Here’s what we know about the Office 2019 for Windows. There’s a matching page about Office 2019 for Mac.
Before you get too excited
Do NOT buy Office 2019 if you have Office 365 like Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal or an enterprise plan. In other words, you pay for Office as an annual fee.
Office 2019 is NOT like past versions such as Office 2016, Office 2013 etc. It’s NOT a new version intended for all Microsoft Office users.
Anyone on an Office 365 plan does NOT need Office 2019.
Office 365 ‘subscribers’ have a more advanced version of Microsoft Office already.
Office 2016 for Office 365 customers get regular updates of new and improved features, including cloud-based features that won’t be in Office 2019.
Office 2019 is NOT the most up-to-date version of Microsoft Office.
What is Office 2019?
Office 2019 for Windows or Mac are separate versions of Office for anyone who buys the perpetual license.
Perpetual License is what Microsoft calls paying once for the ongoing use of Microsoft Office.
Compared to the ‘subscription’ or annual payment model of Office 365 that Microsoft prefers and has been pushing customers towards.
Office 2019 is for non-subscription customers who want some new features but won’t switch to the regularly updated Office software sold via Office 365.
Microsoft wants all customers to ‘subscribe’ to Office because that’s more profitable for the company with a more regular cash flow. But there are a significant number of corporate users who refuse to pay that way or they don’t want the increasingly cloud connected features of the main Office software sold with Office 365 plans. See Microsoft’s dirty little secret about Office 2019.
Who should buy it?
Anyone who wants any of the new/changed features in Office 2019 and is prepared to pay once for essentially fixed feature software.
Unlike the Office 365 subscription releases, Office 2019 will not get any feature updates over time.
Who should NOT buy it?
If you have an Office 365 plan do NOT get Office 2019.
Existing Office software for Office 365 users already have all the features in Office 2019 plus a lot more.
When will it be released?
Office 2019 for Windows and Mac are now available to volume licence and commercial customers.
Individual sales of Office 2019 are now available from the usual retailers.
Office 2019 for Windows will have Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, and Visio, depending on the bundle you get.
32-bit or 64-bit software.
According to Microsoft “Office 2019 includes a meaningful subset of features found in Office 365″. In other words, it has less than the current Office software sold to Office 365 customers.
There are no cloud-linked features in Office 2019. Features like Dictate, Designer, Linked Data Types, Excel dynamic arrays and Map Charts aren’t in Office 2019.
Here’s the current feature list from Microsoft which is not complete, but gives a good idea of what’s in and what’s not in Office 2019
- Black theme
- Office sounds
- Learning tools captions and audio descriptions
- Text to speech
- Improved inking functionality
- Accessibility improvements
- Funnel charts and 2D maps
- New Excel functions and connectors
- Publish Excel to PowerBI
- PowerPivot enhancements
- PowerQuery enhancements
- Zoom capabilities for ordering of slides within presentations
- Morph transition feature
- Insert and manage Icons, SVG, and 3D models
- Improved roaming pencil case
- Updated contact cards
- Office 365 Groups (requires Exchange Server)
- Focused inbox
- Travel and delivery summary cards
Windows 10 only
Office 2019 for Windows will only work on Windows 10.
Microsoft can probably give some vague technical reasons for dropping Windows 7 and 8, the real reason is money. Microsoft has always used Office compatibility to push sales of newer Windows.
Click to Run
Office 2019 for Windows will only be available as a ‘Click to Run’ (CTR) install. The older single-download or .MSI install has been dropped.
An important point about Office 2019 for Windows is the lower support entitlement. Microsoft says that Office 2019 will get ‘quality and security patch updates’ aka bug fixes for less time than the company’s own policy.
Microsoft own ‘fixed’ support policy gives customers five years of ‘mainstream’ support with patches for security and bugs then another five years of ‘extended’ support.
The ‘extended’ support has been shortened to two years instead of five. After 14 October 2025 (not 2028) there’ll be no security patches for Office 2019.
Will there be future perpetual license Office releases?
The latest Microsoft comment is:
“We remain committed to on-premises customers and plan to do additional releases post Office 2019.”
That’s not a firm commitment to the future of non-cloud Microsoft Office. Only that Redmond ‘plans’ to have future releases. That doesn’t mean they will.
Elsewhere they say:
“We’re pleased to confirm that we’re committed to another on-premises release in the future.”
But Microsoft has gone back on commitments before, when it’s suited them. Office for Windows is supposed to have a ‘fixed’ support time which has been shortened for Office 2019.
The hard reality is, if there’s enough corporate demand, Microsoft will reluctantly release an ‘Office 2022’ or similar.
From Redmond’s marketing and pricing it’s little secret that Microsoft wants all customers to pay annual ‘subscriptions’ and will drop perpetual license Office if possible.
Running Office 2019 with Office 2016
You cannot install Office 2019 to run ‘side-by-side’ with Office 2016 or any earlier version of Office.
If you need multiple versions of Office, it’s much better to use virtual machines – either Hyper/V or VMWare Workstation. Windows 10 for Microsoft Office users has a chapter with step-by-step instructions on setting up a virtual machine with Microsoft Office.
The Microsoft Office 2019 FAQ has the official line on Office 2019 using Microsoft’s own brand of corporate speak and weasel words.