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.
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 was given to Office 365 back in 2020 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 Microsoft 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 Desktop
Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365)
Works on a Mac
Compatible with latest versions of macOS
Works on M1 Macs
1TB of online OneDrive storage per user.
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
Install on more than one Mac
Up to 5 different Macs on one subscription with Microsoft 365 Family subscription.
Free mobile apps but only basic editing features on screens under 10.1 inches.
Extra features included in Microsoft 365 mobile apps.
Only Basic version
Only Home & Business
Family Safety App
Family version only
Security updates included but no new features or upgrades to major updates included.
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.
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:
The desktop version of Microsoft Office for Mac does not include:
Teams (although the desktop version does work with the web version of Teams)
Does Microsoft Office For Mac Work on M1, M2 & M3 Macs?
Microsoft Office For Mac 2021 has been updated to work natively with the latest Apple Silicon Macs.
However, it took Microsoft some time to update the desktop version of Office to work with M-series chip.
Some apps such as Microsoft Teams still don’t have an Apple Silicon Mac native app although it still works on M series Macs thanks to Rosetta which translates Intel apps to work with the ARM M1/M2/M3 chip.
Does Microsoft 365 Work With M1, M2 & M3 Macs?
Since it’s Cloud based, Microsoft 365 works on any platform in a browser including on the latest M1, M2 & M3 Macs which is another advantage over the standalone desktop version of Microsoft Office For Mac 2021.
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 Sonoma, Monterey, Big Sur, Mojave and Catalina but support for the latter will gradually decrease over the next few years.