Microsoft Office 2021: prices, versions, new features, the point before the release

Microsoft lifts the veil a little on the novelties of Office 2021, the new major version of its office suite which is due out tomorrow, at the same time as Windows 11. Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook all gain in simplicity and in efficiency.

Office 2021 is released today, October 5, at the same time as Windows 11, the major update of the operating system, the news of which you can now find out here. On the day of this event, Microsoft is showing a little more talkative about the evolutions of its historic office suite which includes in particular Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook software. In addition to a modernized interface, to remain consistent with the design of Windows 11, Office 2021 emphasizes collaborative functions and teleworking, via Teams. The publisher also specifies the price of the different versions, in particular the so-called “perpetual” license which allows Office 2021 to be paid once and for all, without going through the subscription formula renamed Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365).

What’s new in Office 2021?

What’s new in Office 2021? Available on both Windows and macOS, Office 2021 will first host a version of Teams, its video conferencing and collaborative work tool, for personal use.

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As teleworking has intensified significantly with the pandemic linked to Covid-19, the publisher is putting its tools a little more forward for group work on the same project by relying in particular on OneDrive, its storage service in line which authorizes the recording of 5 GB of data in its free version. “We have integrated many of the collaboration features already available for Microsoft 365 into Office 2021. With real-time co-authoring, you can work with other people in the same document at the same time. There is no need to ‘send additional notes or emails, because everyone will be notified when a file is updated, “Microsoft said.

Office also adopts a new design to harmonize better with Windows 11. Applications present a neutral color palette to allow better concentration. Windows have been slightly redesigned, and tool ribbons feature updated tabs and colorful presence indicators to quickly identify people who are simultaneously working on the same document. Dark mode is also present, both on Windows and macOS to adapt to the theme chosen for the system. And, don’t panic for Windows users: even though it has been redesigned to fit the style of Windows 11, Office 2021 will also work on Windows 10. In addition to a slight refresh of the interface of its applications, Microsoft has added some new features to each of the elements of its office suite.

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What’s new in Excel

The spreadsheet is certainly the tool that has received the most attention. It now embeds the XLOOKUP function to search for elements in an array or a range by row. So easy to search for a term to identify in one column and return a result from the same row in another column, regardless of the side of the return column. Pivot tables take advantage of new formulas to speed up calculations such as perspectives (FILTER, SORT, SORT BY, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE and ARRAY). Also in the program, the LET function The LET function which assigns names to the results of the calculation in order to keep in memory intermediate calculations, values ​​or to define names inside a formula. The XMATCH function is also emerging. It searches for a specified item in an array or range of cells and then returns the relative position of the item. The macOS version of Excel also features a new window. Called Watch, it allows you to inspect, audit or confirm formula calculations and results in large spreadsheets. Practice.

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What’s new in Word?

Most of the improvements to Word can be found in the macOS version. Indeed, Microsoft has deployed a read aloud function there. It allows you to check a document or an e-mail drafted to identify possible errors or simply to relieve your eyes while reading a document. Microsoft specifies that the reader now offers more natural voices. The word processor is now also adorned with an “immersive reader” to improve comprehension skills and ease of reading. There are several page colors to reduce eye strain.

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What’s new in PowerPoint?

The multimedia presentation software is also enriched with new functions. Slideshow recording now also supports presenter video recording, laser pointer recording, and handwriting recording. Regarding this last element, Microsoft has integrated in Office 2021 a function reserved until then for Office 365: the possibility of rereading the ink lines. It allows you to illustrate elements step by step or to illustrate a process of reflection. It is possible to hide or reveal content on the slides or to highlight individual elements by surrounding them for example. Note that this function is also available in Word and Excel. Finally, Mac users can save a presentation as an animated GIF image and easily share it on social networks.

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What’s new in Outlook?

Microsoft’s messaging tool has changed little in both its Windows and macOS versions. However, there is now an instant translator available for more than 70 languages. It also sees its search engine improved to find the messages you are tracking in a crowded inbox faster.

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What are the versions of Office 2021?

Microsoft has planned two possibilities to obtain Office 2021. The first is to subscribe to Microsoft 365 – formerly Office 365. Billed from 69 euros per year, this formula is based on a subscription and includes applications from the Office office suite ( Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access), as well as various online services like OneDrive, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams or Yammer. It allows you to automatically take advantage of all Office updates without spending a penny more. Current subscribers who currently use Office 2019 will therefore immediately benefit from Office 2021. Microsoft will also offer for purchase a perpetual license of Office 2021, not linked to a subscription. It will therefore work ad vitam aeternam or, at least, as long as it remains compatible with the system. It will not benefit from a feature update, but Microsoft will keep track of security updates.

It should also be noted that companies and government bodies can switch to Office 2021 as of today thanks to the Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version which offers them follow-up updates for five years (compared to seven previously) .

Finally, Microsoft has not yet announced any changes to the tools of its free online suite which combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a lighter version and only available through a Web browser.

Is there a version of Office 2021 for Mac?

Microsoft Office has been available on Mac for decades. The 2021 version is no exception to the rule and succeeds the 2019 version which is still available. It comes in exactly the same versions as for PC, namely, the Microsoft 365 suite, the perpetual version Office 2021 and the LTSC version intended for businesses and government agencies. Moreover, Mac users can try Office 2021 for free in a preview of the LTSC version (normally intended for businesses) made public by Microsoft since April. Just go to this page and follow the instructions (in English) to install the suite which includes all the tools, try the new functions and become familiar with the general interface. This preview is valid until January 17, 2022.

What are the prices for Office 2021?

For Office 365 subscribers, the update will be seamless and at no additional cost. In any case, for the general public and for students since the versions for companies will suffer a price increase on March 1, 2022. As for the price of the perpetual version, Microsoft has so far only delivered the prices in dollars for the United States. The Family and Student version (without the Outlook messaging software) is therefore billed at $ 149.99. The Home and Small Business version (including Outlook) is billed at $ 249.99. If we refer to the tariffs generally applied in Europe, the prices should therefore be established at 149 euros and 249 euros for Europe.