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The release of MS Office 2021 has sparked excitement in the software world, promising substantial improvements over the existing MS Office suite, including new features and enhanced performance. Yet, the question lingers: Is it truly worth the upgrade?

Some argue that if you’re already subscribed to Office 365, transitioning to 2021 may not be necessary. They contend that the new features in 2021, while promising, might appear relatively minor, with most enhancements barely visible, potentially going unnoticed by the majority of users.

In this post, we will take a look into the key details of MS Office 2021 Vs Microsoft 365 Apps, shedding light on their key differences to help you decide which suite is best for you.

MS Office 2021 Vs. MS Office Apps 365

MS Office 2021 represents the most recent desktop iteration of Microsoft Office products, while MS Office in Office 365 stands as the cloud-based variant of the same productivity suite. Both versions include the well-known applications, including MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

When evaluating Microsoft Office 365 versus 2021, it’s crucial to understand the key differences between the two. Let’s take an in-depth look at both versions of the Microsoft Office Suite and compare their features.

Subscription service vs. one-time purchase

The primary distinction between Microsoft Office 365 and 2021 lies in their payment models. Office 365 operates as a subscription service, offering continuous access to the latest software version and online storage and collaboration features. On the other hand, Office 2021 is a one-time purchase, providing updates and support only until the end of its support period.

Online storage and collaboration features

Another significant contrast between Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2021 is the inclusion of online storage and collaboration features in Office 365. This allows users to store documents online and collaborate on them in real-time. Office 365 also offers additional productivity tools like Skype for Business, enhancing team collaboration capabilities

MS Office 2021 solely comprises the classic MS Office applications. If you wish to access any additional apps, you must buy them individually or subscribe to Office 365.

Application differences

There are subtle disparities in the individual applications as well. For instance, Excel in Office 365 offers more features compared to Excel in Office 2021. Office 365 Apps have the ability to open and edit PDFs, a feature not available in PowerPoint in Office 2021.

Internet connection

MS Office in Office 365 necessitates an internet connection for downloading and installation due to its cloud-based nature. In contrast, MS Office 2021 can function offline, making it suitable for users without consistent high-speed internet access or those who prefer working offline.

Cloud storage

MS Office in Office 365 includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage so that you can access your files from anywhere. MS Office 2021 does not have any extra online storage.


When it comes to Office 2021, you have two options: Home & Student 2021, priced at $149.99, and Home & Business 2021, available for $249.99. If you’re leaning towards a Microsoft 365 subscription, there are several choices. The Personal plan costs $69.99 annually or $6.99 monthly, while the Family plan is priced at $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month.


MS Office 2021 provides security updates and bug fixes exclusively. To access new features, you must buy a new version of the software. In contrast, MS Office Apps 365 offers automatic access to new features and updates upon release. With frequent updates, users will never face any issues like Exchange online archive mailbox is not displaying in Outlook, deleted messages coming back, etc.

System requirements

Lastly, it’s important to mention that the system requirements for MS Office 2021 and MS Office applications in Office 365 can vary slightly. However, these differences depend on the age of the desktop version being used.

MS Office 2021 Vs Microsoft 365 Apps
Aspect MS Office 2021 Microsoft 365 Apps
Payment Model One-time purchase Subscription service
Online Storage and Collaboration Limited Extensive
Included Applications Classic MS Office apps Additional apps in subscription
Features in Applications Limited Enhanced and up-to-date
Internet Connection Offline use possible Online installation
Cloud Storage No extra storage 1TB OneDrive storage
Price One-time purchase cost Subscription fee
Updates New features require purchase Automatic updates
System Requirements Varies based on version Varies based on version

MS Office 2021 Vs. MS Office Apps 365 – How are they different?

In summary, the primary distinction between MS Office 2021 and MS Office apps in Office 365 lies in the service model. Office 365 operates as a subscription service, offering online storage and collaboration features, whereas Office 2021 is a single-purchase version without online capabilities. Additionally, there are differences in the specific applications. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs and preferences.

It depends on your needs and preferences. If you need the latest version of the software and access to online features, then Office 365 is the best choice. But if you don’t need those things, Office 2021 may be a better option for you.

You can decide between these two: Microsoft Office 365 vs 2021 as you are now wise enough to make a perfect decision.

How to backup Office 365 emails?

If you are utilizing Office 365 applications, chances are you are also using Office 365 emails. Maintaining a backup of all your email data is a prudent practice. We offer an ideal tool to meet your Office 365 backup requirements. – Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore.

The tool offers to export unlimited Office 365 data to PST, PDF, HTML, MSG, DOC, & DOCX formats. The tool includes automated backup functionality with built-in CSV files, intelligent filters, and the capability to preserve folder hierarchy in a designated location. Furthermore, it ensures the preservation of the original Office 365 mailbox data, making it easy to find old emails in Office 365 and restore the lost data. With comprehensive compatibility across all Office 365 plans and Exchange Server versions, this software offers an ideal solution for Office 365 users seeking to guarantee the safety and security of their data.


When it comes to getting your work done, you’ve got two main choices: MS Office 2021 and MS Office Apps 365. MS Office 2021 is like buying a software package once, and it’s yours forever. MS Office Apps 365, on the other hand, is like subscribing to a service where you pay regularly to use it.

The big difference? MS Office Apps 365 gives you extra stuff, like online storage and collaboration features. You can work on documents together with others in real-time, which can be super handy.

But here’s a tip: If you use Office 365 for important emails, it’s smart to have a backup plan. That’s where the Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore tool comes in. It keeps your emails and other Office 365 data safe, so you don’t lose anything important.

So, which one is better? It depends on what you need and how you work. Make the choice that suits you best, and don’t forget to keep your data safe.


Q- Is Office 2021 the latest version?

A- Office 2021 is indeed the latest version of the Office suite. Developed by Microsoft, this latest iteration was unveiled alongside Windows 11 on October 5, 2021. The update comes with several enhancements, including dynamic arrays & VLOOKUP features for Excel, full dark mode support, & performance improvements. These additions make the suite more feature-rich & improve the user experience.

Q- Is Microsoft 365 apps the same as Office 365?

A- Microsoft 365 Apps is indeed a version of Office, but it’s available through various Office 365 & Microsoft 365 plans. However, it offers the same applications that we all know & love, such as Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, PowerPoint, & Word. Also, it includes some lesser-known programs like Teams, Skype for Business, OneNote & Access.

Q- Is Office 2021 a one-time purchase?

A- Office 2021 is a one-time purchase that gives you access to the classic Microsoft apps like Word, Excel, & PowerPoint for both PC & Mac. This means that you can use these applications without having to subscribe to Microsoft 365 services. Unlike the subscription model, Office 2021 is a more cost-effective option for those who don’t need the full range of services provided by the 365 subscriptions.

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