All about Office 2021 for Windows & Mac

Office 2021 is the latest ‘perpetual licence’ or non-subscription version of Microsoft Office for consumers and small businesses released in October 2021.

It’s what Microsoft calls a ‘perpetual licence’ version. A single payment for ongoing use of the software with no annual payments (aka ‘subscription). The replacement for Office 2019.

Office 2021 is sold retail to individuals and small businesses. A similar product, Office LTSC, is for volume licence customers.

If you have Microsoft 365Do NOT buy Office 2019 or Office 2021  like Microsoft 365 Family (formerly Home), Microsoft 365 Personal or an enterprise plan.  In other words, you pay for Office as an annual fee.

What is Office 2021?

It’s the perpetual, single payment or non-subscription version of Microsoft Office for consumers and small businesses.

Office 2021 will include in all bundles:

  • Word 2021
  • Excel 2021
  • PowerPoint 2021

Depending on the bundle / package of Office 2021 it can also have:

  • Outlook 2021
  • Access 2021 (Windows only)
  • Publisher 2021 (Windows only)

OneNote is also included but it’s the same as in Office 2019.

What’s new in Office 2021?

Microsoft has confirmed these features will be added to Office 2021:

  • Dynamic Arrays in Excel
  • XLOOKUP() in Excel
  • Dark mode support
  • Line Focus added to Word’s Immersive Reader.
  • Record a slide show with narration in PowerPoint.
  • Performance improvements 
  • Accessibility improvements

Excel’s Let() makes it to Office 2021 but sadly not Lambda()

We’ve checked Microsoft’s new feature list against the actual software in our lists of new and better features in Office 2021 and Office LTSC plus …

New Features in Excel 2021
New Features in PowerPoint 2021
New Features in Outlook 2021
New Features in Access 2021
New Features to Visio 2021

There will be no more features added, unlike Microsoft 365 annual plans.

Office 2021 will NOT have most of the popular cloud based features like Excel data types (Stock prices etc). But Stock images etc is included as well as Translation are available.

There are small differences between the features in Office 2021 and Office LTSC. Microsoft hints by saying their list of new & changed Office 2021 also applies to Office LTSC ‘except where noted’.

Windows and Mac

Office 2021 will be available for Windows and Mac desktops.

32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows. Only 64-bit for Mac.

Windows 10 or Windows 11 is required for Office 2021, same as Office 2019.

MacOS, Microsoft’s policy is to support the current and past two MacOS releases. It will work with either Intel or M1 based Mac computers.

Shorter support ending in 2026

Office 2021 will only get bug fix and security patches for five years from release date (not date of purchase).

That means Office 2021 support ends on October 13, 2026.

That’s two years less than Office 2019 and half the supposedly ‘fixed lifecycle’ policy announced by Microsoft itself.

Prices for Office 2021

There are three Office 2021 retail bundles with separate versions for PC or Mac (make sure you buy the right one). Both are SINGLE machine licences.

Office Home and Student 2021

Retails for US$149.99 with Word 2021 , Excel 2021 and PowerPoint 2021.

plus OneNote desktop, and Microsoft Teams for PC and Mac – both are available as free downloads from Microsoft.

Licensed for personal / home use only.

Office Home and Business 2021

Home and Business 2021 bundle is the same as Home and Student, adding Outlook and the right to use for business.

Sells for US$249.99 with Word 2021 , Excel 2021 and PowerPoint 2021 Plus Outlook for PC and Mac

OneNote desktop, and Microsoft Teams for PC and Mac – both are available as free downloads from Microsoft.

Licensed for business purposes in addition to personal/home use.

Office Professional 2021

Professional 2021 bundle is the same as Home and Business, adding Publisher and Access (Windows only) and the right to use for business.

Sells for US$439.99 with Word 2021 , Excel 2021 and PowerPoint 2021, Outlook 2021, Publisher 2021 and Access 2021 for Windows PC only (No Mac version)

OneNote desktop, and Microsoft Teams – both are available as free downloads from Microsoft.

Licensed for business purposes in addition to personal/home use.

What about Visio and Project?

There’s been NO announcement about a bundle including Visio and Project (which would be Windows only).

There are presumably volume licence bundles for Office 2021 Professional Plus but Microsoft hasn’t announced them. Microsoft’s site is ‘stuck’ on Office 2019 licence options.

Microsoft doesn’t want to sell Office 2021

Microsoft would very much prefer NOT to sell perpetual licence versions of Office. The high prices, reduced support and limited features are all signs of that. They only sell Office 2021 because Microsoft doesn’t want people to switch to non-Microsoft alternatives.

Microsoft 365 with it’s annual fee (aka ‘subscription’) is Microsoft’s preferred option. It’s more profitable for the company. With many cloud-based features, it’s harder for customers to switch away from Microsoft Office.

When?

Office 2021 started selling on 5 October 2021.

Office 2021 for Mac, your preview first look
The good and bad in Office LTSC
LET() assigns names to calculations in Excel
New and better features in Office 2021 and Office LTSC
New Features in Excel 2021
New Features in PowerPoint 2021
New Features in Outlook 2021
New Features in Access 2021
New Features to Visio 2021

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