What Are the Differences Between Microsoft 365 vs Office 365

Understanding the differences between Office 365 and Microsoft 365 is very important in today’s tech world. Both services come from Microsoft and have similar features, but they offer different things, target different audiences, and have unique deployment capabilities. This document explains these differences clearly, helping users make informed decisions based on their needs.

What is Office 365?

Office 365 has been replaced by Microsoft 365, but its tools remain part of the package. This includes what many know as Microsoft Office. Before, Microsoft Office was a software suite that was bought with a license. The essential programs were Word for text processing, Excel for spreadsheets, and PowerPoint for presentations. These tools are so popular that their names are often used to describe similar solutions in their fields. Office 365 offered more than just these programs. Let’s take a closer look.

Features and Benefits of Office 365

The cloud version of Office 365 offers significant benefits, changing how people and organisations work. It provides strong cloud app security to protect data from unauthorised access and threats. You can access your work on almost all mobile devices and computers, allowing you to work from anywhere. Office apps receive continuous updates, giving users the latest features and security improvements. This keeps productivity tools up-to-date and meets modern workflow needs.

Traditional Office apps


The well-known text editor offers templates, helpful tools, and spell-checking. The cloud version of Office 365 includes Microsoft Editor and OneDrive. You can create a text document from any device with Microsoft Editor’s help to make your writing clear and concise. It helps translate and spell-check multiple languages. If you store your documents in shared OneDrive, you can work with others in real time on your documents.


Excel is the golden standard of spreadsheets. Machine learning, built into the Office 365 version, helps you organise data to fit your work style. The mobile Excel app can even convert a photo of a printed spreadsheet into a new Excel file that is ready to edit.


PowerPoint allows you to add animations, turns handwritten notes into text, and converts freehand drawings into shapes. Using all features in one presentation could be overwhelming. PowerPoint has an AI feature that assists in practising presentations, adjusting speaking pace, and keeping speakers’ notes off the audience-facing screen.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a complete set of cloud productivity tools from Microsoft. It offers plans for small and medium businesses, enterprises, students, and home users. Microsoft often buys and integrates solutions into its suite. The tools in the cloud-based subscription keep growing to meet more user needs.

Features and Benefits of Microsoft 365

In addition to the traditional Office apps, Microsoft 365 introduces several other apps and tools designed to enhance end-user productivity significantly.

Email and calendaring

Microsoft Outlook: Microsoft Schedule evolved into Outlook, significantly improving productivity tools. Outlook is a one-stop platform for emails, calendars, contacts, and tasks. It makes scheduling easy. Users can quickly add appointments from emails to their calendars and include Microsoft Teams links for meetings. The app makes managing contacts and tasks simple, showing modern efficiency in communication.

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business gives every user at least 1 TB of secure cloud storage. It lets users store files safely in the cloud for personal and team use. Make folders private or share them with your team for easy file collaboration.

Collaboration tools

Microsoft 365’s productivity suite includes leading collaboration tools.

Microsoft Teams: This tool is great for collaborative work, allowing easy sharing and cooperation across different devices and countries. It’s included in the basic Microsoft 365 business plan and acts as a central place for teamwork, letting users share and edit documents from Microsoft 365 applications.
SharePoint: Sharing through OneDrive works well, but SharePoint takes internal collaboration further by letting you create a mobile intranet for your business. This network improves organisational efficiency by giving each team its own SharePoint site, creating a connected and productive work environment.

Comparison Between Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365

While both Microsoft products offer Office 365 packages, Microsoft 365 plans include device management tools, advanced security features, and the Windows operating system. The table below highlights the differences between the business plans of Microsoft 365 and Office 365:

Microsoft 365 vs Office 365 table

What is the Best Microsoft 365 Plan for your Business?

The real question is how many advanced features your team needs. Factors to consider include:

Factors to consider

  • Size: Determine how many users you need now and in the future. If you expect growth, choose a plan with more licenses and storage space than currently required or one that’s easy to scale.
  • Type of organisation: Microsoft 365 has plans for nonprofits, schools, and frontline workers. Explore these options if you’re not a conventional for-profit business.
  • Typical tasks: Consider whether you need to manage emails, calendars, and documents or if you regularly create presentations and host large meetings or webinars.
  • Budget: You can start with most Microsoft 365 plans for free to see if they fit your needs. Pricing varies, so know your budget and compare it to your current systems and subscriptions.
  • Other details: Consider whether your team works remotely or on-site and needs access to your files from different devices, operating systems, and locations.
  • Use cases: Look into plans that include Microsoft 365 apps if you plan to build low-code apps, a customised intranet, or move more activities online for remote work.

Which is right for you, Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365?

Office 365 and Microsoft 365 offer tools for productivity and collaboration. Microsoft 365 includes more features and services than Office 365, which is more affordable. Both provide an integrated and secure platform to streamline work, improve teamwork, and increase productivity. Microsoft regularly updates both to keep them leading in productivity tools, making them an excellent choice for efficient work.


Does Microsoft 365 include Enterprise Mobility Suite security E5?

Microsoft 365 lets you add Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) E5 for better security and compliance. This security suite includes identity and access management, threat protection, information protection, and security management. EMS E5 helps organisations secure and manage their devices, identities, and applications in the cloud and on-premises.

Can you use Microsoft 365 without a licence?

Some Microsoft 365 features, like viewing shared Word or Excel documents online, are available without a license. However, you need an active license to use Microsoft 365 fully, including creating and editing documents. Users must subscribe to a plan that fits their needs to access all productivity tools and security features of Microsoft 365.

Can you use Microsoft 365 offline?

You can use critical Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook offline. You can create, edit, and save documents without an internet connection. The full features, including OneDrive cloud storage and collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams, need an internet connection. When you reconnect to the internet, files synchronise and share updates across devices for smooth collaboration.

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