Microsoft Office is one of the most popular software suite solutions that contains a number of different programs designed for different purposes. It’s a perfect choice that can be used in both home and professional scenarios – the tools provided by MS Office make it incredibly easy to create spreadsheets, presentations, text documents, and more.

Every single application comes with tons of useful features that speed up and streamline the creation of new documents – this means that apps can be effectively used even by newcomers who don’t have too much knowledge yet. However, if you can spare some time to learn the built-in functionalities, you will be able to quickly create even more advanced documents.

MS Office 2021 is the third release of Office 16 and it brings a number of new functionalities and performance improvements to make the experience smoother than ever before.

What’s included in Office 2021

MS Office 2021 is a bundle of several office applications. Each app serves a different purpose and is meant to be used for different types of tasks.

Office Home & Business 2021 contains the following programs for Mac or Windows:

  • Outlook for organizing and managing your emails, contacts, calendars, and more
  • Word for creating text documents
  • Excel for making advanced spreadsheets
  • PowerPoint for making eye-catching presentations
  • Teams for chatting and online meetings

Home & Student 2021 lacks the Outlook app.

Alternatively, you can choose Microsoft 365 instead – it comes with a number of additional programs, such as SharePoint, Exchange, Access, and Publisher that may also prove to be useful, depending on your needs.

The catch is that Office 2021 is a one-time purchase, while Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service. If you’re a professional user, getting Microsoft 365 may be justified, as it does not only come with a lot of new apps for you to utilize but you’re also guaranteed that they’ll always be updated to the latest version available, as opposed to Office 2021 that is not meant to be updated indefinitely and will require a new purchase if you’d like to use the newly released version

Overview of the Microsoft Office 2021 Versions

Microsoft Office 2021 comes in a number of different versions, which makes it possible to choose the one that fits your needs best, possibly saving you some money. You don’t need to overpay for things you don’t need – think about your use cases and make a sensible choice.

Microsoft Office 2021 has two main variants: Home and Student, and Home and Business. Both versions cover the basic needs of private customers, with the main difference being the licensing type – Home and Student is sold for personal use while Home and Business is an option for those who are looking for a solution made with commercial use in mind. Additionally, Home and Business comes with the Outlook app – a very useful tool for organizing your daily schedule. Both versions are sold in form of a lifetime license.

Alternatively, you may be interested in checking out Microsoft 365, a subscription-based service that provides users with the most complete Office experience there is. It comes in several variants, including Personal, Family, Apps for business, and Business Standard.

For a monthly fee, you’ll get access to not only the best Office apps, but also to a variety of additional features, such as file storage and sharing, web versions of the apps, and professional support that will happily help you solve any Office-related issues.

Business Standard comes with additional options that make it easier to organize your team’s workflow, such as the possibility to host online meetings for up to 300 users or create team sites to easily share information and content with other workers.

For organizations that may want to get MS Office for a large number of systems, Microsoft has Office LTSC 2021 – a special version of MS Office sold under a volume licensing agreement.

To make it easier for you to decide which version of MS Office to pick, we’ve made some comparisons. Here are some of the most important differences between popular Office 2021 variants.

Office 2021 Version Comparison Chart
Home and Student 2021Home and Business 2021Professional 2021Microsoft 365 FamilyMicrosoft 365 Personal
Usage 1 PC or Mac 1 PC or Mac 1 PC or Mac 1-6 people 1 person
Word, Excel, PowerPoint
File storage OneDrive storage OneDrive storage
Tech support
Pricing plan One-time payment One-time payment One-time payment Subscription Subscription


The new version of MS Office comes with a number of features and performance improvements that make it even more enjoyable to use than before.

Here are some of the new features you’ll find in MS Office 2021:

  • XLOOKUP function in Excel that makes it easier to find things in a table or range by row
  • Dynamic arrays in Excel that makes it possible to return multiple cells with one formula
  • Real-time co-authoring that allows multiple people to work with the same document simultaneously
  • Dark theme in Word, which makes working at night much more comfortable and less tiring for the eyes
  • Stock Images built into PowerPoint
  • A convenient translation tool
  • Accessibility checker
  • Improved color picker


As the reason may suggest, the more feature-packed the variant of Office 2021 is, the more expensive it will be. It’s up to you to decide which version is right for you, so you won’t overpay for the things you don’t need.

Office Home and Student and Home and Business are one-time purchases – pay once and get a lifetime license to use the software. The difference in prices is noticeable and it’s worth knowing why – the two versions operate under a different type of license. Home and Student is a personal license, while Home and Business is a commercial one. This means that if you’re planning to monetize your work made with the use of the Office suite, you’ll need to get the commercial license. If you’re planning to use MS Office for your private projects only, then a much cheaper Home and Student version may be the way to go.

It’s worth noting that whenever a new major version of Office is released, you will have to buy it again or stick to the old one. You pay for the software once, but you don’t get access to future major releases.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal are subscription-based services that give you access to the latest Office apps for a monthly fee. The main difference between the two versions is the number of people allowed to use the software. The Personal version can be used by just one person and the Family version can be used by up to 6 people. This means that if you have more than one person interested in using Microsoft 365 in your household, it’s usually better to go for the family edition, as it’s a huge money saver.


Depending on your needs, you may want to get a different version of MS Office – Microsoft carefully tailored a variety of options to appeal to different groups of people. If you live with a family or friends, and you all want to use MS Office software, getting Microsoft 365 Family is a reasonable choice.

If you plan on using MS Office for commercial purposes, getting a commercial license, such as Home and Business, is mandatory. If you don’t mind using outdated programs, you may choose either Home and Business or Home and Student – you will pay only once and you’ll be able to use the software in its current form indefinitely, but you won’t be able to upgrade it to the next major release when it comes. If you’d like to always have access to the most recent Office programs, getting a subscription-based Microsoft 365 is the way to go.