Microsoft Prepares for Office 2019 Release

Last year, Microsoft announced its upcoming release of Office 2019. From the official announcement: “This release, scheduled for the second half of 2018, will include perpetual versions of the Office apps (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and Skype for Business) and servers (including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business). Previews of the new products will start shipping mid-year 2018.” For those that have been following various speculation on this, you know that Microsoft had been fairly coy with what to expect to date, but now that we are nearing “mid-year 2018” we’ve been able to dig up a little more information.

Primarily, Office 2019 will add new capabilities for customers who aren’t yet using the cloud. The new version boasts new inking features. Things like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay will allow its users to work more instinctively. New charts and formulas will make data analysis for Excel more powerful for many, and PowerPoint presentations will be improved with some new visual animation features. Server enhancements consist of updates to IT manageability, security, and voice.

As of last week, Microsoft released the first preview versions of the suite to Windows 10 business users. Commercial customers can download the preview version, which features Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, Visio and OneNote. Preview versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Project Server and Skype for Business 2019 will be released before the end of the year, and according to Microsoft, Mac users can also expect some attention soon.

In a blog post, the Office General Manager, Jared Spataro, wrote: “Office 2019 delivers new features to help end users create amazing content in less time. Updates include new and improved inking features across the apps, like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, and tilt effects; more powerful data analysis in Excel, like new formulas, new charts, and Power BI integration; and sophisticated presentation features in PowerPoint, like Morph and Zoom.”

Many of these features are already included in Office 365 ProPlus, but haven’t been available to Office 2016 users. It is likely that Microsoft would still probably prefer commercial customers to subscribe to the online version of Office, rather than buy the desktop version outright, but at least the company is still giving its commercial customers a choice.

What do you think? Will you be upgrading to Office 2019?

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