Microsoft Office 2021 Arriving On October 5
It’s official. Microsoft has confirmed that Office 2021 – the newest perpetual license of Microsoft Office – arrives on October 5. Office 2021 offers many new features for those currently using Office 2019, Office 2016, or other perpetual license versions of Office. In this article, you will learn more about Office 2021, its new features, and potential considerations to consider when developing your upgrade strategy.
New Features Available In All Office 2021 Applications
Across most of the Office 2021 suite, you will see several new features. First, the overall appearance of each application has a cleaner and fresher look compared to prior versions of Office. Part of the “new look” is the option to activate a Dark Mode. Additionally, you will notice the ubiquitous presence of Microsoft Search capabilities in each application, helping you find the information you need, regardless of its location. Further, Office 2021 users will also experience improved speed and performance when working with their Office files; for example, Excel functions such as SUMIF and COUNTIF will display results much faster than in the past, particularly with large datasets.
Users upgrading from Office 2013 or prior versions will now be able to take advantage of the Co-Authoring feature to experience multi-user, simultaneous collaboration on Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files. Similarly, these same users can use new functions such as TEXTJOIN and IFS in Excel. In fact, users upgrading from Office 2013 or prior will see a significant number of new features in virtually all their Office applications.
A Sampling Of New Functions Available In Excel
For many accounting and other business professionals, Excel is the most critical Office application. The new version of Office updates Excel with a significant number of new functions and features. Among these are the following.
- XLOOKUP and XMATCH provide potent alternatives to “legacy” lookup functions, such as VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX, and MATCH. The legacy functions are still available in Office 2021, but most users will want to take advantage of the power and ease of use provided by XLOOKUP and XMATCH. Click here to learn more about XLOOKUP.
- Another significant new feature in Excel is Dynamic Array formulas. With Dynamic Array formulas, you can create a single formula that places results into multiple cells. Over the long term, Dynamic Array formulas should change how most users create formulas in Excel. As part of adding Dynamic Array formulas, Microsoft also added six new functions to capitalize on Dynamic Arrays. These functions are SORT, SORTBY, FILTER, RANDARRAY, SEQUENCE, and UNIQUE. Click here to learn more about Dynamic Array formulas.
- Power Query users will notice a significant number of enhancements and new features, depending upon which version of Excel they presently use. For example, those who upgrade to Office 2021 can use Power Query to link data from PDF documents into Excel.
Other Key New Features In Office 2021 Applications
Of course, Office 2021 provides new features specific to applications other than Excel. Among them are the following.
- PowerPoint allows you to record a presentation, including video, ink, and laser pointer recording.
- You can quickly see and rearrange the elements on a PowerPoint slide.
- Additionally, PowerPoint’s Zoom feature provides presenters with more control over the order in which PowerPoint presents slides.
- Depending upon the version you are upgrading from, you may notice a new Editor feature in Word. The Editor helps to identify grammatical and style issues in your Word document that may weaken the effectiveness of your document.
- Also, the Line Focus feature is available in Word 2021. Line Focus helps users to concentrate on specific sections of a Word document.
- You can use the Search bar in Outlook to quickly find email messages in Outlook.
- Outlook 2021 provides access to Translator, a tool that allows you to translate an email message into one of over 70 languages.
Upgrade Considerations And Strategies
In general, most users who choose to continue to use perpetual software licenses – as opposed to subscription licenses, such as those available with Microsoft 365 – will likely find the new features available in Office 2021 to be well worth the investment to upgrade from a prior version of Office. However, before upgrading, there are several factors to consider. Among these are system requirements and pricing.
System requirements will not present a significant issue for most who choose to upgrade to Office 2021 if they run a relatively new computer. Specifically, your computer must meet the following minimum hardware requirements to run Office 2021.
- CPU: 1GHz dual-core processor
- GPU: DirectX 9 or higher with WDDM 2.0 or higher
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Storage: 4GB of available space
- Display: 1280×768 screen resolution
- Browser: Current version of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox
- .NET version: Some features require .NET 4.6 or higher
- Other: Some Outlook features require Microsoft Edge WebView2
Of course, pricing is always subject to change. However, at this point, Microsoft indicates that Office 2021 pricing is the same as Office 2019. Specifically, Office 2021 Home & Student lists for $149.99 at retail and Office 2021 Home & Business lists for $249.99.
Although Microsoft 365 subscriptions remain very popular, many Office users prefer perpetual licenses for various reasons. Therefore, Microsoft is offering Office 2021 as a viable alternative to the subscription-based Microsoft 365 licenses. If you want to use a perpetual license of Office that offers many of the features already available in the subscription-based offerings, you should check out Office 2021. It may provide the features you need without obligating you to monthly subscription expenses.