Windows 11 is perhaps the most interesting new software Microsoft will release this year, but it isn’t the only major release on the horizon.
Microsoft has previously stated that a new standalone version of Microsoft Office will be released around the same time as Windows 11. That date and time turn out to be the same – October 5, 2021.
This may be a big improvement to the standalone edition of Microsoft Office, which has remained a workplace fixture owing to the presence of widely used productivity programs like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. It’s probably about time, too: Microsoft Office 2019, the most current standalone version, was launched three years ago in September of 2018.
We now know that Microsoft plans to release a redesigned version of Office with its brand-new operating system, according to confirmation from The Verge. It’s unknown how much Office 2021 will cost, but it’s a fair guess that it won’t be very different from Office 2019’s $150 starting price.
In terms of new functionality, we already know that Microsoft Office will be completely redesigned for Windows 11, including the Fluid Design principles that give Windows 11 its characteristic centered, rounded style. This makeover includes cosmetic touches like soft corners and custom Office themes, as well as practical features like presence indicators in Word documents where you’re collaborating with others, allowing you to see their cursors and edits in real time, similar to how you can see them in Google Docs.
Furthermore, according to The Verge, Microsoft sent a major Microsoft Office upgrade to its commercial clients today through its Microsoft Office Long Term Servicing Channel, which caters to organizations with PCs that haven’t been updated in years. New features in that version of Office include a Dark Mode option in all Office programs, new dynamic array operations in Excel, and a new Line Focus view mode for viewing Word documents line by line, among other things. While we can’t guarantee that all of these new capabilities will be included in the consumer version of Office 2021, which will be released next month, it appears to be a strong possibility.
Many individuals now subscribe to Microsoft 365, a subscription service (previously known as Office 365) that gives access to mobile, downloaded, and cloud-based Office programs for a starting price of $10/month for personal usage or $5/month per user for corporate use. Microsoft 365 pricing are expected to climb in 2022 for all business and enterprise customers, thus all of the new capabilities coming to Office 2021 are likely to be incorporated into the Office 365 applications as well.