Office 365 vs Office 2016: Key Differences Explained

Office 365 vs Office 2016 Key Differences Explained

Debating between Office 365 vs Office 2016? At SkyTerra, we understand that choosing the right Microsoft Office suite for your business can be a perplexing task. With so many options available, particularly between Office 365 and Office 2016, it’s crucial to grasp the differences to make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your digital transformation needs.

As a Microsoft Tier 1 CSP, we’re happy to break down the decision-making process into easily digestible chunks. 

Office 365 vs Office 2016: What’s the Main Difference?

Office 2016 is a version of the Office productivity suite, primarily accessed via the desktop. On the other hand, Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription that includes Office 2016 along with an array of other programs. With Office 365, you have the flexibility to choose between a stand-alone Office 2016 product or include it as part of your Office 365 subscription.

For those considering a stand-alone Office 2016, there are two versions available for businesses:

  1. Office Home & Business 2016: This package includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, priced at $229.99 for 1 PC (or Mac; Mac users must purchase Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac)
  2. Office Professional 2016: Going beyond Home & Business, this version also offers Publisher and Access, available for $399.99 for 1 PC (not compatible with Mac)

Stand-Alone Office 2016 or Office 365 Plan

The stand-alone Office 2016 versions do include the ability to save your files to the cloud, enhancing collaboration, especially among teams working from different locations.

Alternatively, if you opt for Office 2016 as part of an Office 365 plan, you unlock a plethora of benefits and features that can cater to your specific requirements. All Office 365 plans offer online versions of Office apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), 1 TB per user of file storage and sharing through OneDrive, a 99 percent uptime guarantee, top-notch data security and Active Directory integration for user permissions.

Unsure about your organization’s security? Check out our free security assessment report.

As you move up in the Office 365 plans, you gain access to additional features, such as: 

  • Full desktop versions of Office apps on up to five computers per user
  • Office on tablet or mobile devices (compatible with most tablets and phones regardless of the operating system)
  • Outlook with 50 GB of inbox space per user
  • SharePoint for a customizable intranet
  • Skype for Business instant messenger (also usable as your phone system)
  • Yammer for corporate social networking
  • Compliance protection including encrypted email and data loss prevention

Which Is the Right Choice for Your Business? 

To make this decision, consider the following factors:

Desired Programs and Features

Assess your needs and priorities. If basic Office programs like Word, PowerPoint and Excel suffice, either a stand-alone Office 2016 version or a lower-level Office 365 plan should meet your requirements. 

However, if you need more advanced features or access to programs like SharePoint, Office 365 is the way to go. It’s worth noting that with Office 365’s subscription model, you get access to new features as they become available, offering constant updates and improvements.


If accessing your information from multiple devices is vital for your workflow, Office 365 is the optimal choice. While Office 2016 allows saving files to the cloud, Office 365 provides you with more extensive options for access and allows installation on multiple machines. 

Additionally, you can access online versions of Office apps from any device with an internet connection, further enhancing productivity and flexibility.

Movement Between Plans

Consider the possibility of needing to upgrade your plan in the future. With Office 2016 being standalone software, upgrading and adding features would require purchasing and installing new licenses for all users. 

In contrast, Office 365 users have the advantage of effortlessly switching between plans in the admin center at any time, offering scalability and adaptability to evolving business needs.


Evaluate your budget and payment preferences. Office 2016 is a one-time cost per user, necessitating a larger upfront expense. However, after the initial payment, there are no further monthly fees. 

Office 365 operates on a subscription model, meaning there’s no upfront cost, but you’ll pay a set monthly fee per user per month. If you prefer not to commit a significant initial investment or want to enjoy continuous updates and access to features, Office 365 might be the more suitable option.

Office 365 vs Office 2016: Next Steps

At SkyTerra, we’re here to support your business growth and help you make the right decision when it comes to the Office 365 vs Office 2016 debate. If you’re ready to make the move to Office 365 or want to explore other ways we can assist your business like end-user support, don’t hesitate to contact us or book a meeting with our expert team. 

We’re committed to providing the right guidance to ensure your success in the cloud. 

Let’s embark on this journey together!

Bret Tartaglino

Bret Tartaglino

Bret strives to best understand each customer’s business needs and how to align customers to their IT roadmap to provide a secure, modernized environment.