User experience in Office 2019 and Microsoft 365: What’s the difference?

User experience in Office 2019 and Microsoft 365: What’s the difference?

Microsoft Office is the leading productivity suite in the market — and for good reason. It combines powerful features with ease of use, as well as security with accessibility. It’s also easily integrated with hundreds of third-party applications, enabling users to enhance and customize their experience.

Businesses that use Microsoft Office benefit from streamlined workflows, improved collaboration, and higher productivity. But now that modern businesses are changing the way they deliver value to customers, it’s high time to ask which of the two deployments of Microsoft Office better fits your organization.

Should you choose Office 2019 or Microsoft 365?

Office can be deployed on-premises (Office 2019) or via the web (Microsoft 365), and your choice will depend on several considerations, such as your business needs and budget.

In the former, Office desktop apps are sold as a one-time purchase, and you pay a single, upfront cost. The biggest downside of this setup is that it has no upgrade options, which means that if you want to update your software, you’ll have to purchase the latest version at full price.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that allows you to access a wide range of services, including the web versions of core Office apps like Word, Excel, and Outlook and their succeeding upgrades. This way, you'll have the latest features, security updates, and bug fixes without having to shell out additional money.

How your Office setup affects user experience

Apart from determining how you access apps and pay for software upgrades, your Office setup will also impact user experience in critical ways.

For one, the Office deployment type you have determines the number of devices allowed per user. On-premises Office is normally sold on a per-device basis, meaning a license can only be used on one device. By contrast, Microsoft 365 plan subscriptions are paid per user, which allows one user to install the suite on several devices. This is especially useful for staff who work outside of the office and often switch from one device to another for convenience.

Another big difference is that Microsoft 365 lets users install Office mobile apps for free, a privilege that Office 2019 doesn’t come with. Teams that work on the go will specifically benefit from this, as they can even get extra features when they sign in to Office apps on their devices. This lets them do more on their tablets and phones without having to open their desktop or laptop.

A Microsoft 365 subscription also provides 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage per user, allowing you to save important data anytime and access them from anywhere and on any internet-connected device using your Microsoft account. Meanwhile, with a desktop-based Microsoft Office license, you are limited to your device’s storage space, and you also won’t be able to remotely access local files as easily, if at all. This limitation can affect collaboration, especially in teams that require a lot of back and forth or real-time simultaneous document access.

Importantly, Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 offer different levels of support. In the former, technical support is provided only during installation. In the latter, users can contact Microsoft for help with technical, subscription, or billing issues at no extra cost, which is particularly beneficial for small businesses that may not have the resources to establish an IT department to handle tech concerns such as those related to Office.

Reduced app functionality on Microsoft 365

Perhaps the greatest difference between the two is that there are some functionalities in Office 2019 that will not work on Microsoft 365. If you’re accustomed to applying advanced features in the standard apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel, then expect that Microsoft 365 will cut you off from some of these apps’ powerful features.

In the web version of Word, for instance, you cannot create tables of content, citations, captions, or bibliographies. You also cannot create or apply styles, which is important in standardizing publications. What’s more, advanced reviewing, proofing, or page layout tools are unavailable.

Microsoft 365 also limits what you can do in Excel. Unlike in the desktop version, you won’t be able to create pivot tables, create external data connections or references, or apply conditional formatting. There is also no access to many of the advanced formulas.

And in the web version of PowerPoint, you can’t create custom animations, use headers or footers, or integrate Excel charts, While Microsoft 365 will open any of these documents, it can cause problems when opening versions of Office 2019 documents in Microsoft 365, as some formatting and advanced features may not work as intended..

The bottom line

Users who use Microsoft Office 2019 will find that it is as reliable as previous versions of Office. Its core functionalities get things done, and it works even without an internet connection. The environment and user interfaces are also familiar, which is probably one of its biggest advantages. There is virtually no learning curve, as Office 2019 users have probably used earlier versions of Office.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 can take some getting used to. It can also be overwhelming, given the vast array of cloud-based tools, features, and functionalities that it offers. But by taking the time to properly train your workforce on the new technology, you can increase overall productivity and help your staff discover better ways of working, creating, and collaborating. It can be a bit daunting to shift from the familiar Office apps, but the benefits of moving to Microsoft 365 are definitely worth it.

And if you want to experience the best of both worlds, look into Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which includes the classic Office 2019 desktop apps on top of web and mobile apps.

Want to learn more about how Microsoft 365 can take your business to the next level? Download our FREE eBook, A 360° Look at Microsoft 365. You can also talk to our experts at XBASE Technologies to discover solutions and services that will optimize your tech, protect your data, and make the most of your IT investments. Call us today at 647-697-7710.