Excel Series: Office 2016 vs 365

When deciding whether to upgrade to a different version of Excel, or if IT has already upgraded you, it is important to understand the differences between Office 2016 and 365.

Office 2016 vs Office 365 - comparing the products

We will be looking at the differences in features and pricing for both Office 2016 and 365, as well as having a look at the 2019 version for comparison purposes.

Characteristics of Office 2016 to 365

Office 2016Office 2019Office 365
Once-off purchaseOnce-off purchaseSubscription service
One device licenseOne device license5 device licenses
Windows 7 or higherWindows 10Windows 7 or higher
Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, AccessOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, AccessIncludes online services such as Teams, Yammer, Sway
N/AN/A1TB cloud storage
Security updatesSecurity updatesMonthly feature updates
Good for home and small business usersStop gap for corporates not ready to go fully cloud based. Includes a subset of Office 365 features.Best value for money for lots of people

Features of Office 2016 vs 365

Office 2016Office 365
Autosave to hard driveAutosave to cloud
One user at a timeCo-author with others (work in the same workbook at the same time)
Basic pen and ink colorsInk effects like rainbow, galaxy and others
Tell me what you want to doOffice Training Center to assist with learning about features such as templates, teams and tips
Select non-contiguous cells using CtrlDeselect cells previously selected incorrectly
 Built-in translator in the Review ribbon to translate words and phrases
 Changes to the ribbon icons
Slightly laggy lookup functions in large spreadsheets67% reduction in processing time with lookup functions such as VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP and MATCH
Column, bar, radial and other chartsMap chart and funnel chart added
Type equationUse stylus to write an equation – Excel automatically converts to correct equation
Browse to add hyperlink to existing fileSuggests recent links
Type function name exactlyImproved autocomplete to type a portion of the function name
Generic PivotTable layoutsSave your own layout as a default option
Access PivotTable calculations from the ribbonCalculations can now be added from the field list
 A handful of other PivotTable and Power Pivot improvements
 Publish to PowerBI and use the Power Query feature called “Get and Transform” from within Excel

Not sure what we are talking about in the above table, make sure you head on over to book your spot in one of our upcoming Excel Intermediate courses!

Price comparison of Office 2019 vs 365

The older Office 2016 package is no longer available for purchase as it has been replaced with the updated 2019 version.

PackageOffice 2019Office 365
Home & Student    
PriceR1 899 once-offR1 199 pa (or R119 pm)
Devices1 device5 devices
Users1 user6 users
ProgramsWord, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Access
PriceN/AR899 pa (or R89 pm)
Devices  5 devices
Users  1 user
Programs  Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Access
PriceR4 899 once-offR125.40 per user per month
Devices1 device5 x 3 devices
Users1 user1 user
ProgramsOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNoteOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher


As indicated above, there are a lot of things that can be considered in making the decision regarding whether or not to upgrade. In conclusion, for a home or individual user, the upgrade from 2016 to 2019 is most likely not worthwhile. However, Microsoft is pushing towards a subscription service and will be discontinue their support of Office 2016 and 2019 in the near future.

For businesses on the other hand, moving towards the subscription service for Office 365 has definite benefits as the ability to work in teams using the online tools will improve the efficiency of the business.

Finally, it’s time for your thoughts. If you have upgraded or are in the progress of upgrading, what has been the make-or-break factor in your decision? Please leave a comment below for other readers to benefit from. ?