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Microsoft Office 2021: Here’s What You Can Expect

The news about the launch of Office 2021 has gained a lot of attention. This is probably due to the fact that today, almost everyone uses at least one of the many Microsoft Office programs. So, what did they change?

Will the new changes to the Office suite better your overall experience when using their programs or are the changes going to make things a lot more complicated? If you are interested in what kind of modifications Microsoft Office 2021 will have, just continue reading.

Changing to a One-Time-Purchase Model

One of the biggest uproars was definitely the change of the purchase model. With the 2021 Office, you will again get a couple of free years before having to pay on a monthly basis. Microsoft stated that they will be supporting Office 2021 for five years, with the one-time-purchase model.

This means that you can pay for the program once, and you can freely use it for five years. Considering that in the past you could use Office for seven years before you had to pay monthly, this is quite a downgrade.

a woman typing on a laptop

Not to mention that the pricing for Office Standard, Office Professional Plus, and other individual apps has been increased by 10% for commercial customers. As for Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses, the price is still the same. Microsoft Office 2021 is supported by both Windows and macOS, and there will be a lot more information about the features in the future.

In case you are interested in their productivity services called Office 365, there will be a subscription-based model that will offer products such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other applications. This plan will cost you $69.99/year for a personal plan, or you can opt to purchase a yearly family plan of $99.99.

Microsoft 365 subscription prices

Two New Versions of Office to Look Forward To

Microsoft has announced two new versions of Office, that you are bound to be interested in; there is the consumer Office 2021, and for commercial customers, there is the Office LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel).

The new version of Office is designed for the users who are not interested in subscribing to Microsoft 365 variants that are powered by the cloud. Office 2021 has some major feature updates, but it is similar to Office 2019, thus you can expect a level of familiarity with it.

As it was mentioned, Microsoft has still not released all the updates on Office 2021, but the Office Long-Term Servicing Channel, aka Office LTSC, variant will include things such as accessibility improvements, the dark mode support, and other features, like the XLOOKUP and Dynamic Arrays in Excel.

As Microsoft stated, this release of Office 2021 will be for those who do not want Microsoft 365. Microsoft has decided to commit to another perpetual version of the Office, however, the price will be changed as well as the way these new versions are supported.

The support of the Office LTSC timing aligns a lot better with how Windows is supported. Plus, Microsoft is aligning the release schedules for both Windows and Office a lot more closely.

Both of the new versions of Windows LTSC and Office LTSC are going to be released in the second half of this year. Their idea is to simply bring them close together so that the enterprises can deploy and can be managed on a similar type of cadence.

If you are interested in how all of this will look, you will be happy to know that Microsoft is planning to resale a preview in April of Office LTSC. However, there will be no preview for the consumer Office 2021. Both of the new Office variants are shipped with OneNote and include 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Dark Mode Makes Things Easier

The dark mode will be improved quite a bit, to make things even darker and easier on the eyes. The dark canvas will make your late-night writing and editing a lot easier.

a dark mac keyboard

Currently, the dark mode in Microsoft Word will only darken the sides of the document, while everything stays bright white. A future update will include the ability for you to darken the full document.

Other Big Changes From Microsoft in 2021

Microsoft has announced that this year, it will be moving some of its applications to the subscription payment model.

The next versions of Skype for Business Server, SharePoint Server, and Exchange Server will also be available in the second half of this year, but they will only be available with the subscription license purchase. This means that you will no longer be able to choose the perpetual model.

a microsoft office building

Another big change includes the Power Apps and their stand-alone licenses. Currently, the usage rights are already included within Dynamics 365 and Office 365 without an extra cost.

However, next year there will be changes to usage rights by Microsoft, which means that Power Apps could spike in prices. If you are using the Power Apps since 2019, you will be forced to purchase the stand-alone license.

Last but not least, the Microsoft Open Licensing program has come to an end. For over two decades, this program has allowed small and midsized users, to purchase a couple of perpetual licenses for software at a good price.

But, as of January 1st, 2022, as a commercial customer, you will no longer be able to purchase or renew the software licenses or online services. Instead, there will be a pay-once, non-subscription license that will not expire.

Microsoft says it’s an effort to simplify licensing and make them more predictable by introducing perpetual software license purchases

Microsoft 2021 Changes, Are You Ready?

Expect the newest version of Microsoft to be available in the second half of 2021, for both Mac and Windows, with a one-off purchase. The price of Office 2021 will be the same as Office 2019, so you do not have to worry much about the pricing if you are switching from one to the other.

Microsoft 2021 comes along with a lot of new features and changes, the most mention-worthy being the fact for the first time, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint will be available to you, as part of their subscription service. So, while in the past you would have updates every few years, now you can expect them regularly.

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