Microsoft Office 2021 is on its way

A screenshot of Microsoft Office.

Enlarge / The new version of Office will offer easy-toggle Dark Mode settings in many if not all applications. (credit: Microsoft)

If Microsoft had its way, Office 2021 probably wouldn’t be news at all—the Redmond giant would almost certainly prefer that everyone simply subscribe to Microsoft 365, pay a small monthly or annual fee, and get new features and fixes as they’re rolled out. For many if not most Office users, the subscription-based service is the most convenient way to get Office, even when they want to use it as locally installed software rather than doing their work in-browser and on the cloud.

For the rest of us—and for those environments which Microsoft 365 fat clients inexplicably refuse to support, such as Remote Desktop Servers—there’s Office 2019 now, and there will be Office 2021 later this year. There will also be a new Office LTSC (Long Term Service Channel), which trades a 10 percent price hike for a guarantee of longer support periods… longer than the consumer version of Office 2021, that is.

In reality, the “Long Term Service Channel” version of Office 2021 will still have a shorter support life cycle than that enjoyed by previous versions of Office. Office 2019 had a seven-year support window—Office 2021 LTSC will only offer five. There’s no official word yet on the support life cycle of the presumably shorter-lived consumer version of Office 2021.

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