Microsoft Improves Consumer Versions of Office 365

Posted on August 30, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Microsoft Consumer Services, Office 365 with 24 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is improving its Office 365 Home and Personal offerings in some important and notable ways.

First up, Microsoft is raising the number of device install limits to be unlimited. Previously, Office 365 Personal subscribers could install Office on 1 PC or Mac and 1 tablet. And Office 365 Home subscribers could install Office on a total of 10 devices across five users.

Second, Microsoft is raising the number of users on the Office 365 Home subscription from 5 to 6 starting on October 2. “That’s right,” Microsoft explains. “We’re adding an additional person to the subscription with no change in price.”

Microsoft is also integrating Office 365 Home subscription more deeply into the Microsoft Family service. Now, anyone who has subscribed to Office 365 Home will automatically share the subscription with all of the people in their Microsoft Family.

Finally, Microsoft is moving management of Office 365 Home and Personal to the Microsoft Account website. Simply navigate to the Subscriptions & Services page to manage PC installs of Office and device installs of Office Mobile. (This feature is available now.)


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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Microsoft Improves Consumer Versions of Office 365”

  1. yaddamaster

    Great! Now, bring back custom domains. Quickly.

  2. truerock2

    This is huge for my family of 6. We all use Microsoft Office.

    Traditionally we all have Windows 10 17-inch notebook PCs. Some of us also have Windows 10 desktop PCs.

    We each have an iPhone and most of us also have an iPad (one son has an Android phone).

    Recently, one of my sons added an 11-inch Windows-10 notebook PC to his collection of devices ($180). He needed a smaller, lighter Windows 10 notebook PC for lugging around university campus.

    Several family members are very impressed with this small, light 11-inch notebook PC and plan to buy identical units for themselves (including myself). It is so inexpensive ($180), handy and powerful it just seems like an obvious thing to do.

    This change in Microsoft's subscription allowing any 5 devices for each family member is huge. It is occurring as several of my family members will have: a desktop PC, a 17" notebook, a 11" notebook, an iPhone and an iPad.

    • beq

      In reply to truerock2:

      I agree, over time I had to keep adding more subscriptions for family members and relatives.

      Now the main family has an O365 ProPlus as well as an O365 Home (the ProPlus lets 5 PCs install the version of MS Outlook that can access the Online Archive feature of an Exchange Online Plan 2 mailbox, and the Home grants 5 secondary PC installs).

      But I also added 3 additional Home subscriptions for relatives and their households and computers. Yea paying all the renewals are painful.

      P.S. Any chance the improvements are also coming to other Office 365 plans, specifically the ProPlus?

  3. Allen Markham

    Reminds me of when we got unlimited OneDrive - then we didn't get unlimited OneDrive. And it was our fault we used it for all kinds of stuff, you know stuff that required storage.

  4. Donnie_Dumpster

    It would be far, far better if the 365 Home admin could allocate the 5TB (now 6TB) in anyway they see fit. I bought a 365 Home for 2 users- mostly for offsite backup, and 1TB locked per user is just not enough, and even more irritating is that 4TB is going to waste since there is no easy way to shuffle between accounts. This will probably be my last year on the plan due to that- just investing the money instead into a off site NAS.

  5. slerched

    And still no option to pay for more storage. I want to add 500 GB of storage to my main account and would pay for it so I don't have to spread content across 2 services.

    Or let me leverage one of my six accounts to add 1 TB of storage while killing my ability to add 6 users and instead only allow me 5.

  6. fbman

    I wonder if they will ever increase the OneDrive space allocation.

    I am an hobbyist amateur photographer and I use OneDrive to store all my photos along with other documents, space is not an issue yet, but I am approaching 500 Gig usage..

    But then with the extra user, I can just create another OneDrive account and include it in my office home subscription and use it as an archive.

  7. dougkinzinger

    365 Home/Family is the best $100 you can spend all year. Latest Office apps on all my household devices? Yes please. Plus Premium, and if you snuck in your vanity domain two years ago, glorious.

    • beq

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      So if we had set up Premium with our own vanity domains back then, they'll still work in perpetuity?

      These domains are on our own registrar account. Though I'd have to check whether they are pointed to Microsoft's nameservers, or still using our own nameservers and just pointed the MX records to

      It's been years since I set this up for some relatives (the rest are on Exchange Online Plan 1 or 2).

    • fbman

      In reply to dougkinzinger:

      Agreed and if you get family members as partners, it becomes even better value for money as my parents and my sister in law contribute to the sub. So I basically only pay 1/3 of the sub.

  8. André Kittler

    custom/vanity domains outside the USA would be great.

    Or not... maybe I'm the only one here who uses office365 :(

  9. daveevad

    Question: Do the "Included" Family members occupy one of the 6 "User" slots? For example, I have 2 additional "Family" members. Are we using 3 slots and therefore only have 3 remaining OR are there 6 remaining because those in my "Family" don't count against my 6 "Users".

    • AnOldAmigaUser

      In reply to daveevad:

      This will become effective October 2, so if you have an Home subscription, it will be shared with your family members automatically on that day. Hopefully, if you have shared it with them already, they won't be counted twice when this policy takes affect. Based on all the issues I have had to date with my Home subscription and sharing it, I have no faith that that will not be the case.

  10. gregsedwards

    You know what else could use some love from the "Microsoft family" service? Xbox. And Movies & TV. The work you have to do to reasonably share purchased content with family members is borderline insane.

  11. thalter

    These are all welcome changes. The integration with Microsoft Family is so obvious that I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner.

  12. AnOldAmigaUser

    I wonder if this is in response to the problems that they have tracking installations. The owner of a subscription can only see installations done by the owner, not those performed by those the subscription is shared with (This is still the behavior on the Microsoft Account site.) There is also an issue with changing an installation from Home to a School account. We have run in to that one with each child as they went off to college.

    The installation rights for a Home subscription was, technically, 5 PCs or Macs and 5 tablets or phones. I wonder if unlimited devices refers only to phones tablets or if it includes PCs and Macs as well. Seemingly, even with the new policy, one can only be logged into 5 devices at one time; but there is no mention of whether this is 5 devices total for the subscription, or 5 devices each for the subscription owner and any people it is shared with.

    Finally, Microsoft Family needs to take into account the idea of children becoming adults. The issue is that all "adults" get the activity report for any "children" in the family, which is not ideal, at least for the youngest.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

      If I'm reading the FAQ correctly, I think this now shifts the subscriptions to center more on users than devices. Basically, you can install Office on as many devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.) as you want, but each user can be signed in on a maximum of 5 at a time. With the Personal subscription, that would be a single user while a Home subscription will include 6 users.

      At least from my understanding, the current subscriptions allow up to 5 installations on Windows or Mac computers for Home and 1 for Personal. Home also allows the subscription to be associated with 5 users, each of whom gets the 1TB storage and mobile device benefits. Right now, an installation on Mac/Windows is activated by any of the users on the subscription, but no more than 5 can be activivated at any one time. Once they are activated, it is activated for any user on that computer.

      With the new arrangement, every user will have to personally sign on to a device in order for it to be active. For example, we have a desktop computer that I installed Office on and activated with my user account. My wife and son can also use Office on that computer (using their own Windows log in) without having to activate it with their own user accounts. With the new system, each of us will have to log in to Office separately in order to activate it.

      While it makes things a bit more complicated, the plus side is that I think a single Office Home subscription shared among 6 people will be able to theoretically have 30 devices (Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS) activated at any one time.

  13. jprestig

    Good stuff. Maybe next they can figure out how to add notes back into events in the calendar(beta).

  14. jgraebner

    Is that increase to 6 installations rather than just 6 different family members? I have a family of 3, but we have 6 computers.

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