September 30, 2019

36 Reasons You Should Have Office 365

Microsoft should be a name you recognize.  And you probably have some preconceived notions about software or hardware they offer - whether positive or negative.  As a working professional or student in higher education, the chances of you using one of their products is extremely high.  What's also (usually) high is the price of those products.  Recently, Microsoft has offered a Service for individuals to purchase a set of these products for a much lower monthly or yearly fee.  Enter Microsoft Office 365.  While they offer multiple plan types, I will argue for the Home plan.  See pricing options at the bottom before purchasing, though.  As tempting as the Microsoft Office 365 Personal plan offered at a lower price is, note it only covers one user.  Purchasing the Home plan allows 6 users to share the benefits of Office 365 - which is the main reason I suggest it.  Here are a few other reasons you should consider raising your digital subscription overload.


1)  1 TB of space per user

Each user in the family has access to store files, pictures, videos, etc., up to 1 TB of space.  While that may be more than plenty for most, you can always purchase more (roughly $2/200 GB).  And if you share files, it doesn't count towards the other users in your family.


2)  Phone Camera Roll Backup

Ever purchased a new phone - only to "move" all of your contacts, apps, and pictures over and are now missing those pictures from your last family vacation?  Never again!  By being a subscriber to Office 365, you can now download the OneDrive app on every device you own and have the app automatically backup all of your photos in your camera roll.  It can be set to backup in the background over cellular (essentially, as you take a picture it uploads to the cloud), organize by month or year (or not at all), and the picture format (supporting iOS's HEIC version for example).  While other services offer photo backup for free (Google Photos and Amazon Photos - with Prime), neither backup videos - or charge around the same price to upgrade and don't include the other perks mentioned here.



3)  Family Sharing

Office 365 allows sharing of calendars, files, notes, and more with 5 other users you add to your Family (for a total of 6 users in the Home plan).  While technically it's called a "Family," this doesn't dictate those members have to be a family member.  All that's required of one of the other users is a Microsoft Account.  Essentially, anything stored in OneDrive can be shared with specific users - requiring those shared with to be logged into their Microsoft Account.  Calendars synced with Outlook can be shared across family members as well, keeping all on the same page.  Again, something other services may offer, but this is a one stop shop compared to a hodgepodge.


4)  Ad-Free Webmail

You don't want an ad showing up in your inbox do you?  Much less if it's something you've never searched for online and have only talked about it with friends and family.  You've seen this in action on social media, and depending on other email services you may use, it’s been camouflaged as an email in your inbox.  Generally speaking, free services aren't free.  The company offering a service is either using or selling some type of information in order to profit.  Otherwise they couldn't offer a free service.  And if you only want ad-free webmail aside from the other perks, there are other less expensive options available, including Office 365 Personal - but your money goes much farther with the Home plan.


5)  60 Skype Minutes/month

While having a Skype account allows you to call other Skype accounts for free, having Skype Minutes allow you to dial mobile and landline numbers.  This includes international numbers and toll-free numbers.  Any device you're logged into with your Microsoft Account and connected to the internet can call anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world.  Use it to call and verify hotels or excursions for that trip you're taking, or use it to call home while abroad.  For most in the US, this may not be the most used of the perks, but it is one, nonetheless.  


6)   Office Apps for Every Device 

Ok, so here's the cheat.… Yes my list stops at 6 and not 36.  But for each account within the Office 365 Home plan, the Microsoft Office Suite can be installed and active on 5 devices.   It can be installed on "all of your devices" (which could in theory be unlimited devices), but can only be "active" on 5 devices.  Once the 6th device (under the same Microsoft Account, not Family) tries to access an application, it will simply not open.  So, 5 (devices) x 6 (users) = 30 (total active installs). Thirty reasons to have Office 365.

These applications are included for your devices:

While Microsoft does offer some of the above apps for free (on Desktop and Mobile), they are limited.  For example, the Word app on Mac OS requires a 365 account while the app on iOS does not.  However, the iOS apps (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are READ-ONLY, meaning they cannot create new files for these apps, only open them.  Generally, the Outlook and OneNote apps for mobile devices are free and fully featured.


7)  Reasons 7-36

See number 6. You didn't really scroll all the way to see the last point(s) first, did you?



Where to buy?

Before anything else, check the Microsoft Home Use Program.  This will allow you to receive 30% off indefinitely if your current workplace is a member.  Generally speaking, this is only available if your workplace also uses Office 365 in a Business capacity.  Check with your IT if uncertain.  If eligible, I highly suggest this method.  You'll never have to try to find a discount or have an issue with your subscription ending.  See:


If you prefer ordering directly from Microsoft, see:


There are many other sites that will "resell" licenses they've purchased from Microsoft.  While many of these are legitimate, many of them are not.  Do your research before purchasing.  For example, Amazon currently sells a license for $20 less than direct from Microsoft:


Lastly, if you still opt to sign up for a free Microsoft Account, you will have access to many of the same services mentioned.  You will receive 5 GB of OneDrive storage, a Skype account (for calling other Skype users or purchasing of minutes), and web applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Visit: