Microsoft Announces Office 2021

Posted on October 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, Office with 22 Comments

Microsoft has announced Office 2021, the non-subscription version of its office productivity suite that will launch alongside Windows 11 on October 5.

“Microsoft 365 is the best way to get access to the latest apps and features that help you stay productive, protected, and connected,” Microsoft corporate vice president Liat Ben-Zur writes in the announcement post. “However, we know some customers still prefer a non-subscription version of the core Office apps for PC and Mac, which is why we’re releasing Office 2021.”

New features include:

Microsoft Teams. You won’t be surprised to discover that Office 2021 will include Microsoft Teams for personal use, which I assume is the client experience we see in Windows 11 and not the normal commercial Teams client.

Real-time collaboration features. For the first time, Microsoft is including many of the collaboration features from Microsoft 365 in the standalone suites, including real-time co-authoring.

Refreshed user interface. Office 2021 comes with a visual update inspired by Windows 11 that it says both modern and familiar. It features a neutral color palette, softer window corners, refreshed ribbon tabs, and colorful presence indicators so you can see who’s working on a document with you. The visual refresh will appear in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Project, Publisher, and Visio for Windows 10 and 11.

Several other Microsoft 365 features. Microsoft has also added several other Microsoft 365 features to Office 2021, including modernized formulas in Excel, PowerPoint presentation recording, and more. Other features, like advanced grammar suggestions in Microsoft Editor and Presenter Coach, still require a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Office 2021 ships October 5. There are two editions: Home and Student 2021 ($150, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams) for PC and Mac. Home and Business 2021 ($250, with everything in Office Home and Student 2021 plus Outlook and the right to use the apps for business purposes) for PC and Mac. Office 2021 works with Windows 10 and 11 and the three most current versions of macOS.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Microsoft Announces Office 2021”

  1. javial

    Two editions? And what about Professional Plus edition?

    • LocalPCGuy

      Office LTSC Professional Plus 2021 is available to volume licensing customers. So, you should be able to still obtain it through your employer, if they use volume licensing.

  2. adam.mt

    Anyone know why Microsoft decided to call this Office 2021 (rather than 2022)? Office has been every 3 years, last few versions were released ahead of year, and Server/Visual Studio etc. are all 2022.


    Do they just love inconsistency these days!?

  3. JH_Radio

    You know its sad. I have been paying for this for years and for the most part I just use outlook and OneDrive Storage.

    When I want to write something quick, its notepad I open up because its just a simple quick text file.

    John

  4. brandonmills

    I'm reading that 2021 will require login, similar to 2019. If that is the case, then this offering is just to please the people who wanted a static target for deployment, and not the actual mass demand of wanting a version of Office you don't have to login to in order to use it. Sure, that's fine for personal machines, but what about shared lab machines? I guess everyone needs an account everywhere now?

  5. thalter

    Interested in how the real-time collaboration works. I always thought it needed some cloud technology (OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint) to make it work.

  6. jwpear

    It's odd, but this just seems so foreign to me now. My reaction is why would anyone choose to buy Office. It seems like there is more value in O365. If someone can't afford their own subscription and doesn't have access to that through work or school, why not just use the browser apps or Google's offerings? Who is buying Office software?

    • justme

      Well, for starters, when you have a lab that needs office but the machines - by contract - arent allowed to connect to the internet. It may seem odd these days, but they do exist.


      At home - I have no need for any of the cloud-enabled features that a subscription brings, and zero desire for a subscription of any kind. I will very likely stick with my perpetual copy of Office2016 until or unless I find something that I need to do that it cannot.

    • ghostrider

      That's exactly what MS would want you to believe - more value in O365. In truth, over 90% of Office users use 5% or less of features (on-prem or O365), and most added features never, ever get used. Is there still value in paying monthly for a product you barely use any features of?

    • bettyblue

      Maybe they can get the stand alone version at school for $15?


      I am not sure why ANYONE would pay for a product like this unless their job absolutely depended upon it. Is so they company should provide it.


      So many "good enough" free alternatives. There is simply NO WAY I would pay for Office 365 or this stand alone version. My work provides O365 E5 for me. The day I retire is the day I stop using it.

      • wright_is

        It depends, if you agree working for yourself, or using for documents, spreadsheets etc. at home, then a different site is just fine. If you need to exchange documents with people who use MS Office, there are really no alternatives, probably the best is SoftMaker Office, in terms of file compatibility. LibreOffice and Google Docs have to many errors in their filters to allow the easy transfer of documents back and forth.

    • ebraiter

      Let's see. You are using a laptop and no Internet access.

      Or why pay monthly for many applications you won't be using. I generally use just Word, Excel and Outlook at work and at home.

      How many subscription months will it take you to buy the equivalent of Home & Business.

      MS Office is still the office "standard".

      Any talk of cloud storage is useless. I have a permanent 40GB storage with OneDrive, 15 GB with Google Drive and 2.5 GB with Dropbox.

      • wright_is

        It takes about 2 years of monthly subscriptions to match the perpetual price, or more.

        I have the family version on 2 of my computers, my wife's computer, my daughters' computers, as well as iPad and my Android smartphone. All for 69€ a year (annual subscription bought on Amazon, buying the personal subscription is even cheaper). So you are paying even more for applications that you don't use regularly if you buy a perpetual license.


        If I bought all of those as perpetual licenses, it would take at least 10 years of subscription to equal the cost of the perpetual licenses.


        If you want to save money, get LibreOffice or SoftMaker Office, the most file compatible office suite out there.


        The only real reason to buy perpetual these days, is if the PC is going to be offline. We still have a couple of analysis PCs in our labs that are not connected to the network - but they run XP and Excel 2003 - drivers for lab equipment, and the analysis software won't work on anything newer.

  7. hrlngrv

    As a MSFT 365 subscriber and daily Excel users, to paraphrase The Jerk, The new outdated perpetual version is here!


    Re modernized formulas in Excel, based on my own coworkers as well as time spent in user-to-user Excel support forums, I can confidently predict that fewer people will use the LET function than will use 3D references. Also, dynamic arrays are a mixed blessing, but nice to see MSFT stealing features from Google Sheets.

  8. winner

    I wonder if they'll be placing ads on the ribbon.

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