The 2021 version of Microsoft Office won’t require a subscription.
Microsoft’s new, flat-price version of its Office productivity software will arrive on Oct. 5 — the same day Windows 11 begins rolling out, the company said Sept. 16.
Microsoft previously emphasized that while its main focus remains in its subscription offering, Microsoft 365, it will release the one-time purchase Office 2021 for those who aren’t ready to move to the cloud.
Office 2021 arrives in two versions: one for commercial users, called Office LTSC (which stands for Long Term Servicing Channel), and one for personal use. Office LTSC is generally available today, the post said, and includes enhanced accessibility features, performance improvements across Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and visual improvements, like dark mode support across apps. It’s meant for specialty situations, as opposed to for an entire organization, such as process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet.
Meanwhile, Office 2021 for personal use will arrive on Oct. 5, and it seems like it’ll include some new collaboration features, according to a blog post from the company on Friday. The new collaboration features will work like Google Docs and allow for real-time co-authoring through OneDrive.
Office 2021 users can also get access to Microsoft Teams, a fresh redesigned look for the apps, as well as features previously exclusive to Microsoft 365 like advanced grammar suggestions and Presenter Coach in PowerPoint.
Office Home and Student 2021 is $150. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams for PC and Mac. Office Home and Business comes with everything from Office Home and Student, plus Outlook for PC and Mac, as well as the rights to use the apps for business purposes. Office Home and Business costs $250.
Both versions of Office will be supported on Windows and Mac, and will ship with the OneNote app. They will also ship both 32- and 64-bit versions, according to the post. Microsoft will support the software for five years, and said it does not plan to change the price at the time of release.
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In April 2020, Microsoft transitioned Office 365 into Microsoft 365, a subscription service that added more features to the tools suite, but required a monthly payment — $7 for an individual plan or $10 for a family of up to six (that price will be increasing in March 2022). The company said its main focus will continue to be on the cloud, but it understands that not everyone is ready to take that step. While you can use Microsoft 365 apps like Word, PowerPoint and Excel online for free with limited functionality, you’ll need either a perpetual version or a subscription to take full advantage of their capabilities.
Some wondered if Office 2019 would be the last perpetual version of the software since Microsoft 365 came along. But then Microsoft announced its plan for a perpetual release of Office in a September blog post.
For more, check out how to download Windows 10 for free, how to download Windows 11 for free and everything you need to know about transitioning from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
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