Excel 2016 Vs Excel 365: Choosing the Right Version for Optimal Data Management

Data management is a crucial aspect of any organization's operations, and choosing the right software to manage your data is equally important. Microsoft Office Excel is a widely used software that provides powerful data management tools. However, with different versions of Excel available, it can be challenging to decide which one to use.

This article provides a detailed comparison between Excel 2016 and Excel 365, highlighting the key differences in features, usability, and data management capabilities. By the end of this article, you will be better informed and equipped to make the right decision for your data management needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Excel 2016 and Excel 365 are two versions of Microsoft Office Excel.
  • The choice between the two versions depends on your specific data management needs.
  • Excel 365 offers more robust cloud integration and collaboration capabilities compared to Excel 2016.
  • Excel 2016 is a perpetual license, while Excel 365 is a subscription-based model.
  • Consider the pricing, available features, usability, and support when choosing between Excel 2016 and Excel 365.

Pricing and Availability

When it comes to pricing and availability, there are notable differences between Excel 2016 and Excel 365. Excel 2016 is available as a one-time purchase and requires no subscription, while Excel 365 requires a monthly or yearly subscription fee. This means that while the initial cost of Excel 2016 may be higher, the long-term cost of using Excel 365 could add up quickly.

Excel 2016 is available for purchase as a standalone application or as part of the Microsoft Office suite, which includes other Microsoft products such as Word and PowerPoint. Excel 365, on the other hand, is available exclusively as a subscription service and includes access to all Microsoft Office products, as well as additional features and cloud-based services.

For users who only need Excel for basic data management tasks, Excel 2016 may be the more cost-effective option. However, for users who rely heavily on collaborative tools and cloud-based storage, Excel 365's subscription model may be a better fit. Ultimately, the choice between Excel 2016 and Excel 365 will depend on individual needs and preferences.

Feature Comparison

Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer similar functionalities with some notable differences. Here are the key features of both versions of Excel:

Features Excel 2016 Excel 365
Formulas Excel 2016 has a wide range of built-in formulas that cover most business and personal needs. Excel 365 provides all the formulas found in Excel 2016 and adds dynamic arrays and new formulas like XLOOKUP that simplify data analysis and management.
Charts Excel 2016 has a robust charting tool that allows users to create charts with ease. Excel 365's charting tool is similar to Excel 2016's, but it offers new chart types like funnel and waterfall charts, as well as improvements to PivotCharts and PivotTables.
Data Analysis Tools Excel 2016 has basic data analysis tools, such as sorting and filtering data. Excel 365 offers advanced data analysis tools, such as Power Query, Power Pivot, and Power BI, that allow users to import, transform, and analyze large datasets from various sources.
Collaboration Capabilities Excel 2016 has limited collaboration capabilities, allowing users to share files via email or cloud storage services. Excel 365 offers robust collaboration capabilities, allowing users to co-author spreadsheets in real-time and share files securely within the organization.

Overall, Excel 365 offers more advanced and up-to-date features than Excel 2016. However, for users who require only basic spreadsheet functionalities, Excel 2016 might be sufficient.

Updates and Upgrades

If you're using Excel 2016 or Excel 365, you can expect regular updates and upgrades that bring new features and enhancements to improve your productivity. The main difference between the two is the way these updates and upgrades are rolled out.

Excel 2016

Excel 2016 receives regular security updates and bug fixes, but new features are only added through major releases. That means you won't have access to the latest functionalities until you upgrade to the next version of Excel.

Excel 365

Excel 365, on the other hand, is a cloud-based service that receives ongoing updates with new features and functionalities. These updates are automatically rolled out to users, so you always have access to the latest tools without any extra effort or cost.

In terms of upgrades, both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer subscription-based models that allow you to access the latest version of the software. Excel 365, however, provides additional benefits with its cloud-based service, such as seamless integration with other Office 365 apps and online collaboration.

Usability and Interface

When it comes to usability and interface, both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer user-friendly experiences with intuitive navigation and robust features.

Excel 365, however, has an edge with its cloud-based interface, providing greater accessibility and enabling a seamless transition between devices. Additionally, Excel 365 offers more customization options, allowing users to personalize their interface according to their preferences.

Customizability aside, Excel 2016 has a simpler design with a cleaner layout, which some users may prefer. Both versions of Excel offer excellent usability features, such as quick access toolbars and keyboard shortcuts, making navigation a breeze.

It's worth noting that Excel 365 offers continuous updates to its interface, with improvements and new features regularly added to enhance the user experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 are user-friendly, with intuitive navigation and robust features.
  • Excel 365 has a cloud-based interface with greater accessibility and more customization options.
  • Excel 2016 has a simpler and cleaner interface, with a less complicated layout.
  • Excel 365 regularly updates its interface to improve the user experience.

Cloud Integration

Cloud integration is a vital feature that sets Excel 365 apart from Excel 2016. With cloud integration, users can securely store spreadsheets in the cloud and access them from any device with an internet connection. This means that users can work on the same file from different locations and collaborate with others in real-time.

Excel 365 offers seamless integration with Microsoft OneDrive, a cloud-based storage platform. OneDrive provides users with 1TB of storage space, which can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, on any device. With OneDrive, users can share spreadsheets with others and collaborate in real-time, making it ideal for remote teams or individuals who need to work from different locations.

Excel 2016, on the other hand, does not offer the same level of cloud integration as Excel 365. While users can store spreadsheets in the cloud using Microsoft's OneDrive or a third-party cloud storage provider, they do not have access to the same collaboration tools and real-time editing features as Excel 365.

Overall, if cloud integration and collaborating with others in real-time is important to you, Excel 365 is the better option. With its secure cloud storage and seamless integration with OneDrive, it offers a level of flexibility and accessibility that Excel 2016 cannot match.

Add-Ins and Extensions

Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer a wide range of add-ins and extensions, providing users with greater functionality and productivity. These tools integrate seamlessly with the software, enabling users to streamline their workflows and focus more on data analysis.

Some of the most popular add-ins for Excel 2016 include the Analysis Toolpak, Solver, and Power Query, which help users with statistical analysis, optimization, and data extraction, respectively. In Excel 365, users can benefit from additional add-ins such as the Ideas feature, which uses AI to suggest insights and trends in data.

Extensions are another way to enhance the performance of Excel 2016 and Excel 365. For example, the Office Timeline extension allows users to create visually stunning timelines and Gantt charts directly within Excel, while the Smartsheet extension enables users to collaborate and manage projects more effectively.

Whether your goal is to visualize data, automate repetitive tasks, or improve collaboration with others, there is an add-in or extension to meet your needs.

Support and Training

When it comes to using Microsoft Excel, getting the right support and training is essential for success. Both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer a range of resources to help users learn how to use the software and troubleshoot any issues they may encounter.


For users of Excel 2016, Microsoft offers extensive online support through its documentation and forums. Users can find answers to common questions, access tutorials, and get advice from other users who have experienced similar problems.

Excel 365 takes support to the next level with personalized assistance through Microsoft's dedicated support team. Users can chat or talk with a support specialist and get help with any issues they may be having, including technical problems and questions about specific features.

Overall, both versions of Excel provide robust support options to help users get the most out of the software.


Excel 2016 offers a range of training courses and tutorials that are available online and in-person. These options are perfect for users who are looking to improve their skills and learn new features or functionalities in Excel.

Excel 365 provides a similar range of training options, but with the added benefit of personalized training plans that are tailored to each user's specific needs and goals. These training plans are available through Microsoft's Learning Pathways feature and are designed to help users master the software more quickly and efficiently.

Overall, Excel 365 provides a more comprehensive and personalized approach to training, while Excel 2016 still offers excellent resources for users who want to improve their skills.


After analyzing the various aspects of Excel 2016 and Excel 365, it's clear that both versions have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Excel 2016 is a one-time purchase option that provides core functionality for data management, analysis, and presentation. On the other hand, Excel 365 is a subscription-based offering that provides access to the latest features and enhancements, cloud integration, and collaboration capabilities.

When it comes to choosing between Excel 2016 and Excel 365, it ultimately depends on the specific needs and budget of the user. For those who require basic spreadsheet functions and are comfortable with a one-time purchase, Excel 2016 is a great choice. However, for users who require advanced features, real-time collaboration, and frequent updates and upgrades, Excel 365 is the better option.

Overall, both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 are powerful tools for data management, and users should carefully consider their specific requirements before making a decision. Whether you choose Excel 2016 or Excel 365, both versions offer a range of features and benefits that can help you effectively manage your data and improve your productivity.


What are the differences in features between Excel 2016 and Excel 365?

Excel 2016 is a standalone version of the software that offers a fixed set of features, while Excel 365 is a subscription-based service that provides access to the latest features and updates. Therefore, Excel 365 has more advanced functionalities and is constantly evolving with new tools and options.

How does the usability of Excel 2016 compare to Excel 365?

Both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 have a user-friendly interface, but Excel 365 offers more customization options and improved user experience. With Excel 365, users can personalize their spreadsheets and access them from various devices, making it more convenient for those who work on the go or collaborate with others.

Can I upgrade from Excel 2016 to Excel 365?

Yes, it is possible to upgrade from Excel 2016 to Excel 365. By subscribing to Excel 365, you can enjoy the latest updates and features, as well as the benefits of cloud storage and collaboration tools. However, please note that there may be additional costs associated with upgrading to Excel 365.

Does Excel 2016 and Excel 365 support cloud integration?

Yes, both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 support cloud integration. With cloud storage options such as OneDrive or SharePoint, users can store their spreadsheets in the cloud, access them from any device, and collaborate with others in real-time. This feature ensures flexibility and easy sharing of files.

Are there any add-ins or extensions available for Excel 2016 and Excel 365?

Yes, both Excel 2016 and Excel 365 offer a wide range of add-ins and extensions. These additional tools enhance the functionality and productivity of Excel, allowing users to automate tasks, create custom functions, generate reports, and integrate with other software applications.

Where can I find support and training resources for Excel 2016 and Excel 365?

Microsoft provides extensive support and training resources for both Excel 2016 and Excel 365. You can access online help documentation, video tutorials, community forums, and even enroll in specialized courses to enhance your Excel skills. Additionally, Microsoft offers customer support services to assist with any technical issues you may encounter.

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