Microsoft is doing its best to sway every user to a Microsoft 365 subscription for all of their Office and Microsoft software needs, but subscription fatigue is real and there is a healthy portion of personal and business users that don't want to take on that commitment.
At Ignite 2020 last fall, Microsoft confirmed that a new subscription-free update for Office was coming in the second half of 2021. Today, the company announced that Office 2021 will indeed arrive on time with versions for Windows and macOS arriving later this year (via The Verge).
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Office 2021 price
Office 2021 LTSC is dropping down to five years of support rather than the previous seven and the pricing on all versions is increasing by 10%. Office 2021, on the other hand, will retain the same $149.99 price point as Office 2019.
Office 2021 release date
There will be two distinct versions of the software: Office 2021 LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) for larger businesses and government users and simply Office 2021 for consumers and small business users. The former will get a slight jump on consumers with a preview starting in April, but the full release will be available for all later this year in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Office 2021 features
Microsoft hasn't given a full accounting of all upgrades coming to Office 2021 yet, but things like the newly improved dark mode will undoubtedly be present. Some new features that Microsoft did indicate would be available include accessibly improvements, Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel and performance upgrades across all of the apps. A more comprehensive list of new features will be available as we get closer to the actual launch.
Microsoft is quick to point out that many users have happily moved to the subscription model over the last year and that Microsoft 365 customers and that those customers will continue to see more new features than their subscription-free counterparts.