Everything New in the Microsoft Office 2021 you need to know

For years, Microsoft has pushed the subscription version of its Office Suite — known as Office 365 or Microsoft 365, depending on the license — over the non-subscription version, dubbed “perpetual” Office. Subscribers to Office 365/Microsoft 365 pay monthly payments to use the program, but owners of the perpetual edition pay a one-time cost and retain it in perpetuity.

Nothing has changed with Office 2021. (and Office LTSC 2021). The new permanent edition includes a few features that were already included in Office 365/Microsoft 365, but many more features are missing. Office 2021, like Office 2016 and 2019, will not acquire any new features in the future, even though it will receive security updates.

All that said, the features that have been added to Office 2021 are gladly received, particularly a full collaborative editing experience. This is what’s new in this version, and what it will cost you.

Real-time co-authoring

Although Microsoft trumpeted live collaboration as a key feature in Office 2016, it turned out that the full real-time collaborative editing experience (what Microsoft calls “co-authoring”) was reserved for Office 365 subscribers. The Word 2016 and PowerPoint 2016 desktop clients for non-subscribers offered a kludgy sort of gathering collaboration, in which you had to continue to save the shared document to share your changes with others and see the changes they were making. To see changes in real-time, you had to use the less amazing online versions of Word and PowerPoint. And the Excel 2016 desktop client didn’t offer live collaboration to non-subscribers at all.

In Office 2019, real-time co-authoring came to Word, but not to Excel or PowerPoint. Non-subscribers still had to use Excel Online and PowerPoint Online to collaborate in real-time.

See Also: How To Make Google Your Default Search Engine On Windows 11

With Office 2021, real-time co-authoring is finally available in all three desktop clients, as long as the documents you’re collaborating on are stored in Microsoft’s distributed storage service, OneDrive. Everyone working on the documents sees the changes everyone else makes as they happen. Hued cursors indicate the identity of each person. See our “PowerPoint for Microsoft 365 cheat sheet” for details on how it works.

Windows 11 look and feel

It’s no coincidence that Microsoft is releasing Office 2021 on the same day it begins to carry out Windows 11. As shown in the image above and at the top of the page, Office 2021 is getting a visual update so that it looks similar to Windows 11, with adjusted windows, a more neutral shading palette, and an overall softer look.

Despite that new look, Office 2021 still works with Windows 10.

Integration with Microsoft Teams

Office 2021 is integrated with the chat and video features of Microsoft Teams. You’ll be able to chat and participate in Teams video calls from directly within Office.

Teams have been built into Windows 11, but with Office 2021 you’ll be able to use it on Windows 10 and macOS as well.

The consumer version of Microsoft Teams is integrated with Office 2021.

Other Special Features

Several additional new capabilities in Office 2021 were already released in Office 365/Microsoft 365.

Excel receives a slew of new features and functions, including XLOOKUP, which allows you to search for items in a table or range. A variety of dynamic arrays are also new to Excel, allowing you to write one formula and have it output an array of values. The new XMATCH function in Excel 2021 allows you to search for an item in an array or range of cells and then return the item’s relative location. It may also be used to return an array value.

Improved Record Slide Show features in PowerPoint include presenter video recording, ink recording, and laser pointer recording.

Let’s get to know about more features in this Microsoft blog post for an overview of Office 2021.