Today is the day that Office 365 is rebadged Microsoft 365, complete with several new features as Microsoft moves to give its favoured subscription model a wider appeal.
Existing Office 365 subscribers need do nothing – as of today, your plan seamlessly switches to the equivalent Microsoft 365 plan. But the rebadged service also launches with several new features designed to tempt more subscribers. But if you remain unconvinced by the subscription model, we’ve got two great deals for Office 2019 and Windows 10, offering licenses that won’t expire.
Like its predecessor, Microsoft 365 offers different tiers depending on user needs. Microsoft 365 Personal offers a single user license across unlimited devices for $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year. Microsoft 365 Family replaces Office 365 Home, and the name change reflects the fact it’s designed to be shared across households – up to six people, across all their devices. This costs $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.
All existing benefits – including six Office applications*, 1TB OneDrive storage for each user and up to 60 minutes call-time on Skype per month – are rolled over to the new packages.
The new feature sees Ideas for Word – a Grammarly-style editing tool to improve writing quality – get rebadged as Microsoft Editor. Accessible via the Review tab in Word (click ‘Check Document’), the feature now rolls out to Outlook.com and Chromium-based browsers as a standalone extension – note, basic functionality is available to all users, but Microsoft 365 subscribers gain access to advanced writing aids, from deeper grammar checks to refinement suggestions to improve clarity, brevity and so on.
PowerPoint users will benefit from an updated Presenter Coach tool, now capable of detecting additional problems such as voices that sound too monotonous, along with numerous new design elements from backgrounds to fonts.
Elsewhere, Excel users should keep an eye out for the arrival of new dynamic templates – also found in Word and PowerPoint, designed to simplify document creation across a wide range of subjects. For example, the forthcoming Money in Excel template is designed to help users keep track of their personal finances in the program. Other improvements will include the ability to import a wider range of data types spanning everything from food portions to places.
Microsoft is also extending its Teams communication and collaboration tool to families, with Microsoft Office 365 subscribers able to set up groups for family, friends and other personal activities. All Teams functionality, from chats to video conferencing, is available.
Not everyone will be thrilled with this obvious push to turn users into ongoing subscribers. Thankfully, for those determined to pay once for software, we’ve lined up a couple of great deals for you to take advantage of.
First up is Office 2019, the standalone version that was only released back in February. You can purchase Office 2019 Home & Student – comprising Word, Excel and PowerPoint – for just $79.00, saving 47% on the MSRP, or Office 2019 Home & Business – which also includes Outlook – for just $149, a saving of 40%. Both include a single-PC/Mac license that doesn’t expire.
Second is a great deal on Windows 10 Professional – a single, non-expiring license can be yours for just $39.99, a saving of 80% on the MSRP.
This can be used to upgrade an existing PC from Windows 7 or 8.1, set up a virtual machine or even to unlock new features in an existing Windows 10 Home installation, such as BitLocker drive encryption, greater control over Windows Update and access to Hyper-V virtualisation features.
When upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Pro, there’s no need to reinstall – simply open ‘Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation’ and click ‘Change product key’ to enter your new Windows 10 Professional product key and unlock the new features. Done and dusted inside five minutes.
Microsoft 365 Personal and Family are both available now as single and multi-user subscriptions respectively. Purchase your single-user, perpetual licenses of Office 2019 Home & Student ($79), Office 2019 Home & Business ($149) and Windows 10 Professional Edition ($39.99) through the Downloadcrew Software Store. To create Windows installation media, check out the Media Creation Tool.
*Access and Publisher are PC-only. Other products – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook – are also available on mobile and Mac.