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If you’re not sure whether it’s worth getting Microsoft Office For Mac or the more recent evolution of it into Microsoft 365, we’ve taken a closer look at Office For Mac vs Microsoft 365 to see how they compare and which one to get.

Love it or loathe it, Microsoft Office is still the most important business tool out there on both Mac and Windows PCs.

Of course, being a Microsoft product, it’s always worked better on Windows than on macOS with more features and products available.

However, Microsoft Office has been through so many changes over the years and now has so many different purchase options that’s it’s hard to know which version is right for you, especially on macOS.

Here we’ve taken a closer look at the different versions of Microsoft Office For Mac and Windows 365, how much they cost and what they offer to help you decide.

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Microsoft Office For Mac vs Microsoft 365

microsoft 365 for mac

It’s important to understand from the start that Microsoft Office For Mac is slowly being rebranded as “Microsoft 365” because Microsoft Office is now both a desktop and Cloud application known as Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 is the new name that’s been given to Office 365 which was the first version of Microsoft Office to move online.

Note that Microsoft 365 is not to be confused with Windows 365 which is a Cloud version of the Windows operating system.

The desktop version of Microsoft Office still exists but Microsoft is encouraging people to subscribe to Windows 365 rather than pay for a one-off installation of Microsoft Office For Mac or Windows on their desktop.

You can still buy the traditional desktop version of Microsoft Office for Mac but as you’ll see, it doesn’t have as many features and it may actually cost you more than taking out a subscription in the long run as it’s not up-gradable.

Microsoft will also end support for the desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac by 2026.

You can see a quick comparison of Microsoft Office For Mac vs Microsoft 365 side-by-side below.

 Microsoft Office For Mac 2021 DesktopMicrosoft 365 (formerly Office 365)
Works on a Mac
Compatible with latest versions of macOS
Works on M1 Macs
Works Online
Usage1 MacUp to 6 people on Mac and PC
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNoteClassic VersionsPremium Versions
OneDrive Up to 1TB per user
Microsoft Teams
Outlook4,500+
Family Safety AppFamily version only
Advanced Security
Ongoing Technical Support60 days only
Pricing$149.99 Home & Student / $249.99 Home & Business$69.99 Personal / $99.99 Family

Free Trial

Free Trial

Which Applications Are In Microsoft 365 For Mac?

The basic version of Microsoft 365 includes the Premium version of the following apps:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • OneNote
  • OneDrive
  • Teams
  • Editor

You also get:

  • 60 Skype minutes per month
  • Microsoft chat and phone support
  • Free updates rolled out continually

Note that the following Microsoft applications, which are included in some Windows versions of Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365, are not available for Mac:

How Much Is Microsoft 365 For Mac?

Microsoft 365 is available on subscription in two versions:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal ($69.99/year or $6.99/month)
  • Microsoft 365 Family ($99.99/year or $9.99/month)

The main difference between the Microsoft Personal vs Microsoft Family is that the family version is valid for up to 6 users on one subscription and includes 1TB of online storage per user.

microsoft 365 mac pricing

How Much Is Microsoft Office For Mac 2021?

If you don’t want a Microsoft 365 subscription to buy Office, you can still buy the desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac Home & Business 2021 for a one-off payment of $249.99.

microsoft office for mac 2021 pricing

There’s also a cheaper Microsoft Office For Mac Home & Student version for $149.99 but you’re not allowed to use if for commercial or business use.

microsoft office for mac home and student

The disadvantage of the desktop versions of Microsoft Office For Mac vs Microsoft 365 though is that it doesn’t have as many features or apps as Microsoft 365 and it only includes the Classic version of the apps, not the Premium versions like Microsoft 365.

The other big disadvantage is that you can’t use Microsoft Office in the Cloud anywhere like you can with Microsoft 365.

You’ll also eventually have to pay for an upgrade to the next desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac (if indeed a new desktop version is released) in a few years as the desktop versions do not have an upgrade option.

Specifically, the desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac 2021 includes the Classic versions of:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint

The desktop version of Microsoft Office for Mac does not include:

  • Teams (although the desktop version does work with the web version of Teams)
  • Outlook
  • Web access to Microsoft Office
  • No OneDrive storage

Can You Get Microsoft Office For Mac Free?

The full version of Microsoft Office For Mac is not free but there are ways to get Microsoft Office For Free on a Mac.

The closest thing to a completely free version of Microsoft Office on Mac is Apple’s iWork which includes Pages, Numbers and Keynote.

You can also get 85% off Microsoft Office For Mac for a limited period.

Does Microsoft Office For Mac Work on M1 Macs?

Microsoft Office For Mac 2021 has been updated to work natively with the latest Apple Silicon M1 Macs.

However, it took Microsoft some time to update the desktop version of Office to work with the M1 chip.

Some apps such as Microsoft Teams still don’t have an M1 native app although it still works on M1 Macs thanks to Rosetta which translates Intel apps to work with the ARM M1 chip.

Does Microsoft 365 Work With M1 Macs?

Since it’s Cloud based, Microsoft 365 works on any platform in a browser including on the latest M1 Macs which is another advantage over the standalone desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac 2021.

Microsoft Office For Business & Enterprises

For SMBs and large enterprises, there are two options: Microsoft Office For Mac LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) and Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft Office For Mac LTSC is the same as Microsoft Office For Mac Home & Business 2021 but you also get Outlook LTSC.

Microsoft Office For Mac LTSC pricing is done on a per user basis.

Microsoft 365 For Business is also available in 4 different plans on the same pricing per user basis:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Apps For Business
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

microsoft 365 for business pricing

Is Microsoft Office For Mac or Microsoft 365 Worth It?

Ultimately it depends on how much you have to deal with Microsoft Office files and how much you’re comfortable with changing from the familiarity and interface of Microsoft Office products.

If you don’t need to regularly use apps like Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint then you can probably just use Apple’s iWork which is free.

iWork is Apple’s version of Microsoft Office and includes excellent apps like Pages which is an excellent alternative to Microsoft Word and Numbers which is an alternative to Excel.

apple iwork

Alternatively, Google Docs and Google Drive can now open and edit most Microsoft Office files.

However, if you’re in a business environment that uses Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365 all the time, then you really need to get one of the two.

And if money is an issue, you can always try one of these ways of using Microsoft Office For Free on a Mac.

Should I Get Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office For Mac 2021?

In our opinion, it makes more sense to get Microsoft 365 than Microsoft Office 2021 as a two year subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal, still costs less than the full version of Microsoft Office For Mac 2021.

During that time, Microsoft will have evolved and added new features to Microsoft 365 that aren’t available in the desktop version.

You’re also getting access to the Premium versions of Microsoft Office apps and of course, you can use it online.

The other thing to consider is that Microsoft will stop support of the desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac from the end of 2026 onwards.

This means you won’t receive any security updates, new features rolled out or stability improvements and it would eventually become unusable with new versions of macOS.

Currently Microsoft Office For Mac 2021 works with macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Mojave and Catalina but support for the latter will gradually decrease over the next few years.

About The Author

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4 Responses

  1. smayer97

    nice article. Thx.

    If you cancel a subscription, do you still get to keep the 1TB storage?

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      For Windows 365 Home & Business subscription you would only get 30 days access of read-only access to the files in OneDrive if you cancel your Windows 365 subscription. If you resubscribe within those 30 days you get full access to the files again. With Personal accounts it seems it reverts to the free 5GB of storage so the safest thing to do would be to copy your files elsewhere before cancelling your subscription.

      Reply
  2. Ken Levis

    If I upgrade my MacBook Pro to Mac OS Monterey version 12.4 can I still run MS Word for Mac version 16.16.27 on it?

    Reply

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