Top Office 365 questions answered

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A week ago today, Office 365 Home Premium launched worldwide, giving busy people and families new ways to get more done at home, at school and on the go. From customer events in New York, Sao Paulo, Toronto, London and other major cities around the globe, as well as via social media, we’ve received a few common questions about what is included in Office 365 Home Premium and the fastest ways to get started with the new service. We wanted to answer some of those top questions right here.

What is the difference between Office 365 and Office 2013?

The new Office has been updated with a host of new capabilities, cloud connection and social features. It is available two different ways:

  • Office 365 is our services brand. Office 365 Home Premium is the first Office subscription service for consumers. It includes a complete set of Office applications (i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access); works across up to five devices (Windows tablets, PCs and Macs); and includes additional SkyDrive storage and Skype calling. Because Office 365 services are always improving, subscribers receive new features and services as soon as they are ready, ensuring they are always up to date and don’t have to be hassled with upgrades.
  • Office editions, such as Office Home and Student 2013, are designated by a year model and are current as of that year model (just like a car). These editions include different applications depending on what you need, and are ideal for people who only have one machine.

Which should I get: Office 365 Home Premium or a traditional Office 2013 edition?

Here is some general buying advice:

Subscription is probably right if you:

  • Have three or more devices (Windows tablets, PCs or Macs) in your household
  • Are a university student
  • Want the very latest technology, upgrade your devices frequently (three years or faster), or use Outlook, Publisher or Access

A traditional Office 2013 edition is probably right if you have two or fewer devices in your household.

Does Office 365 only work in the browser? Do I have to be online?

No and no. Office 365 combines the power of Office with the flexibility of the cloud. As a subscriber, you are using full Office applications that ‘stream’ from the cloud and ‘roam’ across your devices. Just as you might subscribe to services such as Spotify or Netflix for entertainment anywhere, subscribing to Office 365 means your personal content goes wherever you go. The key difference is that with Office 365, you don’t have to be online. Office 365 Home Premium runs just fine without a connection.  Your docs in SkyDrive can sync locally, so you can always get to them, even when you’re disconnected. 

Can I use Office 365 Home Premium on my Mac?

Yes. Office 365 Home Premium can be used across up to five devices, including Macs, Windows tablets or PCs. Mac users will start out with Office for Mac 2011, which is updated to include activation for Office 365 Home Premium. To download and install Office for Mac 2011, subscribers simply go to  (Note:  Office for Mac 2011 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and requires OSX 6.0+.)

A new Office for Mac is coming, and typically, it’s been available roughly a year after Office for Windows.  As a subscriber to Office 365 Home Premium, you will automatically get the new Office for Mac when it’s available.

What happens if I cancel my subscription? Do I lose all my content?

Your content is always your content. After an Office 365 subscription expires, you can still access your docs whenever you choose, and you can use the Office Web Apps to create, read, edit and share your stuff. Although the full Office applications go into ‘reduced-functionality mode,’ you can still use them to read and print your Office documents. If you’re using more than the free 7GB of SkyDrive storage, you can expand that for $10/year or move your content after the Office 365 subscription has expired.

Can I work from home if I have Office 365 Home Premium?

You may be able to use Office for work at home if your employer has licensed you appropriately through a number of work-at-home options.  If you use Office at work, it’s likely you can use it at home, and with Office 365 Home Premium, you would just sign in with your OrgID.  If you’re uncertain, your best bet is to ask your employer.

 If you’re a small business owner who doesn’t have Office as part of work, you should look at Office 365 Small Business Premium, launching next month on Feb. 27. It has a lot of the same capabilities, cloud connections and social features as Office 365 Home Premium and includes email from your domain, business-grade collaboration and a web site for your business.

How will it help save me time?

Office 365 Home Premium combines the full power of the newly-updated Office with the flexibility of the cloud. Your information is always close wherever you are on all your devices. It gives you increased flexibility to get things done when you want on your terms. To see some great examples, check out Time to 365, a crowd-sourced website with tips and tricks from pros and everyday working parents who have found ways to simplify their lives.  

We’re happy to take more of your questions here in the comments section. You can also ask @Office on Twitter. In the meantime, if you want to explore on your own, there’s some great info and the option to try Office 365 Home Premium free for 30 days at

–Clint Patterson, Office Team