Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me
looking for freeware

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Why Should I Pay For Office?

Sunday, March 13th, 2016 by | Filed Under: Free Downloads, MS Office Help

We had a reader pretty fired up about the cost of Microsoft Office.  “I have 4 computers in my house.  Microsoft office wants $150 each for a lifetime license on Office 365.  Or $99 per year for all 4.  Question #1  : When did Microsoft get into the ransomware business ?   Question # 2 am I crazy to pay as much for this one software license as I did for the new HP Pavilion computer ? Question # 3 : Why should I pay $99 per year to access MY WORK ?”

Let’s go over this point by point. Understand that if you have already installed a copy of Word or Office on your PC from a disc, that license isn’t going to expire. It’s a lifetime license for that PC. If those programs are on your computer, you don’t need to do anything.


The price you’re quoting for a lifetime installation of Office is about right. That’s the price it’s been for some time. But realize that Office is more than just one program. It’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  You could choose to get a subscription to Office 365 for $99 per year. That subscription is good for up to 5 devices.  Now, if you get the Office subscription and let it lapse, you can still read those documents you’ve created in Word and Excel. You just won’t be able to edit them in those programs.  But you can certainly open them in other programs like WordPad or any other nearly any other word processing or spreadsheet program.


I’m not sure where you’re getting “ransomware.”  Ransomware sneaks onto your computer and locks it. Office is something you choose to buy and install. It’s an expensive program that can do a lot.

In fact, it may be a little more than you even need for home use. If you’re just looking for a word processor, the WordPad program that comes with Windows does a good job.


Or you can use Office, Excel and Powerpoint for free online at They will allow you to create, read and edit any documents  or presentations originally created in Office. The free apps are also available for Android and iPhone and iPad.


You could also choose to download free office suites like LibreOffice or Open Office. These programs allow you to also read and edit any file created in Office and also to create new ones.


I have the $99 a year Office 365 subscription and I like it a lot. I like Word and I like having the Outlook mail client available.  I also appreciate that I got an automatic upgrade to Office 2016 when it became available. No need to buy another disc and install. I’ve been very happy with Office, so I’m glad to renew. But whether or not it makes sense for you will depend on how many of the functions of a paid Office subscription you really use.

Wordpad or one of the free options may be a better fit for you.

~ Cynthia

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to “Why Should I Pay For Office?”

  1. Jadesqr says:

    Hey Cynthia, Great thread on ‘Office’ however, my opinion is, it depends on what the user is trying to do. Full blown ‘Office’ is a monster with capabilities unknown to the casual user, and which I would not recommend for normal everyday ‘checkbook’ balancing, or a casual blog.
    The key word here is ‘integration’ and how one program interacts with another. If you don’t need your ‘word-processor’ to coordinate with a ‘database’, in my opinion, you don’t need ‘Office'; Microsoft Works is probably more than adequate, and is usually free.
    The real ‘gorilla’ in the room, underrated here, is ‘Access’. Access, properly programmed is capable of supporting any medium sized corporation. If you don’t need to do that, why waist the money. You are paying for ‘bells and whistles’ generated over years of business software experience.
    Any casual home user would best be served by your recommendation of ‘LibreOffice’ or ‘OpenOffice’.
    As to the anonymous users ‘ransomeware’ comment, I totally get it, with my tongue firmly planted in my ‘cheek'; get it?

  2. Claude Green says:

    There are 3 additional programs that are not mentioned here. Word we know about and is likely the most used word processor in existence. Excel is very important is the business community and is also well known. To single out Access and leave out Outlook, Publisher and PowerPoint is a very bad dis-service to the business community. Cynthia correctly points out that many of the apps are free in the Outlook.Com environment. She does not mention that you can still purchase the Office Home and Student and Home and Business, as well as Office Professional as single licenses as you have been able to continuously for at least the last 20 years. Claude

  3. art Sanders says:

    I think the reader was calling the Office software “ransom”, as in being held up by the robber-barons of MS. That is the way I think she/he meant it to be. Art

  4. Ernest White says:

    I have no need for any kind of office software!
    Even if I did I would try words or one of the others

  5. Ron MVP says:

    Couple of Points:
    The “Ransomware” comment is kinda appropriate in relation to the switch to keep-paying-forever “subscription” licenses from one-time payment licenses that we are used to. Being “forced” to pay a recurring “subscription” for something you previously “owned” (not really, but that is what people thought and felt) certainly can make 365 feel like ransomware.

    You correctly pointed out that one-time payment licenses are still an option, but MS has been doing it’s best to hide them, and cripple them (reduced installs to one machine only from 2 or 3! while 365 allows 3 devices per licensed user: PC/Mac, PLUS “tablet”, PLUS “phone”) and add all sorts of “bells and whistles” to the 365 bundle to make 365 “more desirable” or “a better deal”.

    You did miss a point. While 365 Home is a “better deal” for people with 3 or more computers “in their family”, there is also 365 Personal for users with only a single computer. It costs US$70 per year.

    There are a number of ways to save money on 365 subscriptions:
    – allow autopayment when you subscribe to get a “free” extra month, later cancel the autopay
    – buy Office 365 at same time you buy a computer, many stores have a $20 discount offer
    – look for sales & discount offers, ie:
    – MS sometimes have sale and so do some online stores.
    – at one time Amazon charged less for a license you buy via snail mail vs one you buy with an online download
    – if you use Office at work, and your employer has paid for it you can take advantage of the “HUP”, Home Use Program. Get Office Pro Plus for US$10 while you work for that employer
    – some schools now provide students with a free copy of 365 Education
    – students at many colleges and universities qualify for 365 University, a US$80 subscription that lasts for 4 years
    – active and retired military (and some paramilitary) can get discount

  6. JJM says:

    I good reason to record your License/Product Keys. If unknown use KeyFinder or another. I transferred a couple programs from my Broke computer to a replacement at no cost other than a little additional hassle.
    Problem – some programs are now somehow locking to a particular computer or MS Product Key.

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

looking for freeware
WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive