Microsoft has spilled the beans on Office 2021 so potential customers know what they’ll get in the suite and how much it will cost them. On Friday, the software giant announced that the one-time purchase edition of Office will become available on Tuesday, Oct. 5, the same day Windows 11 will officially start to roll out.
SEE: Office 365: A guide for tech and business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Aimed at the business crowd, Office Home and Business 2021 includes all the programs in the Home and Student edition but adds Outlook for Windows or macOS and will cost $150. Both versions of Office 2021 will be up for sale from Microsoft’s website as well as other retailers around the world.
Microsoft sells Office in two different flavors. Office 2021 is the one-time purchase edition that grants you a perpetual license but doesn’t offer a free upgrade to each new version. So if you purchased Office 2019 and want to jump to Office 2021, you’ll have to shell out the money for a new license. Microsoft 365 is the subscription-based flavor of Office that pushes you into an annual subscription but ensures that you get the latest features when they roll out.
Naturally, Microsoft would prefer that customers gravitate to the subscription-based edition of Office as that locks in users for the longer haul and ensures a steady stream of income. But some people don’t want to be forced into such a subscription, so the company realizes it must continue to offer a one-time purchase version, lest users take their business elsewhere.
SEE: Windows 365 Business: How this new tool can help your organization (TechRepublic)
Microsoft provides OneDrive to let you store, back up, and synchronize your documents online. The subscription-based Microsoft 365 offers 1TB of OneDrive storage per user. In contrast, Office 2021 kicks in just 5GB of OneDrive space, though you can upgrade to 100GB for $1.99 per month.
To attract customers to Office 2021, Microsoft is including many of the programs and features typically available for Microsoft 365. One such feature is Microsoft Teams, which lets you chat and make audio or video calls with other people. The company has been promoting Teams lately as the chat and conferencing tool is also built into Windows 11.
Other Microsoft 365 features that have been added to Office 2021 include more stock media images, an updated draw tab, a language translator in Outlook, an instant search in Outlook, and dynamic arrays in Excel. Plus, the suite is getting a visual redesign with a more neutral color palette, softer window corners, refreshed tabs in the ribbon, and colorful indicators to let you know who’s collaborating on a document with you.
Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 both run on Windows 11, Windows 10 and the three most recent versions of macOS. Windows 11 won’t play friendly with Office 2013, so any such users who plan to jump to the latest version of Windows will need to upgrade the Office suite. Finally, both Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 require a Microsoft account.
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