Buy latest Microsoft Office Suite (not 365) recommendations

I need to buy Microsoft Office with Word, Excel and Power Point for my my new MacBook Air running Sonoma. (The one on the old MacBook Pro was MS Office 2011.)

I have been searching Google for the best price — and prices are all over the place! There are many offering discounts on sites I haven’t heard of and I am a bit leery buying from them. Even Groupon and Stack Social have discounts.

Any recommendations?


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The steepest discounts now are for Office 2019. But the sellers don’t disclose that the reason it is so cheap is because Microsoft just* dropped support for Office 2019 – no more updates, including security fixes.

If that’s not a concern, then sure, go for an Office 2019 deal. I’ve bought from Stack Commerce (aka SourceForge Deals) before – in fact, just last week – and haven’t been burned yet.

If you want a newer perpetual licensed version, then look for Office 2021. I don’t see it on sale at SourceForge Deals right now for Mac.

The exact version depends on which components you want. For example, if you want Outlook, that’s Office Home & Business 2021. With just Word, Excel and PowerPoint, that’s Office Home & Student 2021.

The Microsoft site is kind of confusing, because they really want you to get the 365 subscription. But in some places it says that when you buy either of the above, you get a license that can be used either for Mac or Windows.

Office 2021 Professional, on the other hand, is Windows only. That’s because it includes Publisher and Access, which have no Mac versions. And that’s the problem with the SourceForge deal right now: they’re giving a great deal on Office 2021 Professional, because if you have Windows wouldn’t you want the one with all the apps? But that license will likely not work.

* in October, I think


Thanks for the heads up about 2019 and no updates. I only need Word, Excel and Power Point, so 2021 Office Home and Student would work. And a perpetual license, too.

What @mschmitt wrote, but I’d also like to ask how many computers you use, and how long you typically go between major-version upgrades.

I ask because depending on your answer, a 365 subscription might be more economical.

For example, in my home, I install Office on four computers - my desktop and laptop, and my wife’s two laptops. I usually buy/renew my Microsoft 365 subscription via Costco, which currently charges $100 (not counting a $10 gift-card rebate) for a 15 month “family” subscription which is good for up to 6 users, each of which can be signed-in on up to five computers at once. So for me (two users, four computers), that’s $6.67 per month or $80 per year.

I compare this against (also using Costco pricing) an Office Home & Student perpetual license, which costs $130 and is only valid for one computer. So for my home, that would cost $520 for four computers.

Dividing one by the other means the break-even point (where a subscription costs the same as the perpetual license) is 6.5 years ($520 divided by $80).

Since Microsoft releases major updates every 2-4 years with support typically ending 4-6 years after the release date (see Wikipedia), I will always be upgrading more rapidly than that 6.5 year break-even interval. Which makes the subscription cost less over time.

Of course, if you’re only buying for one user and one computer, then that changes everything ($130 every 4-6 years, for an effective cost of $22-33 per year) making the perpetual license more cost effective than the subscription (at an average of $80 per year for the family subscription or $70 per year for a personal (single-user) subscription.

All the above is using Costco pricing as a reference, but you can easily do the same math for whatever prices you find while shopping.

And you need to recalculate this every time you go shopping to buy/renew, because prices always change. Back in the PowerPC days (Office V.x and Office 2004), Microsoft offered 3-computer perpetual licenses for the “Home & Student” edition. I would pay $300 for two of these packs (for 4-5 computers), for an effective cost of $60-75 per year. If that package was still offered today, it would be better than a subscription.


I’d like to add that while Office 2021 is the latest perpetual license now, Microsoft announced in March that Office 2024 will be available as a perpetual license “later this year”.


David, I only have 1 computer that I will need MS Office on —- my new MacBook Air. I have an 2010 iMac and has 2011 Office installed on it. My old 2009 MacBook Pro has Office 2008 on it. Neither of those Macs will use a newer Office anyway.

Thanks for pointing out the pricing. Now I have to decide if I can wait for 2024 Home Office, but probably not. I write newsletter articles and the people I communicate with all use Word.



I think ms 365 personal is the best deal, $70 a year, always up to date too.


I recently had a similar situation. Replaced 2 ageing macs with 2 new shiners.

Excel and Word were the priorities for the client and she asked to be as up to date as possible but not to be beholden. And that eliminated 365.

A bit of searching showed that 21 was the most uptodate but that 24 would arrive sometime this year.
Prices for 21 varied quite a bit (I’m in the UK) and I offered her the mean price between the shops and online.
In the end I think I paid about £100 for 2 licences on line through a broker.
The downloads went swimmingly and the first copy installed without a problem and ran as it should. All the old files opened and saved correctly.
Installing the second was slightly different!
It just ran. I didn’t have to enter the licence number at all. It just worked (where have I heard that phrase before?).
When I checked about 3 weeks ago everything was fine. She has had no issues at all with either installation.


I won’t attempt to argue this point (I’ve already discussed Office subscriptions previously in this thread), but I’d just like to point out that “beholden” is different for different products.

Some products (like Adobe Creative Cloud) completely shutdown if your subscription is not kept paid-up. Which means you lose access to all your documents.

Others (like Microsoft Office) still run, but with limited functionality when your subscription lapses. In the case of Microsoft, when your subscription lapses, you fall back to a free tier, where:

  • Your desktop apps become viewers. You can open, read and print documents, but not make any changes.
  • The web and (I think) mobile apps continue working normally.
  • The capacity of your OneDrive storage shrinks.

If you want to keep using Office without repeatedly paying, this may be unacceptable. But if you are stopping your subscription because you’re switching to another app, this may be just fine, since you’ll still be able to read your old documents.

Beholden is in the eye of the beholder. :slight_smile:


To me, the decision depends on what MS apps you use. I bought Office 2019 Home & Student because I only need Word, Powerpoint and (rarely) Excel and do most of my work on my desktop. I should look to see what apps are in the 365 bundle, but the last time I looked they weren’t compelling.

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Worth keeping in mind:

Microsoft supports its standalone Office products for five years, so it will be retiring Office 2021 on October 13, 2026. After that date, there will be no further patching, updating, or other support from Microsoft for Office 2021.

In contrast, Office 2024 will be supported until sometime in the second half of 2029, depending on when it actually is released for sale.


For Mac users, the main extras in most of the 365 bundles are the inclusion of OneNote, OneDrive, Teams, and the ability to run mobile versions of the Office apps on your iPhone/iPad and/or Android. Whether any of those are compelling depend on each individual’s use cases.

Some of the bundles also include useful cloud apps for business, like Microsoft Bookings, Microsoft Planner, and Microsoft Forms, but you need to dig into the Microsoft website to figure out which bundles include which extra apps.

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Perhaps just use the free web versions with mostly the same functionality, until you can buy the next offline one after that?

Personally, I use Ebay discounted MS365 codes from people selling them there, but only ones where I get a proper full code to enter on my own MS account – not some ‘1 Family member from the Family 6-pack set’ or similar crap things a few try and sell on there.

Saves me around 40-50% on the full price.

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Found Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac 2021 lifetime license on sale for $90:


I am a power user of MS Excel, not so much the others. I migrated to Apple’s free and fully supported office apps 5 years ago and have never regretted.
Do you really need MS? Apple’s apps save to MS file types if required and work very quickly on M-series chips even with large files


I really do need MS Word. The editors of my articles ONLY use Ms Word.


Pages saves to docx files, but sometimes fonts are messed up if you use Apple fonts. Pictures stay in place on Pages, but may not translate to word well, try it while you have word


Granted it was quite a few years ago, but I had a lot of cross-compatibility issues with documents with tables, and formulas and pivot tables when I tried Pages and Numbers. For my own simple documents they were fine but I had to go back to MS for client work.

I have gotten good deals from Macheist


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People often think that unsupported versions can’t be used. This is not true, if compatible with your macOS, they run just fine.
People often scare you with “you won’t receive security updates”, this doesn’t mean that said older version somehow becomes the worst security risk ever.
As for support, whenever I really needed support, the guys from MS could never ever get to the bottom of it, real help almost always comes from user forums where somebody has been in the same situation and found a solution. From MS you only ever hear update to latest, reinstall, restart, and other absolute trivial and useless steps, all wrapped in extremely wordy long responses
[rant over :grinning: :grinning:]

I bought Office 2021 earlier this year as a cheap perm lic from a lic dealer, mainly for compatibility with external people who use it. The TrackChanges is now unusable to a degree that not even MS can explain how it’s meant to work. I wish I’d bought v2019 instead. For real work I now use Apple Pages and export as docx when needed.

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FWIW, I have Office 2019 and TrackChanges worked the last time I used it at the end of May. I probably will buy Office 2014 when it comes out because Change Tracking is something I must have for working with editors.