Microsoft is planning to release two new versions of its popular suite of Office apps, including “Office 2021” and “Office LTSC” (Long Term Servicing Channel), for those still not ready to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 experience.
Like previous releases, this new version will include only a subset of the features available with the subscription-based offering. According to the company, the latest version of Office will ship with new dark mode support, accessibility improvements, performance improvements for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and new features like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP for Excel.
Also, this time around, Office 2021 will no longer install the Skype for Business app, but it will install the Microsoft Teams app.
Office 2021 and LTSC won’t be a big upgrade
Microsoft is not revealing all the changes coming in this release. However, it won’t be a significant upgrade from the previous version. And it won’t include many visual changes either since the company is only focusing on delivering innovations, advanced security, and intelligent capabilities through its Microsoft 365 subscription.
The only reason why the company continues to make available the standalone version of Office is for organizations and customers who are not ready to transition to a cloud-based offering because of specific scenarios.
For example, when you need to run the apps offline for months at a time. When the device needs to comply with the organization’s policies, and it cannot be upgraded every year. The computer is a manufacturing floor device that is not connected to the internet. Or you happen to prefer the feeling that you own the product after you purchase it.
Office LTSC will continue to be offered as a device-based “perpetual” license, and Microsoft has confirmed that it will continue to release follow-up versions in the future.
Office 2021 will be available in two flavors, including “Office 2021 Personal” and “Office 2021 Small Business.” They will be supported for five years with the traditional one-time purchase model, and the company is not planning on increasing the prices. This means that the price will continue to be $150 for the personal edition and $250 for the small business edition.
Release date and support
Although the exact release date still unknown, the new version of Office is expected to arrive at some point in 2021, and it will be available for Windows 10 and macOS. It will continue to ship with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems, and it will come with the OneNote app.