Softonic review

Microsoft’s flagship product

Microsoft Office 2021 is a powerful and versatile office suite that lets you stay on top of your productivity. Developed by Microsoft, this is a popular family bundle of software and services that features various programs for whatever office task or project you need to do.

The successor to Microsoft Office 2019, Microsoft Office 2021 doesn’t add any new applications but instead applies new functionalities and optimizations to the main programs in its bundle. It’s available in various pricing plans and editions and some offer a free 1-month trial so you can check how well it suits your needs.

What's the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office?

As part of Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft Office 2021 is a major version release but doesn’t drastically change things. It features the well-known core MS Office programs: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. While there are no new additions to the apps, you still get handy improvements that are welcome for each.

New updates include new formulas and functions for Excel, the Ink Replay tool for your Ink Object drawings in PowerPoint, and new co-authoring capabilities when you share files with other users. The programs’ speed and stability have also been improved. Lastly, it now supports saving pictures, charts, and other graphics from your documents in the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) format.

MS Office can be purchased on its own—however, it only encompasses the basic applications. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service that further bundles MS Office with other add-ons. You'll have access to OneDrive cloud storage, technical support, and data syncing across other platforms. Plus, your applications will be updated to the latest version during the entirety of your subscription.

How can I install Microsoft Office for free?

Unlike other office suites like LibreOffice, Microsoft Office 2021 doesn’t offer any free versions aside from its free 1-month trial and its online web app. To access them, you’ll need a Microsoft account—which is easy to register to since it’s free. However, the downside to this is that you’ll always have to have an internet connection to use them.

For desktop clients, you need to buy a MS Office license. There are various versions available—depending on the type of work and number of users. For home and personal use, you can choose between Microsoft 365 Personal, Microsoft 365 Family, and Office Home & Student 2021. For businesses, there’s Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

There are also licenses available for large enterprises and post-secondary schools. One main drawback that is still present with this office is that you can’t choose which specific applications you want to be installed. Thus, it’s possible that you won’t use some of them depending on your usual line of work. Additionally, customer support usually only lasts for up to 60 days.

A powerful set of programs

Overall, Microsoft Office 2021 is a great choice for an office suite that helps with productivity. It features versatile and powerful tools and offers various licenses to fit your situation. It doesn’t let you choose which specific programs to use, but at least you have all available software in case you happen to need them.

Tomasz David
Tomasz David

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