Software & Apps MS Office Find Your Best Version of Microsoft Office Online by Cindy Grigg Writer Cindy Grigg is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire and a productivity writer who teaches Microsoft Office software to students and pros. our editorial process Cindy Grigg Updated on March 12, 2020 Mieke Dalle / Getty Images MS Office Word Excel Powerpoint Outlook Tweet Share Email Choosing the best version of Microsoft Office for your device and usage can feel overwhelming. Or, you may assume that you have the best version for your needs simply because its the latest, but this is not always the case. Here is a simple summary of your options to make choosing one as painless as possible! Keep in mind that some versions of Microsoft Office are intended to integrate with cloud or mobile lifestyles, though this is optional. Free Microsoft Office Viewers You can view, copy, or print Office documents authored by others without buying the suite yourself. However, these Office Viewers are becoming obsolete because they offer fewer features than Microsoft Office Online. Since these are free, we feel it makes more sense for users to sign up for Office Online instead (see next item on this list). Free Microsoft Office Online (Web Apps) The Office Web Apps are free, simplified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The apps are used on your Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows device through an internet connection. The programs themselves are housed on a remote server. Users are therefore working through Microsoft's cloud environment known as OneDrive. Microsoft Office 2019 for Windows Office 2019 is the latest version of Microsoft Office. As opposed to the cloud-based Microsoft 365, just below, it is the traditional desktop version of the suite, but can be cloud-integrated. Office 2019 comes in a variety of versions you can read more about through this link. In particular, you may be interested in a discounted student version, if you qualify. You purchase Office 2019 the same way as past versions, by paying for it once. Alternatively, you could opt for older versions: Office 2016, Office 2013, Office 2010 or Office 2007. Support for Office 2003 has ended. The tradeoff is that, while these versions may be cheaper, they will lose support sooner and could cause you compatibility issues with users who have upgraded. Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac Microsoft Office 2019 is the latest version for Mac users. Follow this link for more details and download information. Alternatively, you could opt for Office 2011 for Mac. Again, the tradeoff for saving money on an older version is that the software loses relevancy faster. Microsoft 365 Microsoft 365 is the productivity portion of Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud, and the new Office 2013 is part of Microsoft 365. Microsoft 365 comes in professional, organizational, personal, or student subscription plans rather than a one-time purchase. Microsoft Office for iPad This version is optimized for iPad tablets and is available in a free version. Additional features are available with an Microsoft 365 subscription. Microsoft Office Mobile for iPhone This is an app you can use alone or with an Microsoft 365 subscription. The latter gives you more features and options. Microsoft Office Mobile for Android Tablets This version for Android tablets is in preview. You can download it for free and use it, then upgrade to the final release version. Once that happens, you should have the option of integrating this app with Microsoft 365 for even more features. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT (for RT Tablets such as Surface RT) Office 2013 comes in a special version for Windows 8 RT devices such as Microsoft's Surface RT. A few limitations exist in this version, so it really pays to check this out before deciding on your hardware. If you already have an RT device, this is the most robust version of Office that will work on it, and it probably came pre-installed anyway. Microsoft Office Mobile for Android Phone This free version for Android phones can also be used as a standalone app or integrated with Microsoft 365. Microsoft Office Mobile for Windows Phone Your best experience for Microsoft Office on Windows Phone comes from a version built just for this device, and it most likely is pre-installed on newer phones. This also can be used as an independent app or with an Microsoft 365 subscription.