retailers we have selected for you. The suggested platforms also allow you to complete your new build by purchasing Windows 11 Pro, or to protect your smartphone by purchasing an antivirus for Android at a discounted price, even lower during seasonal offers such as Black Friday deals.

As a tech and AI writer for PC Guide, Gloria is interested in what new technology means for the future of consumer electronics and digital and broadcast journalism.

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