MS Office 2016: Features and Pricing Summary

John Lister's picture

Microsoft Office 2016 goes on sale today (September 22, 2015). Here is what's new and how it fits into the new Windows 10 setup, with cloud and collaboration the key focus.

How much does Office 2016 cost?

When it comes to cost, there are two options for Office 2016. The first is as an outright purchase, which is $149 for the "Home & Student" edition and $229 for the "Home & Business" edition. In this scenario, MS Office is installed on the computer as with past editions. The only updates are security fixes to the program. (Source:

The second option is for the Office 365 subscription system. This includes a monthly fee of $6.99 for a Personal (one user) package or $9.99 for a Home package, which includes two to five users. With Office 365, the software is valid only if the user is subscribed; users will automatically receive the latest updates including the upgrade to Office 2016 and any new features as and when they are released. Only a few program files are physically on the computer with this setup, with much of the processing work done online.

Can I run Office 2016 on my PC?

To install Office 2016 on a Windows PC, the minimum operating system requirements are Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) or later. The hardware requirements aren't too demanding: a minimum of a 1 GHz processor is required, with 2GB of RAM and at least 3GB spare on the hard drive. There's also a Mac version available.

What are the new features?

Most of the big changes relate to collaboration, such as working on documents with other people, which is often done in a workplace environment. For example, two users can work on the same Word document at the same time and see the changes each other make immediately. It's also much more easier to arrange a screen for Skype video conferences, which makes discussing and working on documents effortless. (Source:

These features were already available for Office 365 users, but have been added to the desktop version of Office for the first time.

There are also a few minor usability tweaks. For example, the new "Tell Me" search box lets users type in the function or desired setting, and then the relevant menu will automatically pop-up. Of course, one could argue that if users are relying on a search tool to find their way round a menu system, it's either too complicated or badly designed.

Finally, there's two completely new applications for the Desktop system alongside old favorites such as Word and PowerPoint. Sway is a tool designed to make it easier to produce interactive presentations and reports. Delve is designed to make it easier to keep track of information across multiple documents and even different Office applications.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you interested in getting Office 2016? Do you prefer the outright purchase or monthly subscription model? Do you use new features or do older versions of Office still meet your needs?

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Average: 5 (4 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

I'm not too picky when it comes to MS Office or Word Processing in general. I think they pretty much nailed the idea of word processing and how to make a decent word processor well over a decade or two ago - with the idea still being pretty much the same as it is today: you write a document and use spell check to correct errors.

As for the new features in Office 2016: I don't see how useful it would be to collaborate on the same document at the same time on a regular basis. I see a whiteboard being more effective to share an idea which often involves drawing diagrams. Nonetheless, collaboration on a document is a neat idea, plus being able to store documents on the web is great if you are on the go or use multiple devices.

As for the pricing structure: it's still far too expensive than it needs to be. At $9.99 a month the cloud option alone will cost roughly $120 a year. Google Docs costs nothing and it's already on the cloud.

howard_5051's picture

I've just upgraded both our Dell laptop & our re-built desktop to Windows 10. I then reloaded Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 on both machines. (with two licences!) Both installations went OK, without any hitches and Windows has since downloaded a number of Office Updates - all of which have loaded OK.

Since the 2007 version does everything I need from Word / Excel / PowerPoint I see no advantage in upgrading. In particular I have no desire to create documents in the 'cloud'.

dan_2160's picture

CAUTION: Before upgrading to Office 2016, you should be aware that Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, put really huge spaces between the icons in the Quick Access Toolbar, effectively reducing the number of icons visible to about 15. There's a "..." at the right end which gets you to any additional icons you've put in the Quick Access Toolbar (making them not so quickly accessed). I guess Microsoft wanted to make the icons more touchscreen friendly -- but failed to consider that the vast majority of users type and use a mouse when writing in Word or using Excel, etc. and don't waste time with the extra steps needed to touch the screen.

Otherwise the upgrade (which seemlessly uninstalls Office 2013) retains your Office settings and preferences pretty well.

I've never been a fan of Microsoft Office, long preferring Lotus Word Pro to MS Word. But business dictated that I have to use Office for many documents. Finally, with Office 2013 (aka Office 365), Office became not only tolerable, but actually much more useable and productive. I'm not quite pleased with Excel and PowerPoint, but especially Excel which has become downright enjoyable to use. The cell styles have really helped. And the free (for personal or nonprofit use) ASAP utility simplifies hundreds of Excel activities. Word, which is still a bit awkward to use and not appropriate for long structured documents, has vastly improved in terms of useability. The paragraph styles remain more than a bit awkward to use (Microsoft could learn a lot from Lotus Word Pro and the Corel Ventura Publisher desktop publishing program despite its age). But I'm able to use Word now without swearing at it.

My biggest gripe with all versions of Office is that when each document you open appears in a separate instance of Word, Excel, etc. A few years ago I stumbled upon Office Tab from the good folks at This inexpensive gem (something like $25) changes the behavior of each office program so that multiple documents open in a single instance of the program. It gives you tabs (very customizable) like in a web browser. You can even rename a file by right-clicking it tab; close a file by double-clicking on its tab. Office Tab is an incredible productivity tool well worth its price. (I do not work for ExtendOffice nor have any financial interest in the conmpany. I'm just an extremely happy customer and wish to share the joy.)

georgegrimes's picture

I understand why companies would prefer a subscription-based model as it gives them a steady, predictable income stream. I don't see an advantage for me. I'd rather install, upgrade, and spend at my discretion.
I also have no desire to create files in the cloud. I'd rather have them on my computer.
I personally see not a reason to move to Office 365. In fact, when my laptop died, I did not go through the hassle of trying to persuade Microsoft to let me reinstall Office on my replacement system. I just installed LibreOffice instead and never looked back. It was much faster and easier than dealing with Microsoft.

David's picture

For 'look and feel', Office 2000 is it. The introduction of the Ribbon is one of Microsoft's low points. I liked a nice, customized toolbar that had all my most-frequently used commands laid out in a way that made sense to me, and actual Menus for whatever else. The only valued improvements since 2000 have been new or expanded formulas in Excel, increased maximum size of spreadsheets, and overcoming the 2GB .pst size limit.

bern's picture

I have upgraded to W10 and reloaded Office 2007, even so it still contains 80% of features that I've never ever used even at work, let alone at home. There needs to be a version of office the has the 20% real world people actually use at 20% of the price. Then maybe I'll upgrade.