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Microsoft has recently announced two new versions of Office 2021 (not Office 2022, as previously thought): a consumer Office 2021 version and Office Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for commercial customers. 

Office 2021 will be available later this year for both Windows and macOS, and as before, it has in mind those that want a “perpetual” licence, who do not wish to subscribe to the cloud / Microsoft 365 versions.  Both of the new Office variants will ship with OneNote and include 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Little information has been divulged so far, but it is known that the Office LTSC variant will include things like dark mode support, accessibility improvements, as well as features like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel.  It’s probably safe to say that Office 2021 should include similar features.

Dark mode is probably the biggest “new” thing here:

it’s clear that Microsoft strategy pivots on the 365 subscription / cloud-based model and not this product. 

Office LTSC will apparently only be supported for five (5) years instead of the usual seven (7) that Microsoft has previously provided for Office.  Internet sources state that pricing for Office Professional Plus, Office Standard and individual apps will be increasing 10% for commercial customers, whereas the Office 2021 consumer and small business pricing structures shall remain the same.

The change in Office LTSC support duration will now better align with how Windows is supported, and Microsoft is also aligning its release schedules for both Office and Windows more closely as a result.  Both of the next versions of Office LTSC and Windows 10 LTSC will be released in the second half of 2021.

A Preview of Office LTSC is due in April, with a full release later this year.  Apparently, the consumer Office 2021 variant won’t be available in Preview, though.  

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