Office 365 vs. Office 2016: What is the Best Office for Students?

Between writing academic papers, creating presentations and collaborating with fellow colleagues, you need an app that can meet the demands of your ever-changing student life.
Office 365 vs. Office 2016: What is the Best Office for Students?

Microsoft Office is available in many different versions, catering to many different end-users.

But which edition is perfect for a student?

This article compares Office 365 vs Office 2019 vs Office 2016 and answers the question, "which one is best for students?"

Let's dive in!


Between writing academic papers, creating presentations, and collaborating with fellow students, you need applications that meet the demands of your ever-changing student life.

Although Office 365, Office 2019, and Office 2016 share many similarities, there are multiple factors that go into the decision of purchasing one or the other.

Here’s everything you need to know about Office 365 (later rebranded to Microsoft 365), Office 2019, and Office 2016.

We’ll highlight differences, cons, and pros, and help you make the correct purchase decision.


Microsoft Office is available in many different editions, each with its particular pricing

The biggest difference in pricing comes down to the fact that Office 365 is a subscription-based service, while Office 2019 is a one-time purchase.

You’ll have access to your Office apps as long as your subscription is active in Office 365. But you get to keep Office 2019 forever.

A subscription can be a big financial help for students worldwide. We recommend going for the annual subscription to get a discount. If you choose a monthly-based payment plan, you’ll need to pay a little bit more. However, you’re able to end your subscription anytime depending on your situation.

The monthly subscription is a more attractive option for students who merely use Office a few months out of the year during academic periods. In comparison, a yearly commitment works for any student who is also a small entrepreneur and works from home.

If you know that you’ll be using Office even outside of school or once you graduate, it might be better to pay the one-time fee and purchase Office 2019.

With the Home and Student edition, you get indefinite access to the most important apps any student could need. It is extremely affordable at $149.99 USD from Microsoft, or $84.99 USD if you shop with SoftwareKeep.

Want to go even cheaper but find similar features in your suite?

Office 2016 is the direct predecessor of the latest Office, offering cutting-edge features that hold their ground even today. It’s a bit more affordable at $74.99 USD if you shop with us.

Desired Apps and Features

One of the main aspects which will affect your buying decision will be the availability of different applications. Should you only require the essential Office apps such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, you will need to look no further than Office 2019 or Office 2016.

In comparison, should your student life demand a more robust and comprehensive program with access to other features, apps, and updates, Office 365 might be the right choice.

Because Office 365 is a subscription-based service, meaning that access to new features will be yours once they become available. Thus, you’re able to benefit from a multitude of different programs which may serve you in the future, as your needs evolve.

Compared to 365, Office 2019 will require the installation of a new version of Office in order to access any new features.

This aspect can be a bit painstaking since students are prone to handling multiple tasks within a short amount of time. Convenience plays a key part in the overall student experience when choosing your Office.


When it comes to availability, Office 365 takes the cake. More accessible than ever, the Office 365 experience provides a plethora of options. In addition to the ability to install Office on multiple devices, you can also access the latest accessibility improvements with each new software update.

Office 2019 and Office 2019 do allow students to save their data on the Cloud, but you cannot always install your apps on another device. It depends on how many licenses you own.

This could become an issue if you need to return your school-assigned laptop, or need to migrate to a new device in the future.

Connecting to Multiple Devices

Possibly one of the most useful tools for students is the ability to access a program on multiple devices. Office 2019 is designed around this idea - understanding the growing and evolving needs of students and the process of obtaining information via different means.

In fact, Office 2019 and Office 2016 can both be installed on up to five PCs or Macs, tablets, or phones when you purchase the 5-devices versions respectively.

Additionally, you have the ability to access the online version of Office apps via any supported device that has an internet connection.

With Microsoft 365, you can install Office on all your devices and sign in to Office on five devices at the same time with no added costs. This includes any combination of PCs, Macs, tablets, and phones as well. Office 365 mobile applications are ideal if you tend to work mostly on your tablet or smartphone.

Flexibility Between Plans

Because Office 2019 and Office 2016 are standalone suites, purchasing a new version or a new license is necessary for accessing new upgrades or features. For example, you can’t use any new features introduced in the latest Office release if you stick to Office 2016.

In comparison, Office 365 gives you the ability to seamlessly switch between plans using the admin center whenever you’d like to.

Cloud Storage Capacity

When it comes to storage capabilities, Office 365 is equipped with 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage which can, depending on the purchased version, be extended. Take, for example, Office 365 Personal, which allows up to five users to use 1TB of data storage.

In comparison, Office 2019 and Office 2016 don’t include any cloud storage. However, the initial 5GB OneDrive storage plan is free of charge. You’re able to get your hands on around 50GB of OneDrive storage at a separate monthly fee.

Your Next Steps…

Check Office 365 Education Eligibility

University students have the option of purchasing a four-year subscription that covers their entire academic education. The price is incredibly attractive and can be considered relatively cheap.

Universities and schools in this program more than likely allow their students to benefit from a free subscription to Office 365 Education. Make sure to check with your school to see if you’re eligible. This could save you a large amount of money which can be a huge help for any student, especially in university.

Buy Office

If you’re a student who enjoys using multiple devices in order to get things done for critical academic deadlines, Office 365 might just be the way forward.

If you tend to stick to your PC and don’t have any immediate expansion plans, Office 2019 might be just what you're looking for. If you want the most affordable option, try Office 2016.

In the same way, if cloud storage is essential for your academic life, Office 365 offers around 1TB of data storage capabilities with no extra charges.

Office 2019 or Office 2016 might just be enough to suit your student needs for storing information on an external drive.

All versions of Office have the merits and SoftwareKeep has multiple attractive ongoing sale offers for students. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Office 365, Office 2019, and Office 2016 can assist you in your journey as a student. Your decision should come down to your personal goals and needs, or your eligibility for a discount.

Our Help Center offers hundreds of guides to assist you when getting started with Office or troubleshooting common errors. Return to us for more informative articles, or get in touch with our experts for immediate assistance.

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