Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases

Office 365 seen lurking in the wings, sharpening an axe

What might well be the last non-cloudy version of Microsoft Office has been nudged gently into the light.

The on-premises edition of Office 2019 has shipped and contains all the enhancements that Office 365 ProPlus users have seen over the last three years.

Microsoft is at pains to point out that 2019 is a one-time release and won't see any of the goodness Office 365 users are promised in coming years, such as AI or new collaboration toys.

Office 2019 will, of course, receive security fixes. But anything else? Well, can we interest you in the cloud?

The usual suspects – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook – are present in the suite, with Project, Visio and Access being Windows-only. Windows users will also continue seeing the inexplicable inclusion of Publisher, something Mac users have been spared.

The picture around OneNote is a little more complicated, with Windows users being shifted over to OneNote for Windows 10. Office 365 subscribers have enjoyed the same version, although the latter are able to create notebooks on OneDrive for Business and SharePoint as well as move beyond the 5GB of free storage afforded to users.

This cloudy approach might not be to all tastes, and if you don't want to shift your notebooks then either keep using OneNote 2016 or, er, "look for other solutions". Windows 7 users, unable to use the Windows 10 version of OneNote, have been directed to the online incarnation. Or they could just stick with OneNote 2016 until support ends – currently October 2025.

Mac users can breathe easy. Nothing will be changing for them as far as OneNote is concerned.

Microsoft has already announced that Office 2019 will not run on Windows 7 or 8.x and will not enjoy the same length of support as its predecessor. Add to that the dropping of Windows Installer (MSI) technology in favour of Click-to-Run and it is clear the wind is blowing toward the cloud, although Redmond insisted it is "committed to another on-premises release in the future".

Microsoft went on to describe the release as "an important part of our commitment to give customers the flexibility they need to move to the cloud at their own pace". And move to the cloud they will. ®

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