What is The Latest Microsoft Office? Microsoft Office 2021 (Third perpetual release of Office 16) is a version of the Microsoft Office suite of applications for the Microsoft Windows and macOS operating systems. It was released on October 5, 2021, along with Windows 11, and replaced Office 2019.
Office 2021 remains same major version 16 as previous versions of Office; it introduces new dynamic arrays, XLOOKUP features for Excel, full dark mode support and performance improvements. Support for retail versions of Office 2021 will end on October 13, 2026; unlike older versions of Office, there is no extended support period.
What is The Latest Microsoft Office?
There’s a reason Microsoft’s Windows operating system sells so well; it provides you with better features than macOS and Linux. Microsoft’s Windows has something to offer everyone.
Whether you are a businessman, student, teacher, etc., you will find tools for all your needs on this operating system. Also, let’s not forget the massive app compatibility that makes the operating system more productive.
If we talk about the productivity tools from Microsoft, Office Suites applications first come to mind. Microsoft has supported its users in productive work by offering Office suite applications.
Microsoft Office Suite brings office-related applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive, etc. These are productivity apps and are supposed to help you in many ways.
Are Microsoft 365 and Office 365 the same?
Well, no. Not exactly.
Here’s what we mean: “Office 365” was the name for a cloud-based suite made up of productivity applications you may have heard of, like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and more. Microsoft 365 is the current name of a bundle of services that includes the aforementioned Office 365, plus other services including Windows 11 Enterprise.
So as you can see, yes, and no.
The confusion itself began when, in 2017, Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 as a bundle of existing products under one license all aimed at businesses – with a name similar to the already existing Office 365. Many already called Office 365 by the name Microsoft 365, so it’s easy to see how the two products were quickly confused.
If you are looking for how Microsoft 365 can impact your role specifically, check out this guide: Discover Microsoft 365’s Top Features for Your Role.
So what’s the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021?
Hopefully, it doesn’t seem too complicated still, but we love breaking it down more than DJ Jazzy Jeff (or is it Geoff?) so here’s more on the topic.
Office 2021 is the standalone Microsoft Office suite of applications for Windows and Mac operating systems. You pay a single upfront fee for a lifetime* license. This license includes some apps you’re probably already using like Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Teams.
*Microsoft announced in October 2022 that it will be ending support for Office 2021 on October 13, 2026
A disadvantage (to some) of Office 2021 is that you don’t get the version upgrades that Microsoft 365 users enjoy. In other words, if Teams or Excel gets an exciting new facelift/feature, you don’t get to partake with your Office 2021 license.
Let’s talk more about Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 plans include Office 2021 as a part of a greater offering. It also includes Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and machine learning. There are multiple plans to choose from depending on your needs. The services included in Microsoft 365 are also available as separate licenses.
You may be asking yourself, “Self, which of these Office 2021 and/or Microsoft 365 plans do I need?” and that would be a very good question to ask yourself. The first thing you should always do is review who will be working with the new technology at your organization and decide exactly what tools and services your team needs to perform their daily functions.
Moving to your new licenses and supporting your team
If you are using Office 2021, the good news is that once it’s downloaded, you’re pretty much done. If you are going the Microsoft 365 route, there are a few extra moving parts.
Unless you’re starting from scratch, moving to Microsoft 365 won’t be an instant flip of the switch. There are setup and migration requirements involved for both.
There will be both time and costs associated with this. Some or all of it can likely be done outside of business hours, though, to minimize business disruption.
If you’re technically savvy (or have a good IT person on staff), you may be able to handle this internally. If not, your best bet is to work with Microsoft Partner who has experience with migrating businesses to Microsoft 365, implementing EMS, and setting up machines with Windows 10/11 Enterprise.
Office 2021 vs. Microsoft 365: How to choose
Microsoft Office is how billions of people around the world go to work and school, whether they do it from home, an office, a classroom, or a combination of any of those. This suite of productivity tools is used by people working in 106 languages in nearly every country in the world, and it’s available in versions for personal, small business, enterprise, and educational use.
But there is more than one way to buy Office — or, rather, to buy the license to use it. There’s the “perpetual” version of Office that’s available as a one-time purchase; the most current version is Office 2021. Then there’s the subscription version that lives in the cloud and for which you pay a monthly or annual fee. When this version was introduced in 2011, Microsoft called it Office 365, later renaming it Microsoft 365 for personal and small business subscriptions. At the enterprise level, both Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans are available. In this story, we’ll use “Microsoft 365” as shorthand for all “365” subscriptions unless we’re referring to a specific plan.
Why choose to buy it one way and not the other? The answer can be confusing, especially since each suite of tools includes most of the same applications, give or take.
Microsoft has made its preference clear: The company believes that “the cloud will power the work of the future” and would love it if everyone purchased Microsoft 365. There are lots of incentives for doing just that. But you have options.
Here’s help deciding which version is right for you or your company.
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