Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) for business is priced on a per-user basis, with different plans based on how your business wants to use it. All plans have an annual commitment.
The trick is finding the right plan for your business - which might be based on how your business operates, and therefore whether or not you need desktop versions of the apps, whether you need/want collaboration opportunities, and whether you're looking for the full suite of applications.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic Pricing
Business Basic is the starter package, at £3.80 per user per month. It includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as Teams, SharePoint, Lists, and Forms and all of the other great online tools.
The reason Basic is cheaper is that you don't get to download the apps - you can use web versions only.
There are some minor drawbacks to using web only (things like formatting can be different/less appealing on web), but if you're relatively light users and don't have a large budget, this works well.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard Pricing
Business Standard is £9.40 per user per month.
It adds desktop versions of the main apps, so you can get fully installed and always up-to-date versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for Windows or Mac.
The desktop apps can be installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs per user, which is perfect if people have laptops and desktops, or use their personal computers for work, too. You can, of course, still use the web and mobile versions.
Another element that Standard introduces is Microsoft Bookings, where you can set up a link where people can book directly into your calendar, saving a lot of back and forth when setting up meetings.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium Pricing
Business Premium is £15.10 per user per month. This plan includes everything in the other versions, plus advanced security and device management, covering things like:
- Remotely wiping data from lost or stolen data
- Information rights management
- Cloud archiving
- Automatic deployment of Office apps to Windows 10 PCs
- Restricting copying and saving to unauthorised apps or locations
- Pre-breach threat resistance
For larger businesses, businesses with important/sensitive data, lots of users, lots of devices, and so on, this is the best package for protecting and managing your business and licenses.
Business Premium also includes the licence users need to access the Windows Virtual Desktop service.
Can you buy Office as a one-off, rather than a subscription?
Yes, you can. Office 2019 is available as a one-time purchase. There are no upgrade options, so be aware that if you want the next version when it comes out, you'd have to buy it again. You don't get automatic updates and patches, and there are obviously no collaboration options.
- Office Home & Business 2019 is available for £392 and comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. You can use it on one PC or Mac.
- Office Professional 2019 is £535 and adds Publisher and Access. This one's only available on PC.
Office 2019 is compatible with Windows 10 and the last 3 versions of MacOS.
Can I buy any of the Microsoft apps on their own?
Yes, you can get standalone Office apps for PC and Mac.
- Word: £137
- Excel: £137
- PowerPoint: £137
- Outlook: £137
- Publisher (PC only): £137
- Access (PC only): £137
Generally, purchasing the apps individually isn't the best approach for a business, but the option is there. If you want just the apps and none of the other features of Microsoft 365, the option below is a more effective way to get that...
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
This plan gives you always-up-to-date desktop and mobile versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for PC or Mac (plus Access and Publisher on PC only), 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and web versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The price for Apps for Business is £7.90 per user per month.