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Office 2021 for Mac, your preview first look

Your first look at Office 2021 for Mac with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, which is now out in public preview, showing off some of the new features.

There’s only a Mac Office 2021 preview, no Office 2021 for Windows preview.  Perhaps because there’s a few more innovations in a comparison of Office 2019 to Office 2021 for Mac than in the Windows version?

The software is underwhelming, to put it mildly, but that’s what Microsoft is aiming for. 

Office 2021 for volume customers is a non-subscription, perpetual licence release that Microsoft is grudgingly selling.  They’d much prefer customers get on the subscription treadmill.

It’s hard to tell the differences between Office 2019 and Office 2021, at least in its current public preview form.

Microsoft may add some more features to Office 2021 (and the related Office LTSC) as the preview continues.  Like Office 2019, Office 2021/LTSC won’t have any cloud-based features like PowerPoint Designer or Linked Data Types in Excel.

Word 2021 for Mac

Most of the apps have an opening ‘What’s New’ promo page but it looks like an unrevised left-over from Office 2019 (understandable in a preview).  For example the ‘new’ functions mentioned in Excel 2021 (see below) are already in Excel 2019.

No Line Focus – not yet

One promised Office 2021 for Mac feature is Line Focus in Word’s Immersive Reader.  It’s not in the first preview release, despite being listed as present (Line Focus is in Word LTSC for Windows preview and in Office 2019 for Windows)  See Why do the newest Microsoft Office features disappear?

Word 2021 for Mac Immersive Reader with Line Focus yet to appear.

Excel 2021

This page looks like the Office 2019 list, yet to be updated. The ‘new’ charts and features are already in Office 2019.

Dynamic Arrays

Perhaps the most important part of Excel 2021/LTSC is Dynamic Arrays


Xlookup() is the improved and easier alternative to Vlookup() or Hlookup().

PowerPoint 2021

Again, this page needs updating later in the preview.  Morph, SVG and embedded fonts are already in Office 2019.

Record Narration

The one new announced feature in PowerPoint 2021 is Recording a presentation with narration.

Outlook 2021

No visible changes in Outlook 2021 for Mac.

OneNote 2021

OneNote in Office 2021 is the same as in Office 2019, according to Microsoft itself

Access and Publisher

MacOS versions of Microsoft Office do NOT have Access nor Publisher.  Office 2021 for Windows will have (slightly) updated Access 2021 and Publisher 2021 similar to the Office LTSC releases.  See Office LTSC first look images

All about Office 2021 for Windows & Mac
Office LTSC public preview now available
Office LTSC, first look images
The good and bad in Office LTSC

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