What MS Office package should we select?
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Thread: What MS Office package should we select?

  1. #1
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    What MS Office package should we select?

    Years ago it was known as MS Office. Wasn't too difficult to figure out what you needed and what the product provided and what the cost would be. Buy the program, install it and off you went.

    Not so easy to figure out what MS Office (in general) package you need now, or I should say with this which package you can use with your system and your needs.

    We are a young growing company and have been using OpenOffice for the past couple of years which was good enough for us until now. Many of our customers use Excel and we find there are issues that are created transforming spreadsheets from OOffice to Excel and back again. Long story.

    We have 5 stand alone systems. All running a version of Windows 10 (some Home and some Pro).

    Our biggest need is Excell. The other add ons such as Word, Powerpoint, Publisher etc are a bonus but not really needed at this time. "Access" would be good as I have experience in the past with some SQL and using Crystal Report Writer (almost 15 years ago) and I am usually charged with creating reports for sales, inventory etc.

    We do not have an I.T. department and we do not have our systems connected using any networking capability. Any information we share is done using GDocs up in the cloud.

    We all have Dell PCs or laptops and one HP laptop.

    With all the MS Office products to choose from it is difficult to figure out what we want to spend our money on.

    The boss would like something on the "cloud" so we can all share/edit/print etc spreadsheets. It does not have to be cloud based depending on the cost and the limitations of sharing information. Are there limitations of using a cloud based MS Office product?

    If we buy a package to install on our individual PCs/laptops do you have to purchase per users licenses. How does that work.

    I would like to have the ability to work with Access. Many of our other programs are cloud based and I can download CSV files and set up data tables, link them together and create reports in Access as I did with Crystal. I may have to get information from two or three different one of our cloud based programs to download to CSV and then work with them in Access to create the reports that the boss wants.

    We have to keep in mind that we need to be flexible in the way of data storage in the future so if we advance to an in house IT department we have to be able to transition.

    With all the MS Office packages available which would be suggested for our needs. I have read for hours and still can't figure out which would be best for our needs. Dollar for Dollar is hard to figure also.

    My boss said something about a "Life Subscription" being available.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated very much.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    There are basically 2 options, with sub-options for each depending on a user's needs:

    Office 365:

    Microsoft would like you to believe that this is less expensive than the perpetual licensed version of Office. It isn't, you pay an annual fee to use it. Don't pay and it stops working, except for viewing documents.

    The one advantage it has is if you want to have multiple users editing the same document simultaneously. You can't do that with the stand-alone version of Office. It is also always updated to the latest version, which can be both good and bad. You get any new "features" that may be added, but you also get any old features removed that Microsoft wants to get rid of. Also, updates are automatic and if they break something, you are out of luck until Microsoft fixes them.

    Plan info:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_365


    Perpetual License Office:

    You pay once and install the software The license does not expire. Eventually, Microsoft may no longer provide security updates and you may have to purchase the latest version of Office.

    Home & Student:
    Word, Excel, PowerPoint

    Home & Business:
    Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook

    Professional:
    everything, including Access


    Microsoft continually tries to make its licensing types more and more difficult to understand, so figuring out how to get what you need without paying Microsoft for a lot os things you don't need is not easy.

  3. #3
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    The latest round of confusion from Microsoft:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/micros...s-on-march-30/

    This appears to have the "Life Subscription" (dis)information. Note that you still pay for it annually, you don't pay once and get a lifetime subscription. It is just marketing hype.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info jdc2000, much appreciated!!

    My boss seems to be leaning more towards the "Cloud". Is 365 cloud based?

    Access is important to me now, will be more important to my boss as his requirements for my reporting from me gets more difficult and involved. Question - when we do purchase and it includes Access will it matter which version/package of "MS Office" we purchase as to what the capabilities will be in Access (all functionality)?

    So there really is no such thing as a pay once "life time" license?

  5. #5
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    Office 365 still installs the office software on your local computer. It does allow the sharing of documents.

    If you get the version with Access, it will have all functionality - there is no limited version of Access.

    One additional thing to keep in mind is whether to use the 32-bit or 64-bit version of either Office 201x or Office 365. If you will be using VBA macros, the 64-bit version has some limits on what will work, and there are code differences as well. I recommend using the 32-bit version of Office to avoid any issues if you will be using VBA (Visual Basic for Applications).

    More links:

    https://www.windowscentral.com/offic...you-should-get

    https://www.computerworld.com/articl...ffice-365.html

    https://www.thurrott.com/cloud/offic...ally-happening


    And, No, there is no "lifetime license" as you are thinking of it. You can get a perpetual license version of Office, and the license does not expire so you can always use it, but at some point Microsoft will no longer support it with security updates.

  6. #6
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    Another link that might be useful:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/micros...-need-to-know/

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Hi jdc2000

    Thanks for all the links. Appreciated much!!

    What I did is I gave my boss the link to this thread. I think it best that he reads the links that you provided and he can make his decision on what he would want to buy. He knows much better than me what his business needs will be over the next couple of years and what he feels he wants to spend his money on going forward.

    I think this is much easier than me reading this all and then trying to explain to him everything.

  9. #9
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    I don't know what sort of IT resources are available in your area, but one option is to pay an IT consultant to analyze your business needs and recommend a solution or solutions. A consultant would want more information than you would probably want to post here in order to make an accurate analysis and recommendation.

  10. #10
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    Thanks jdc2000. That is a good suggestion. However at this point my boss is pretty good tech-wise when it comes to this. I believe he would understand much of the nuances about the different packages and what they provide than I would. This is why I advised him to read this thread and go from there as this is over my head at this point from what I used to know. I have not kept up with the times as much as he has and he is younger than me. I was just trying to take some of the burden off of him by doing it but apparently that did not work out.

  11. #11
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