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Microsoft Announces Office 2021 and Office LTSC


Microsoft has announced two new versions of Office: Office 2021 for consumers and Office LTSC for commercial customers.

Office 2021 is available later this year for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Like the previous Office 2019 version, the new version is designed for those who don't want to subscribe to the Microsoft 365 versions of the cloud system.

Microsoft does not provide full details of all features and changes in Office 2021 yet, but the Office LTSC version includes things such as: dark mode support, accessibility improvements, dynamic arrays, and XLOOKUP in Excel.

Major changes in the user interface are not expected, as the dark mode is a visually obvious change, but Microsoft remains focusing most of its interface and cloud-supported features on Microsoft 365 versions of Office first.

Office LTSC is a clear recognition from Microsoft that not all of its commercial customers are ready to move into the cloud.

"It's just a matter of trying to reach customers wherever they are, and we have a lot of customers who have moved into the cloud over the past 10 months, and it's happened collectively," said Jared Spataro, President of Microsoft 365.

"At the same time, we have clients who have specific scenarios where they don't feel they can move to the cloud.

These specific scenarios include regulated industries where processes and applications cannot be changed on a monthly basis, or office-based factories want a closed-time version.

Microsoft is also committed to another permanent version of Office for the future, but it changes prices and how these new releases are supported.

Office LTSC is now supported for only five years instead of the seven years that the company normally provided for an Office product.

Prices for Office Professional Plus, Office Standard, and individual applications have increased by 10 percent for commercial customers, with consumer and small business prices in Office 2021 remaining the same.

The timing of Office LTSC support closely corresponds to how Windows is supported, and Microsoft is also aligning its release schedules for both Office and Windows as a result.

The next two versions of Office LTSC and Windows 10 LTSC are released in the second half of 2021.

"The timing of the two releases is closely determined, although we don't yet have details for the Windows version, and we're trying to bring them closer together to make it easier for companies to operate," says Spataro.

Microsoft now plans to release the OFFICE LTSC preview in April, with a full release later this year.

However, Office 2021 will not be available to the consumer in the preview, and Office LTSC and Office 2021 are also shipped with OneNote and include 32-bit and 64-bit versions.