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Office 2019 Commercially Available Now

25 September 2018

Succeeding its “2016” counterpart, Microsoft Office 2019 was released for Windows 10 and on macOS on 24 September 2018. Some – but crucially, not all – features that were previously only on Office 365 products are available in this release. It’s clear what Microsoft wants you to buy, which was also identifiable with how awkward it was for the “average user” to get their mitts on a Preview release.

Whilst both include what Microsoft refers to as “classic” versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook (anyone remember Classic Coke?), the Windows version also includes Publisher 2019, Access 2019, Project 2019 and Visio 2019. However, as expected, Office 2019 applications will not receive feature updates but will receive regular security and stability updates.

People who use Office 365, Office 2016, Office 2013 and Office 2010 applications can open documents created by using Office 2019 without any additional action, i.e. there is backward compatibility, although clearly new functions like CONCAT in Excel will not be recognised in previous editions.

There are new features slated for release. The new features that are included in the commercial Preview release, as stated by Microsoft, include:


  • Black theme
  • Office sounds
  • Learning tools captions and audio descriptions
  • Text-to-speech
  • Improved inking functionality
  • Accessibility improvements


  • Funnel charts and 2-D maps
  • New Excel functions and connectors
  • Publish Excel to Power BI
  • PowerPivot enhancements
  • Power Query enhancements


  • Zoom capabilities for ordering of slides within presentations
  • Morph transition feature
  • Insert and manage Icons, SVG and 3-D models
  • Improved roaming pencil case


  • Updated contact cards [Ed.'s note: This feature requires an Exchange Online account.]
  • Office 365 Groups
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Travel and delivery summary cards

It’s not perhaps as many as people were expecting though, and worse, there are features that, at this time of writing, do appear to be missing / excluded:

Unlocks Creativity

  • Tap in Word, PowerPoint, Outlook
  • Designer in PowerPoint
  • Researcher in Word
  • Insights in Excel*
  • Data Types

Built for Teamwork

  • Real-time co-authoring
  • @mentions in Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Integrated for Simplicity

  • Shared computer licensing
  • Language packs included
  • FastTrack Options
  • Intune integration
  • Microsoft 365 Analytics*

Intelligent Security

  • ATP Safe Links
  • Office 365 Message Encryption*
  • Office Enterprise Protection*
  • Add sensitivity label in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook*.

The items with an asterisk (*) require an Office 365 E3 or E5 subscription.

Perpetual licences are needed by some individuals and organisations who have confidentiality requirements, security concerns or other legitimate reasons not to move to an internet-based subscription model. Microsoft has stated:

“…Moving to the cloud is a journey with many considerations along the way. Therefore, we remain committed to on-premises customers and plan to do (sic) additional releases post Office 2019…”

So there are further “Perpetual” releases slated, presumably on the continuing three-year cycle, but who knows for sure? It is obvious though that he push towards the subscription model has never been made clearer.