Microsoft shows off Office 2021 for consumers ahead of the coming of Windows 11

5 October shaping up to be a big day in Redmond


While its licensing plans for enterprises might be infamously byzantine, Microsoft has confirmed pricing and availability of Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses.

The Windows giant would really prefer the great unwashed sign up for a Microsoft 365 subscription, "However, we know some customers still prefer a non-subscription version of the core Office apps for PC and Mac, which is why we're releasing Office 2021."

Starting from 5 October (the date when Windows 11 is expected to step out of the shadows, with its hardware-culling axe) Office 2021 for Home and Student, replete with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Teams for PC and Mac, will be available for $149.99. Spend another 100 bucks for the Home and Business edition and you get Outlook for PC and Mac along with the rights "to use the apps for business purposes."

Office 2021 includes some of the features of Microsoft 365, most notably new functions in Excel, such as XLOOKUP, and support for the OpenDocument format (ODF) 1.3. That compatibility would make a migration to an alternative productivity suite a good deal simpler should Microsoft's demands cause a user to think twice in the future.

Both Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 have also received a visual refresh "to provide a coherent and seamless experience on a new Windows 11 PC," because if you want Windows 11, let's face it, a substantial proportion of users will be in need of a new PC.

Just last week, a survey of 30 million plus Windows devices used in 60,000 organisations indicated more than half of the workstations would not be capable of running the operating system.

Microsoft 365 for individuals goes for $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year, while households of up to six people (and needing up to six licences) can opt for the $9.99 a month ($99.99 per year) Microsoft 365 Family edition. PC users also get Access and Publisher thrown in, the latter still inexplicably a thing after all these years.

Subscribers will also get Microsoft Teams inflicted on them in the coming months and well as new features that won't make it into Office 2021.

The announcement came with a reminder that the suite is Windows 10 and Windows 11 only, and that Office 2013 would not be supported under Windows 11. Finally, it is also worth considering that if one is hoping to use Microsoft 365 or these "non-subscription" editions of the Office 2021, a Microsoft account and Internet connection is required.

You will need to opt for the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) edition of Office if you want to dodge Microsoft's connectivity demands. ®

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