Microsoft has launched the latest version of its productivity suite, Office 2019, for Windows and Mac users as a one-time purchase option.

While the company has been encouraging users to its cloud-based subscription service, Office 365, in order for them to access Office apps and regular feature updates, it realises some people still simply want to buy Office like the used to: once - that's it - with no subscription fee. "We recognize that some customers can't move to the cloud in the near term," it explained. "We want to support all our customers".

So, the company is rolling out Office 2019 for Mac and Windows. You can purchase the suite once and use it as much as you want, but you won't get feature updates. Microsoft said Office 2019 includes a "meaningful subset of features that are found in Office 365", and it's not part of Office 365. Although this Office 2019 software won't be continually updated, it will receive "quality and security updates".

Here's what you need to know.

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What is Office 2019?

  • Office 2019 is an upgrade to Office 2016
  • Office 365 is different; it's an Office subscription service

Office 2019 is the next "on-premise" release of Microsoft's productivity suite. You download this program on your Windows PC or Mac machine, after paying for it once, and you get unrestricted access to all its included apps. Like Office 2016, the last major "on-premise" version of Office, it has four core apps: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. (OneNote is free and available outside of Office, regardless of platform).

Office 2019 has some features found in Office 365, a cloud-based subscription service that also provides access to Office apps. However, paid Office 365 subscribers will notice they have several unique perks over on-premise Office 2019 users, including an Editor in Word, Designer in PowerPoint, Ideas in Excel, real-time collaboration across all apps, shared computer licensing, continual feature updates, and more.

Microsoft said it plans to do additional releases post Office 2019, despite its primary focus of moving customers to Office 365.

Is Office 2019 different from Office 2016?

Yes. Since on-premise Office 2019 is technically an upgrade to on-premise Office 2016, it brings some new changes, including:

Word

  • Black theme
  • Learning tools (captions and audio descriptions)
  • Speech feature (text-to-speech)
  • Improved inking functionality

Excel

  • Funnel charts, 2D maps, and timelines
  • New Excel functions and connectors
  • Ability to publish Excel to PowerBI

PowerPoint

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

Outlook

  • Updated contact cards
  • Office 365 Groups1
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Travel and delivery summary cards

Does Office 2019 have mobile apps?

Office 2019 has no direct mobile offering. But you can get the basic Office experience using separate mobile apps for iOS and Android devices:

For access to premium features in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive, you need an Office 365 subscription. Go here for pricing.

What are the Office 2019 system requirements?

Office 2019 is compatible with a Windows 10 PC and a Mac running the three most recent versions of macOS.

Note: The Office apps for Mac users and its specific features may differ from those available for PC users. Also Office 2019 and Office 2016 cannot run concurrently on either a Windows PC or Mac.

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How much is Office 2019?

Microsoft hasn't announced pricing yet.

When will Office 2019 be available?

Currently, only commercial volume customers can get Office 2019. The consumer version will launch "in the coming weeks". We will keep you posted on pricing and availability details as we learn more.

Want to know more?

Check out Microsoft's support page for added information.