Guide

             How Much Does Microsoft 365 Cost?

A Microsoft 365 Personal subscription costs $69.99 per year and includes access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Outlook, and Skype apps for one user on up to five devices. It also gets you 1TB of OneDrive online storage. You also get Sway for interactive online reports and presentations, forms for creating surveys and quizzes. The Microsoft 365 Family tier provides access to the same apps and supports up to six users, each of whom gets their own 1TB of OneDrive storage. The premium version of the Microsoft Family app is included in this subscription tier, too.

Early in 2023, Microsoft announced an even cheaper option, Microsoft Basic, which gets you 100GB of OneDrive storage and includes only the web and mobile versions of the apps, but it costs just $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year.

Microsoft Office all apps

These Office Apps Are Packed With Features

Microsoft’s core apps—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook—have been growing and changing for almost forty years, and they’re stuffed with features that can sometimes make them seem heavy and unwieldy compared to relative newcomers. Also, Microsoft still uses a single app, Outlook, for the email, contacts, calendar, and to-do-list features other vendors, such as Apple and Google, have separated into smaller, sleeker apps that work together smoothly.

Microsoft Word templates

A Familiar Office Suite Keeps Improving

Word and Excel are probably the most-used apps in the suite, and for good reason. Both run well, are highly polished, and get frequent updates that make them easier to use. For instance, while Excel already towers over all rival spreadsheet apps and has no trouble handling enormous worksheets without strain, Microsoft keeps adding features. One recent addition is the LET function, which enables you to use named variables inside a formula and insert that function multiple times in a worksheet; this makes calculations faster and easier to maintain. This is typical of the types of updates Microsoft 365 subscribers get, but which don't get added to the standalone Office version.

Excel also gives clear feedback before actually applying an automated feature. For example, when you Auto sum a column of figures, Excel displays the formula it will insert into the current cell. Or, when you use the above technique for combining first and last names in a single column, Excel first displays the combined names in gray and gives you a chance to stop the action.

Microsoft Excel charts

Excel supports dozens of third-party extensions and features for performing specialized functions. For example, a new money in excel features partners with the Plaid service for convenient personal money management.

Copilot Will Bring Chat-GPT AI Productivity Smarts

At a March 2023 presentation, Microsoft announced that generative AI capabilities thanks to its investment in OpenAI's ChatGPT would be coming to the productivity suite. This will enable you to, for example, use a few words to generate a presentation based on documents and media in your OneDrive online storage. In the same way, it will be able to generate business proposals, charts, or highlight summaries from large Excel sheets. Like the ChatGPT-powered Bing search, Copilot will also be able to generate emails in Outlook based on text prompts and using earlier emails. It can also produce summaries of important emails you may have missed while away. Note that, as the name Copilot implies, you'll need to vet anything created by the AI, since, as we know, those systems are not immune to errors. 

How Good Are Microsoft 365's Mail and Web Apps?

Outlook manages to pack all its many features into an impressive package, but it can feel a bit overwhelming. For personal use, I prefer leaner apps like the open-source Thunderbird, commercial newcomers like Mail bird on Windows, and Apple Mail on the Mac. Even Windows 10's built-in Mail app has merits. But for corporate use, Outlook’s one-stop interface for managing mail, calendars, and contacts offers power and flexibility rivals don't.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft’s browser-based apps stand out for their elegance and usability, surpassing even the minimalist design of Google's Workspace suite. Like Google’s apps, Microsoft’s apps let you dictate text through a microphone as well as transcribe text from an existing recording. For me, Microsoft’s voice-to-text feature worked impressively well from mobile apps on a phone or tablet, but I could never get it to work inside a desktop or laptop browser on either a Mac or a Windows machine.


Using Microsoft 365 With Your iPhone and Android

The mobile versions of the core Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps are surprisingly powerful and elegant. If you don’t want to clutter your phone with the full feature sets of separate mobile versions, you can download a combined iPhone app called Office with the main features of the separate apps.

Microsoft Office iOS apps

New Name, Same Excellence

Microsoft’s Office apps are the best at what they do, bar none. If you want to exchange editable documents with anyone else, you’ll almost certainly want to send your documents in a format compatible with Microsoft's apps—a reasonable way to ensure everyone else can work on them. The only serious glitch I've found with Microsoft’s suite was the spotty online access I experienced on many browsers during testing. If you need to get serious work done in documents or worksheets, Microsoft’s suite is not merely worth the money, it's also an amazing bargain. For all these reasons, Microsoft 365 Personal is an Editors' Choice winner.

Learn How to Activate your Product below:

A Key is a 25-character code used to activate Windows and helps verify that Windows hasn't been used on more PCs than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. If you have just purchased Microsoft Office, you may be experiencing some difficulties with how to use it. 

Even if you want to know how to work around your installations without having a product key, this is the article for you. If you want to learn how to do so, then keep reading.

After purchasing Microsoft office, Where do I enter my Product Key?

There are two directions you can take for this. One, if your product key is new and never used, second if you bought your product key through Microsoft Store

If your product Key is New:

How to find your Microsoft product key

  1. First, as prompted you will be directed to use your Microsoft account to get started
  2. Then type in your product key in the space provided
  3. Lastly, you will be enabled to gain access to your Microsoft Office.

If you Purchased Microsoft Office Through the Microsoft Store, Here is where to enter your Product key:

  1. First, in the search bar, type in www.microsoftstore.comNext, navigate to the upper right corner of the screen and select Sign In. Then, when prompted, type in your user ID and password that you used to purchase Office.
  2. After you have signed in, your name should appear in the upper right corner. After you select your name, choose Order History

  3. You will then need to locate either the Office one-time purchase or the individual Office application. Then choose the Install Office option to view your product key. Keep in mind that this does not install Office. 
  4. In the window where the product key pops up, select Install Office
    Installing Office through Microsoft Account
  5. Next, you will be taken to a page that says, Hi. Let’s Get your Office. Follow the prompts given so you can associate your product key with your Microsoft Account and begin the installation process.
 

How to Install Office Through Microsoft HUP

Lastly, If you Purchased Microsoft Office through Microsoft HUP, this is how you enter your Product Key:

  1. When installing Office Professional Plus, Project Professional, or Visio Professional by using your employer’s Microsoft HUP benefit, you will enter your product key after the installation has been completed.
  2. First, open any Microsoft Office application, for example, Word, Project, or Visio. This will depend completely on the type of purchase you made. 
  3. Next, on the Sign up to Set up Office screen, you will need to choose the option, I do not want to sign in or create an account (this will be a small link at the bottom of your screen)

  4. Finally, type in your Microsoft HUP product key to activate Microsoft Office 

Although my Windows 10 PC came with Microsoft Office, I'm unable to find a product key:

The first thing you should check for is if you see a screen that says Let’s Get Started. It should also be giving you options to try, buy, or activate Microsoft Office. 

What this screen means is that the Microsoft Office program that is installed on your PC is only there as a 1-month trial of Office 365 Home

This also means that you will not be receiving a product key from your PC manufacturer unless you paid for an Office product key card

However, suppose you have paid for an Office product to be already included on your new Windows 10 PC. In that case, a digital product key is automatically placed on your PC.

Instead of receiving a printed product key, you will see a message that is similar to the one you see when you start up Word or any other Office application. 

What do I do if I don't have a Windows product Key?

When you receive your Microsoft Office Key card, it may be necessary to turn the card over and gently scratch off the silver foil on the back to reveal your product key. Keep in mind that a Product key may also have barcodes and other groups of letters and numbers that may seem confusing. 
However, your product will always be shown in the form of: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX. 

What Should I do if Office is Prompting me for a Product Key?

In this case, you should rely on your Microsoft Office account and not a product key in order to install and utilize applications such as Office and other individually bought applications like Project, Outlook, Excel, and Word.  Keep in mind that if you purchased a new and unused card to either renew an subscription or buy your trial, you can enter that product key if Office asks you to provide it. 

However, there are a couple of exceptions where you will do something more than sign in. 

  1. Suppose you have purchased Office Professional Plus, Visio Professional, or Project Professional through your employer’s Microsoft HUP benefit. In that case, you will need your product key to install Office onto a PC. 
  2. You will need to contact your admin if you are using a volume license version of Office Professional Plus at your job. 
  3. If you can see either a yellow or red band that says Subscription Expired, then you will need to renew your Office 365 subscription in order for you to be able to keep using Office.
  4. If Office came already installed on your newly purchased device, and you see either a yellow or red banner that says Product Notice: Most of the features of the applications have been disabled because they have not been activated, then you must start a new Office 365 Home trial, sign in with a Microsoft account that is already associated with Office, or purchases Office.

For Me to Reinstall Office, Will I need a product Key?

It is not required. All you will need to do is navigate to the Microsoft accounts > Services >Subscriptions page and sign in, making sure to use the Microsoft account that you used to purchase Microsoft Office. 

However, you will need a product key to install Office Professional Plus, Visio Professional, or Project Professional through Microsoft HUP

Can I change my product key for Windows?

Yes, you can change your product key for Office Home and Business, Office Professional, and also individually purchased applications

You are also able to change or switch up your Office license if you buy a different version of Microsoft Office

For example, if at first, you have Home and Business but later decide that you would like to subscribe to Office 365, you can switch your existing installation from one to the other. 

Am I Able to View My product Key within Office?

Unfortunately, your entire product key is not displayed within Office for security reasons. There are other options, for example, you can view the Microsoft account that Office belongs in Office 365 and Office 2019. 

This account takes the place of your product key and can be used to reinstall Office from the Microsoft accounts > Services and Subscriptions page and start-up and activate Office. 

If you would like to view the Microsoft account that Office belongs to, then first open a document in Word or any other Office applications, and navigate to File and then to Account. 

Search for the email address that is visible after Belongs to located under the product name. 

Am I able to View my Product Key Online?

Whether you can view your product key online depends on the type of Office you purchased. Below are the instructions for viewing your product key online for three different Office programs. 

Office Home & Business/Office professional/Individual Office Apps

If you purchased the following Office programs mentioned in the subheading above, you could view your product key online. 

You can find it on the Services & Subscriptions page through your Microsoft account. 
You will only need the product keys if it is your first time purchasing Office Home & Business, Office Professional, or individual Office apps. 
Any reinstallations will not require a product key and neither will the activation. If you reinstall or go to activate and you are still asked for a product key, you can follow the steps in the above heading that instruct you to sign in using your Microsoft account. 

If you still feel the need to look at your product key, you can follow the steps below: 

  1. Visit the Services & Subscriptions page through your Microsoft account and sign in. 
  2. Click “View product key”. It is normal for your product key to be different than an Office product key card or one you will see in the Microsoft store. 

Office through Microsoft HUP

If you purchased Office Professional Plus, Visio Professional, or Project Professional through a Microsoft HUP benefit from your employer, you can visit your product key online through your “Order Details” page. 

Am I able to View my Key in Microsoft Store?

You happened to purchase Office Home & Student, Office Home & Business, Office Professional, or individual apps from the Microsoft store but you have yet to install them. 

You are able to view their product keys and install them through the Microsoft Store. 

Steps to viewing your product key in the Microsoft Store: 

  1. Visit www.microsoftstore.com. There, you will see “Sign In” at the top right corner of the page. Click on “Sign In” and enter your user ID and password used to purchase Office. 
  2. Once you have signed in, click on your name in the top right corner and then click on “Order History”. 
  3. Find the Office one-time purchase or individual Office app. Click on “Install Office” to look at your product key (Office will not be installed when you do this). 

Why don't my Product Key Match?

An Office key shown on the Services & Subscriptions page through your Microsoft account is guaranteed to be different from the product key shown on an email receipt or a product key card. This is because they are not the same type of key despite their confusingly similar format. 

Can I buy a Product Key?

Whether or not you can buy a product key depends on your intentions with Office. The steps below highlight different actions you can take to purchase a product key.

  1. If you are looking to buy a brand new copy of Office/start a new subscription with office 365, then you can purchase an Office product key card through a retailer.
  2. This product key can be redeemed at www.office.com/setup to install Office and set up your account. 
  3. You will not need a product key for Office 365, therefore you will not receive one. If you are purchasing Office or individual Office apps, you can and will receive a product key for this one-time purchase. 
  4. If you are renewing your subscription for Office 365, you can purchase a product key card for Office 365 from a retailer and redeem the key at www.office.com/setup
  5. Your Office 365 subscription can also be renewed online with no need for a product key at www.office.com/renew
  6. If Office is asking you for a product key, and you want it to activate Office, the better option would be to uninstall the version of Office that you already have and then purchase and install a new version of Office directly from the Microsoft Store. 

This is a way to ensure that Office will be activated successfully. 

When shopping for Office product keys from outside sources, check on some tips online for safer shopping in order to know how to pick out genuine Microsoft software. 

Make sure to read the tip “Beware of product Keys Sold Separately” if you want to purchase a product key online. 

If you buy a product key that does not work or has stopped working, see the section below titled “My Office Key isn’t working”. 

Steps to follow if you misplace your Product Key

If you have a valid proof that you have purchased a product key and you happened to damage it, Microsoft might be able to replace your product key. If they are unable to replace it, they may present other options. 

If you have misplaced the product key or believe it has been stolen and you would like to purchase a newer version of Office, you can go online and compare price options to make your purchase. 

My Office Key Isn't Working

  1. If you notice an error message pops up once you redeem your product key at www.office.com/setup, visit “Product Key Errors” at www.office.com/setup. 
  2. If your Office key is not working, or it was working previously and happened to stop, it is recommended that you get in contact with the seller and discuss/request a refund
  3. If the product key was purchased separate from the software, the product key could have been stolen or wrongly obtained, thus causing it to be blocked for use. 

There are plenty of sellers out there who offer abused, stolen, or unauthorized product keys in order to get a quick buck. These keys could be printed with counterfeit labels with a download link to Microsoft software. 

Sometimes they can be distributed with software media not authorized for resales like promotional media, or other Microsoft program-specific media

These are all unfortunate mishaps, but they happen often which is why, as mentioned previously, it is important to be safe when purchasing these keys from outside sources. 

How do I contact Microsoft Support?

If you are experiencing an issue with a product key where you need to come in contact with a Microsoft representative.

  • Here you will be presented with the option to get assistance through the “Get Help” app or the option to contact support in the browser. 
  • When opening the “Get Help” app, if you have it on your device, you will be taken straight to the app for fast and free Microsoft support. This app is available for Windows 10. 

Getting help through the browser is also fast and free, and you will be presented with a virtual agent that will work to help you solve your issue.