Since its release, Microsoft Office has been the leading office suite for home, student, and business. Microsoft now boasts over 1.5 billion users worldwide, which makes Microsoft the dominant force powerful business suites. Microsoft Office features a set of flagship products designed to make your work easier and more professional. These flagship products include Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Access, OneNote, and Outlook. These applications empower business users, students, and home users to experience a boost in productivity and the ability to get more done in the most efficient way possible. Microsoft Office is available for PC and for Mac users.

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There are different versions of the product, depending on your needs, and not all of the versions have the exact same apps and capabilities. In this article, we will take a close look at Microsoft Office and its different versions to compare Microsoft Office software versions and help you determine which version is right for you. At SoftwareKeep we believe in giving you all the information you need to make an informed buying decision, so here is our comparison of the Microsoft Office for PC and Office for Mac products.

Microsoft Office

Difference Between Version and Edition

When you read about Microsoft Office, you will hear the words version and edition. Most people don’t realize these two terms are not interchangeable. They refer to two distinctly different things. The version refers to the version number of the product. For instance, Windows 10. It can also refer to the build number of the particular version you are running. The Edition refers to “Home and Business” or “Professional.” Editions are named differently because they include different features and products aimed at specific audiences.

he Microsoft “Home and Student” edition, for instance, is aimed at casual users and students. Even teachers will find this edition enough in most cases. Another version, “Home and Business,” offers a slight variation that makes the product useful to casual users and students, but adds Outlook.

The idea here is to offer an edition of the product aimed at small business owners or home business users. For big business and corporations, of course, there is Office Professional and Professional Plus. Office Professional Plus is an integrated set of Microsoft applications for business or enterprise. Office Professional Plus includes all of the programs in Office Standard (Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word), plus you Publisher, Access, and Skype for Business.

Acces is a relational database management system that helps businesses track and report information. Skype for Business is a unified communications client that works with Skype for Business Server, allowing users to talk to one another via instant messaging, voice, or video, or two switch between modes. These are clearly not apps the everyday user would ever make use of or what to pay for, which is why there are different editions.

There is also a Standard edition of Microsoft that includes:

  • Excel: A spreadsheet application with data analysis and visualization tools
  • OneNote: A note-taking application that allows various types of content to be shared among team members.
  • Outlook: A time and information manager that integrates email, calendar, contacts, and tasks.
  • PowerPoint: A presentation graphics program with capabilities for text effects, sound, and animation.
  • Publisher: A desktop publishing program that allows people with basic design skills to create a wide variety of publications.
  • Word: A full-featured word-processing program.

The great thing about the Standard edition (desktop) is that it works well for a wide range of consumers. All of the basic important apps are there with the addition of Outlook for email and communications management and Publisher for easy professional desktop design layout capabilities. This version is a great value for a wide range of users.

So does it really matter which edition you choose? Yes and no. If you already have a “Professional Plus” edition and you are a casual user, no problem. The core apps are still the same and will work for you. If you are a casual user, however, about to purchase, you are not likely to want to spend the money on the “Professional Plus” version for applications you won’t use.

What Versions of Microsoft Office Are Available?

Microsoft Office

The most current version of Microsoft Office is Office 2019. There is a perpetual version (desktop or standalone version) that is a one-time purchase. Office 2019 comes in three editions (as noted above), 2019 Home and Student for Pc/Mac, 2019 Home and Business for Pc/Mac and Microsoft Office 2019 Professional. The desktop versions are significantly different than Office 365. Consumers can purchase the perpetual version and pay only one time for the software, while Office 365 is a subscription and cloud-based service that offers constantly updated versions of the Office products.

Older versions of Microsoft Office still available and supported by Microsoft go back as far as 2010, but the most popular pre-2019 version of Office is Office 2016.

Besides being available for PC and Mac, Office is available in Home and Student and Home and Business Editions. These editions are similar regardless of the operating system, but there are some slight differences between the PC and Mac versions of Microsoft Office. Those differences are primarily in the way the applications function rather than a difference in the applications that are included in Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Office Versions

Release DateTitle
August 24, 1995Microsoft Office 95
November 19, 1996Microsoft Office 97
June 7, 1999Microsoft Office 2000
May 31, 2001Microsoft Office XP
August 19, 2003Microsoft Office 2003
January 30, 2007Microsoft Office 2007
June 15, 2010Microsoft Office 2010
January 29, 2013Microsoft Office 2013
September 22, 2015Microsoft Office 2016
September 24, 2018Microsoft Office 2019
October 5, 2021Microsoft Office 2021

Basic Editions of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office 2021 Editions

our major versions of the latest Microsoft Office 2021:

  • Home & Student for PC/MAC: Includes core applications only.
  • Home & Business for PC/MAC: Includes core applications plus Outlook.
  • Professional: Includes core applications plus Outlook, Publisher and Access. Uses Windows Installer method for offline installation.
  • Professional Plus: Only available through volume licensing channels; includes core applications plus Outlook, Publisher, Access and Skype for Business. Uses Click-to-Run method for online installation.

Microsoft Office Home and Student

This edition is designed for individuals who need essential Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for personal use. It is perfect for creating basic documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and is a great choice for students and home users.

Microsoft Home and Business – This edition is similar to Home and Student, but also includes Outlook for managing emails, contacts, and calendars. It is ideal for small business owners, freelancers, and individuals who need to balance their personal and professional life in one place.

Microsoft Office Professional – This edition includes all the applications in Home and Business, as well as Publisher and Access. Publisher is a desktop publishing application that allows you to create professional-looking marketing materials and publications, while Access is a database management tool that helps you organize and analyze data. This edition is recommended for businesses and professionals who need advanced features for desktop publishing and database management.

Microsoft Office 365 – This is a subscription-based service that provides all the features of Office 2021, plus additional cloud-based services like OneDrive, Skype for Business, and Exchange Online. It is perfect for businesses that need to collaborate and communicate in real time, as well as individuals who want access to the latest features and updates.

Microsoft Office 2021 Home and Business

The Home and Business edition of Microsoft Office 2021 includes all of the core applications, with the added functionality of Outlook. This makes it an excellent choice for small business owners who need email capability and contact management. It bridges the gap between the Home and Professional editions of Office and is an ideal choice for those who require more than just the core applications, but not all the features found in the Professional edition.

Microsoft Office 2021 Professional Plus

Office Professional Plus 2021 is the top-tier edition of the suite, available exclusively through volume licensing channels. It includes all the core applications plus Outlook, Publisher, Access, and Skype for Business, making it the ideal choice for large enterprises that need advanced collaboration, database management, and desktop publishing capabilities.

Unlike the traditional Windows Installer method used in previous versions, Office Professional Plus 2021 uses the modern Click-to-Run method for faster and more reliable online installation.

Microsoft Office 2021 for Mac

Mac users now have access to the latest Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with Office 2021 for Mac. This edition is compatible with Apple’s three most recent versions of macOS, ensuring that users are up-to-date with the latest technology. Microsoft’s commitment to providing Mac users with a similar experience to PC users has resulted in a powerful and versatile suite of applications that are tailored to Mac’s unique capabilities.

Office for Mac supports Apple’s three most recent versions of macOS.