In April 2020 Microsoft changed the names of the Office 365 Personal and Home plans to Microsoft 365 Personal and Family. Not only the names are changed, but Microsoft also added new features to the plans while keeping the price the same.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the differences between the Microsoft 365 Family, Personal, and the Free plan. Which plan is the best choice for home users? Is the free plan enough, or is it worth spending the extra money for the Family plan?
At the end of the article you will find a handy comparison table with all the features compared between the different plans.
What is new in Microsoft 365 Family vs Personal
Before we dive into the different plans, let’s first take a look at what is new in Microsoft 365 for home users compared to the old Office 365 plans.
The general differences between Office 365 and Microsoft 365, is that the latter comes with more AI features. It’s empowering the cloud to help you create richer content and to become a better writer for example.
One of the new features is for example the Microsoft Editor. Now Microsoft Editor won’t replace Word, but it’s a enhancement for Word and Outlook.com and is also available as an browser extension in Edge and Chrome.
Any can use the basic Microsoft Editor, which will provide basic spelling and grammar. But with the Family and Personal plan you will get access to advanced grammar and writing style refinements.
It will help you become a better write, it can do re-write suggestions and help you rephrase sentences for more impact or clarity.
PowerPoint Presenter Coach
Not everybody is born as a natural speaker. Presenting is a common fear for people around the world. With the new Presenter Coach, you can practice your presentation and the Presenter Coach will listen to your voice and give feedback on your tone and suggest where you may need to add some variation.
Also it will listen to your phrases and give you grammar suggestions.
New Templates in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Microsoft added more then 200 new premium templates in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to help you kickstart your school or family project. There are even templates for printer reward charts for kids or coloring books.
Besides templates, Microsoft also added more then 8000 new images, almost 3000 icons and 175 new videos that you can use in your documents.
While your are maybe used to use Teams at your work, for family and friends we are still using a lot of other apps, for messaging, calendar and sharing documents.
In the coming months Microsoft Teams will get new features to stay connected with your family and organize and collaborate with family and friends. You can create groups with your family members and friends and not only easily chat or make video calls with them, but your can do more.
With the new features, you can share to-do lists, documents, calendars and even see location updates when you family members arrive at home or school.
Another create feature that is coming to Teams is group vault to store important information like wifi passwords and account info.
Microsoft Family Safety app
The new Microsoft Family Safety app is only available for Microsoft 365 subscribers and can help you with keeping your family safe online and offline. It shares the location of your family members and keeps track of the screen time across Windows PCs, Android, and Xbox.
The last new feature, or addition, is that all Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers get limited-time access to popular apps and services, like Adobe, Experian, Headspace, and more. You can visit this page for more information about the partner benefits program.
Microsoft 365 Free
So lets start with the free version of Microsoft 365. You probably didn’t even know it was available, right? Microsoft 365 Free is basically only a Microsoft account. Now with the free version, you can’t install Word, or Excel for example. But you can use the browser versions of it.
The free account is basically only an online version of the Office apps. You can use Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint in your browser. And while those versions are not completely the same as the desktop app, for most home users, these online apps will be more than enough.
Also, you will 5Gb of OneDrive storage, which you can sync with your Windows computer and 15Gb of mail storage at Outlook.com.
While you can’t install the apps on your desktop computer, you can install the apps on your mobile phone. So you will have your mail and documents always with you.
You can create a Free Microsoft account here at Microsoft.com.
Microsoft 365 Family
The Microsoft 365 Family plan is for non-commercial use and the best plan for family members or households in general. With the Microsoft 365 Family plan, you assign up to 6 users to the same plan. Each user gets their own account, personal OneDrive, and Outlook storage and can install the Office apps on their devices (desktop and mobile devices).
The only limitation to the Microsoft 365 Family plan is that each user can only be active on 5 devices at the same time. But that is more then enough.
Good to point out is the OneDrive storage, a lot of people are wondering if they get 1Tb of storage and have to share this or not. In the Family plan, each user gets their own OneDrive account with 1Tb of storage. So in total, with 6 user accounts, you will have 6Tb of online storage available.
You can’t device the storage yourself, so it’s not possible to give one member 2Tb and another only 500Gb for example. What you can do is share files and folders with your family members.
Also good to keep in mind, each OneDrive account is personal, so you can’t see the files from other family members unless they share the files of course.
Skype / Teams
With the family plan you can use Skype or Teams to make video calls with up to 50 people at the same time. Also you can invite guests, so if you wan’t to make a video call to your parents, then they don’t need to have a Microsoft account.
Another feature of the Family plan is that you can make mobile phone and landline calls with Skype. You will get 60 minutes per month per user account.
Microsoft 365 Personal
The Microsoft 365 Personal plan is basically the same as the Family plan. You get the same apps and features. The only difference is that you can only use it with one single user account. You can still install the Office apps on an unlimited amount of devices, but you can only be active 5 devices at the same time.
Now you can use the Personal plan together with other family members, but keep in mind that you only have one user account. So both family members have access to the same files and emails in Outlook.
If you only need to share it with your husband or wife, then this might work perfectly and can save you a couple of dollars. I won’t recommend sharing it with your kids, the risk of losing data may be too big then.
Microsoft 365 Family vs Personal vs Free
In the table below you will find all the important features of the different plans compared in an overview.
|Microsoft 365 Free||Microsoft 365 Personal||Microsoft 365 Family|
|Free||$6.99 per month||$9.99 per month|
|$69.99 per year||$99.99 per year|
|Number of user||1||1||6|
|Number of installs||Online and mobile only||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Supported devices||Web, tablets, and phones||PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones||PCs/Macs, tablets, and phones|
|Word, Excel, PowerPoint|
|Outlook.com storage quota||15GB||50GB||50GB|
|Publisher and Access (pc only)|
|Microsoft Editor||Spelling & grammar||+ Advanced grammar & style||+ Advanced grammar & style|
|PowerPoint Presenter Coach||Filter words and pacing||+ Monotone pitch & speed refinement||+ Monotone pitch & speed refinement|
|Money in Excel|
|OneDrive Storage||5GB||1TB||6TB Total (1TB Per user)|
|OneDrive ransomeware detection|
|Skype||60 Skype min p/month||60 Skype min p/month p/user|
|Updates & Support|
|Support||setup support only|
|Partner Benefit Program|
|More info||More info||More info|
As you can see, the features that you get with Microsoft 365 Family vs Personal are the same. Only the amount of users is different. So for most households in the Family plan the best choice.
Microsoft 365 Family or Personal?
If you are going to share the Office account with your family or household members, then the Microsoft 365 Family plan is really the best choice. With a price of $99 per year, you get really great value for money, Especially with the 1Tb of OneDrive storage that you get per user.
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15 thoughts on “Microsoft 365 Family vs Personal vs Free”
I’m worried that if I get the personal account and my wife is trying to use it, she might sometimes be asked to authenticate her login, and then she needs to call me to get the 2-factor code from my phone. Could be a major hassle…Does this happen?
If you share an account, then yes that is possible. A possible solution is to use the authenticator app on your phone, and using your wife’s mobile phone number for SMS. If she needs to authenticate, she can simply click, use another option and select SMS.
For now I am considering just the Personal plan – can I upgrade to Family plan at any time when my other half might also be interested?!
Yes, you can upgrade at any time.
I have o365 family
it does NOT allow for ADMIN access
It is impossible to set up and email account without accessing ADMIN because the set up always displays a message that the user is NOT in the address file .
Its the Microsoft go around in circles game — it should not be difficult– but is seems impossible what am I missing and where can I get help for the FAMILY edition without ADMI
Microsoft being the evil company we all know it is again. The captcha they send to family members is either deliberately wrong. If they guess enough time it forces them to reanswer (ad-infinitum).
I cannot believe how people can be so rude in their comments. I for one found the article very helpful as I wanted to find out the differences between the free and the paid version and your article explained this. Thank you so much for this information. Have a great day!
But the only problem about all the files being in only one account matters if you use the cloud, correct? If you don’t want to use the cloud and continue to save all your documents on your computer and your spouse on theirs, then it doesn’t matter correct? Or does this also impact saved themes, templates etc. Why would it if the program is downloaded and installed on the individual devices (Which still isn’t a huge problem, but I’m trying to find out the asterisks, footnotes, hurdles and hoops, before I commit to 365 vs stand alone.
Correct, if you save the documents locally then you can’t open them on another computer.
What does ‘family’ mean? Does it include members of my family living elsewhere in the same country, or even in another country ?
Or must everyone be in the same household?
Same household. You can read the license details here.
Do you even review what you post? It says the online site is Free with an annual cost of $69.99, the Personal Plan is $99.99 per year or 6.99 per month, and the Family plan is $9.99 per month. Is there an additional $3 fee for paying monthly because $7 per month rounded is $96 per year.
Sorry, seems that the table layout was shifted.
I bought a one time version of word. It doesn’t have an advanced editor. So I wanted to go for a month free to try. It makes me sign up for the next month as a 99 family plan instead of also giving me the 69 dollar personal version. Yes greedy and confusing