Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription from Microsoft. It combines multiple applications and services, making them an attractive option for small and medium businesses.

However, if you’ve ever looked into Office 365, you know there are a number of options. So how can you tell which one you need?

Office 365 plans

Microsoft offers a number of plans. There are versions of the service that include Exchange email hosting, Office software like Word and Excel, and versions that include both. In addition, file storage and sharing, messaging tools, security and compliance tools, and even voice communication tools are all available, depending on the plan you pick.

If you’re purchasing Office 365 directly from Microsoft, they will first ask you to select where you’ll be using it:

  • Home
  • Small business
  • Enterprise
  • Education

Once you select the one that best fits your situation, you’ll have the option to learn more and view the available plans.

Only get what you need

Like with many software options, the key is to not pay for things you don’t need. When you look at the various plans, look at the one that comes closest to fitting your exact needs, without too many extra options.

For example, if you don’t need or use Word, Excel, or other Office applications, you can save money by getting just the Exchange hosting and using whatever email application you prefer.

If, on the other hand, you need the applications, then get the option that has them. The “Premium” version of Office 365 is the version for you in that case.

Office 365 is a great option for many businesses, with a low monthly commitment per user. It brings enterprise level tools to smaller organizations and individuals.