Microsoft Office 2021 set to launch on October 5 [Updated]

Way back in February of this year, Microsoft announced that its newest version of its ridiculously popular suite of productivity apps, Office, would launch sometime later in the year. And now, all these months later, and just a few weeks out from the newest version of Windows arriving, we now know when we’ll get to install the new Office. And it just so happens to coincide with the launch of the new version of the company’s desktop OS.

Update #1 (10/01/2021)Just four days before the official launch, Microsoft has finally filled in the blanks. At least when it comes to features and pricing. First and foremost, Office Home and Student 2021 will cost $149.99, which comes bundled with Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Teams. This is for both Windows PC and Mac.

Meanwhile, Office Home and Business 2021 is priced at $249.99, which comes with everything in the Home and Student bundle, but also comes with Outlook. It will be available for PC and Mac, too.

Per today’s announcement:

Creating together virtually is part of the new normal. We want everyone who uses Office to be able to do so, regardless of whether they are using Microsoft 365, Office 2021, Office.com, or the Office mobile app, so we’ve incorporated many of the collaboration features already available to Microsoft 365 subscribers into Office 2021. With real-time co-authoring, you can work with others in the same document at the same time. There’s no need to send extra notes or emails because everyone will be notified when a file is updated.

OneDrive, our cloud storage service, powers these collaboration features, so you’ll need to save your documents to OneDrive before you share them. OneDrive also ensures your updates are automatically saved. Sign in to the Office apps with your Microsoft account and get 5 GB of OneDrive cloud storage for free. There is also the option to buy more storage if needed.

The original article continues below.

As noted today by The Verge, the Microsoft Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for Windows and Mac is available starting today for government and commercial users. It’s available in a locked-in time release for Office, which doesn’t require a subscription. And, at the same time, Microsoft also confirmed with the publication that the public version of Office 2021 will launch on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

Office LTSC is “designed for businesses in regulated industries where processes and apps can’t change on a monthly basis, or for manufacturing plants that rely on Office and want a locked-in time release.” Microsoft says it will support this version for up to five years, but it won’t be receiving any new features down the line. It also won’t be connected to AI- and cloud-based features for the software. There is a corresponding public version of the locked-in time release as well, which won’t require a subscription.

Here are some key features that will be available in Office LTSC, which should also be available in the public version of Office 2021 as well:

  • Line Focus – similar to a reading mode to remove distraction and move through Word documents line by line.
  • XLOOKUP function – helps find things in a table or range by row in an Excel worksheet.
  • Dynamic array support – new functions in Excel that use dynamic arrays.
  • Dark mode – all Office apps will include dark mode support.

Microsoft is still pushing Microsoft 365 subscriptions, of course. This will provide access, and future updates/changes to Office 2021, but based on a subscription basis. The perpetual product is built on a one-time purchase.

Details regarding Office 2021 are still few and far between at this point. When it was initially unveiled, the report seemed to be that there wouldn’t be any major changes/additions to the new suite of productivity apps. Instead, Microsoft is looking at changes for its subscription service, Microsoft 365.

Pricing hasn’t been finalized quite yet, either. But, now that we know the software launches on October 5, all those details should be finalized soon enough.