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What are the differences between Microsoft Office 2016, Office 2019 and Office 365?

Microsoft Office may be the de facto productivity tool for millions of workers worldwide, but it’s no monolith. Rather than a single, towering smooth-black Office, there’s a whole Stonehenge of options: Office on the iPhone, on iPad, Office on Android smartphones, Office on personal computers, Windows and macOS, Office with a handful of applications, Office with fistfuls’.

But when you get down to it, there are really only two kinds of Office. One, which most label Office 2016, is the stand-alone suite that traces its roots back to the last century. (Its successor is Office 2019.) The other, Office 365, is the subscription service that debuted in 2011.

How they differ can be confusing, especially since each includes, more or less, the same applications. Here are three top ways to tell these tools apart, and a look at what’s coming, based on Microsoft’s recently announced new support policies for the upcoming Office 2019, as well as Office 365, down the road.

How Office is paid for

Of the differences between Office 2016 and Office 365, purchase plans are among the most striking.

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