Microsoft 365 Family vs Personal vs Free

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.

Microsoft 365 Personal vs Family

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.

Microsoft Editor

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.

Microsoft Teams

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
Teams on the left – Family Safety app on the right

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.

Partner Benefits

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 it’s own account, personal OneDrive, and Outlook storage and can install the Office apps on their devices (desktop and mobile devices).

Microsoft 365 Family

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.

OneDrive Storage

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 FreeMicrosoft 365 PersonalMicrosoft 365 Family
 Free$6.99 per month$9.99 per month
 $69.99 per year$99.99 per year
Core Details
Number of user116
Number of installsOnline and mobile onlyUnlimitedUnlimited
Supported devicesWeb, tablets, and phonesPCs/Macs, tablets, and phonesPCs/Macs, tablets, and phones
Office Apps
Office Online
Word, Excel, PowerPoint
Outlook
Outlook.com storage quota15GB50GB50GB
Publisher and Access (pc only)
Microsoft EditorSpelling & grammar+ Advanced grammar & style+ Advanced grammar & style
PowerPoint Presenter CoachFilter words and pacing+ Monotone pitch & speed refinement+ Monotone pitch & speed refinement
Money in Excel
Standard Services
OneDrive Storage5GB1TB6TB Total (1TB Per user)
OneDrive ransomeware detection
Skype60 Skype min p/month60 Skype min p/month p/user
Updates & Support
Security updates
Feature updates
Supportsetup support only
Partner Benefit Program
More infoMore infoMore info
BuyBuy

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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