Can I combine and use Office 365 Home with Office 365 Business Essentials?


I already pay for the full desktop software with my Office 365 Home subscription. A business that I’m working with wants to use Office 365 Business Essentials to gain OneDrive for Business, Teams and Exchange. Note the other employee also already has Office 365 Home.

This Microsoft Answers thread from 2017 seems to indicate it’s indeed possible to do this.

Can anyone confirm this works?

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Can I combine and use Office 365 Home with Office 365 Business Essentials?”

  1. hrlngrv

    Legally speaking, any free advice from non-MSFT employees would be worth the price.

    If you want a definitive answer, ask MSFT.

  2. anron

    Yes, this works. I do this.

  3. wright_is

    You can't "combine" them, per se, but you can run them in parallel on the same PC - one note, you should use your business account as the main one (the one that licenses the desktop applications), theoretically, because you cannot use the "home" subscription for business purposes.

    But if both accounts are active, it shouldn't be a problem.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to wright_is:

      Per , it doesn't seem the product with this particular name includes the desktop version of the Office programs. See the 3rd bullet point:

      • Access web versions of Office apps: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).

      Not clear as a matter of US contract law that it would be legal to use Office 365 Home desktop programs for commercial use. Scrolling down the page, it shows Services Included: Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and MS Teams. OTOH, follow the link for Office 365 Buisiness Premium, and its services included adds Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, but drops SharePoint.

      The site linked above does show a MSFT phone number to call to find out from MSFT itself.

      The OP's link starts off with this from a MSFT employee moderating (apparently a forum moderator):

      1. You cannot add Office 365 Business Essentials to your current Office 365 Home subscription.

      OTOH, it does look like an Office 365 Home version of Outlook can access Exchange set up via Office 365 Business Essentials. So maybe it's OK to use Outlook Home to access Exchange, but it seems to me it wouldn't be legal under US law to use any other Office 365 Home programs for commercial use.

      • wright_is

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Oops, my bad... I didn't notice that he was using the basic version, with no local office.

        In that case, he would need to be careful, as the Home version explicitly prohibits the use of Office applications for business tasks. He'd have to stick with the web apps for business tasks, at least in theory.

        We have MS365 E5, so we get everything, but we can't use it on personal devices and we can't user our personal O365/OneDrive on business devices, so we don't have that problem.

      • minke

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        "it wouldn't be legal under US law to use any other Office 365 Home programs for commercial use." Somehow I doubt Microsoft would go after a small company for utilizing consumer software for business--millions of businesses do it all the time. Frankly, I'm not sure those clauses would hold up in a court of law if someone wanted to fight it. Can anyone find a case where Microsoft sued a small company for using consumer software?

  4. anoldamigauser

    As others have pointed out, it will work; but, technically, it is not legal. The Office 365 Home license agreement specifically states that it cannot be used for commercial purposes (...The service/software may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities.) Do people do it all the time? Yes.

    What you haven't stated is whether you are currently using your Office 365 Home subscription for commercial purposes, and whether you are working as an employee or a contractor with this business. If you are working as a contractor, they can add you as a guest account, which will give you access to Teams, SharePoint, and they can invite you to upload files to a OneDrive for Business folder, though you would not have your own OneDrive folders. You would not have an Exchange account. In that case, they are not really liable for how you choose to work.

    If you are an employee, then the cost differential between Business Essentials and Business Premium is currently $9/month on a monthly basis, or $7.50/ month on an annual basis. That is not an exorbitant cost to pay to do things right, and if cash is that tight, you need to ask if this is a business you want to work with.

    Again, though, people do it all the time.