Microsoft Announces Office 2021

Posted on February 18, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Office with 28 Comments

Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft announced today that it will release Office 2021 for Windows and Mac by the end of 2021 and be supported for five years.

“We plan to release Office 2021 for personal and small business use later this year,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro revealed today. “Office 2021 will be supported for five years with the traditional ‘one-time purchase’ model.”

Office 2021 will ship on both Windows and Mac and will include the OneNote app. On Windows, it will be available in both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Additionally, Microsoft says that it will not change the price for the various Office 2021 products when compared to their Office 2019 equivalents. The software giant says that it will provide more details about new features included in Office 2021 closer to general availability.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft Announces Office 2021”

  1. crunchyfrog

    Now that so many of us are subscribing to Office, does it even matter what the version announcement is anymore?

    • IanYates82

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      It'll effectively be a snapshot of the Office 365 client apps taken at a point in time and then frozen in terms of new features.


      Not a lot will change for users of Office 365 client apps unless Microsoft have been holding back features for an announcement. Example: for the retail Office 2019 release timeframe there wasn't really any impact upon 365 users - they just kept using the same always-up-to-date client apps, so it may well be the same way this time.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      Businesses, enthusiasts, and power users subscribe, but I think many (especially older) customers prefer the one-time purchase model. People change and adapt at different speeds, and if Microsoft doesn't keep releasing new copies of Office, they would likely miss out on sales to people who simply won't subscribe but might buy a copy of Home and Student 2021 along with their new Dell.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to jchampeau:

        If one bought, say, a retail Office 2010 (or prior version) license kit, one could uninstall it from an old PC and install it on a new PC. Yeah, Office 2010 is out of support, but it's unlikely anyone using it just for personal, noncommercial ends would need anything newer.

        That said, anyone not needing Office to work from home would find all they need in LibreOffice or Google's or even MSFT's web apps.

        As long as the newest perpetual licenses remained tied to ONE PC, the one on which it's initially installed, those perpetual licenses just aren't worth it.

  2. innitrichie

    I can't wait to get started with Office 2021. The possibilities are literally limitless with this huge upcoming update.

  3. hrlngrv

    In reply to MutualCore:

    Anger? Certainly not. Amusement in a nasty, uncharitable sense.

    Having a computer around when using sharp objects isn't exactly my idea of rationality.

  4. crp0908

    Do the perpetual versions of Office 2016, Office 2019, and Office 2021 all expire on the same day in 2025? If so, what is the point of this? If I wanted new Office features I would upgrade to O365. Those on perpetual want stability and longevity and may not have Internet access like O365 requires. This Office 2021 if it is indeed perpetual, should be supported for 10 years (not 5).


    Does anyone know what will happen to Office perpetual in 2025 when these three perpetual versions end their support?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to crp0908:

      like O365 requires

      Office 365 works without an internet connection, just no access to OneDrive, Office complains about the lack, and users are SOL with respect to help. Unless they've kept .CHM files from older versions to provide some offline help.

      • dftf

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Given the various changes that will have been made to the UI, not to mention new-features, will retaining the old local Help files be that beneficial?


        Also, don't the O365 apps have to connect to the Internet every 30, 60 or 90 days or something to confirm the licence is still valid, and no-more than 5 installs have been made using that same licence? And if you can't connect, they'll go into a reduced-functionality mode where you can only open and print files?

  5. compunut

    Is there any word on Office 2021 working without an Internet connection? We ignore Office 2019 because it requires an Internet connection to activate (yes, even the standalone version). We buy Office 2019 and then install Office 2016 because of this...

  6. ebraiter

    Since it will be out later in 2021, surprised they didn't call it 2022 since ever release since 2007 jumped over 3 years [2007, 2010, 2013, ....]

    Now, prior to 2019, those employees in large could get the perpetual Office cheap with the HUP program. With 2019, nope. 30% off the yearly subscription. Sucks. I hope they change back. [Or it could just be who I work for,]

  7. will

    The bigger changes for Mac will be this version includes the not quite yet final version of the new Outlook for Mac. It’s been in beta preview for a year plus now and still has a few missing items to complete.


    Plus full ARM support for Mac

  8. winner

    "We are pleased to announce that the fat ribbon can now be moved to the side of the 16:9 wide screens to preserve vertical real estate..."


    Oh, wait.

    • dftf

      In reply to Winner:

      Assuming it's a 16:9 desktop monitor, you could always rotate it 90-degrees to portrait orientation, then go to Start > Settings > System > Display and rotate the OS screen


      For a laptop, I guess you're out-of-luck. But remember you can just double-click on any tab heading to hide the ribbon, then just click on a tab to show it briefly when you need it

  9. StagyarZilDoggo

    So support for Office 2016, 2019 and 2021 will all end in 2026. I see two possible causes:

    1. It's the Maya calendar thing again, and the world will end in 2026 (for sure this time).
    2. Office 2021 will be the last non-subscription version. (See point 1 ;-)
  10. cottonwood

    For a second I thought the guy in the photo was Brad and wondered what home improvement project he was doing...

  11. b6gd

    Good move on their part. Honestly if I could not get it from work for free (Office 365) I would not subscribe to it. I use maybe 5% of Office these days. Having a stand alone copy I can purchase once every 5 years or more, is a good option to have.

    • dftf

      In reply to b6gd:

      Yeah, similar to hrlngrv, if you rarely use Office why not consider an alternative?


      LibreOffice, WPS Office and SoftMaker FreeOffice are all desktop-based, and provide Word, Excel and PowerPoint alternatives. Or if you don't mind a browser-based solution, Microsoft's free online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint would do for many users.


      (If you need VBA, macros, add-ins or ActiveX controls in files then clearly that'll be an issue)

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to b6gd:

      I spend time on user-to-user support forums for Excel and Access, so I actually use VBA, PowerQuery, SQL outside of work. I don't use anything else from Office: I prefer markdown for formatted text, I use browser-based email and calendars for personal stuff, and I avoid PowerPoint whenever possible.

      I'm curios if you actually need anything in Office. 5% of its features could be provided by Wordpad and PowerPoint and Excel viewers.

      If one uses OneDrive, Office 365 Home rather than personal is a good deal for online storage with Office programs included at no extra cost, so why not?

  12. hrlngrv

    That picture is worth 1,000 words of BS.

    A guy apparently in a shop of some sort, protective goggles, using a utility knife, with some sort of machinery on the left edge of the screen has a Surface with what appears to be an Outlook calendar on the workbench. So much lack of correlation takes work.

    • Person

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Your comment made my day. I was staring at that picture for a few seconds and was wondering what I was looking at. Then I read your comment and my life made sense again.

    • phayz

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Looks like it's MS Teams - not even Office!

      • dftf

        In reply to phayz:

        Kind of hard thesedays to define what apps "Office" actually includes... officially, it comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher, as these are what all O365 subscriptions include at a minimum, or what you'd get in Office 2019 ProPlus.


        Yet Visio and Project also come under the "Office" banner, but have always been a separate standalone purchase, or separate cloud-based licence.


        And Access, Publisher, Visio and Project all remain Windows-only.


        And in enterprises, you then have other things like "SharePoint" or "Lync" (the predecessor to Skype for Business, and now Teams) which were also Office-branded

  13. dftf

    In reply to MutualCore:

    Or even just the free, online versions you can run inside a web-browser... they'll be fine for many-people who don't need to do anything advanced

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