Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Microsoft used to release updates to Office apps every few years, but over the past decade, the company has mostly shifted to selling them through Microsoft 365 subscriptions. However, if you don’t want a subscription, Microsoft will release a new one-time purchase version later this year: Office 2024.

Microsoft still releases standalone versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, with the newest release being Microsoft Office Home & Student 2021. It’s a single license that costs $150 and works on a single Mac or Windows PC. There’s no included cloud storage, no integration with the mobile Office apps, or anything else.

A blog post from Microsoft confirmed today that the company will start testing the next Office Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release in April, with a full release coming later this year. The non-subscription version is primarily intended for devices that aren’t always connected to the internet or need to run on embedded hardware. The home version will be called Office 2024, replacing the previous Office 2021 package.

The blog post explains, “We are also planning to release a new version of on-premises Office for consumers later this year: Office 2024. Office 2024 will also be supported for five years with the traditional ‘one-time purchase’ model. We do not plan to change the price for these products at the time of the release. We will announce more details about new features included in Office 2024 closer to general availability.”

Comparison of Microsoft 365 subscription plans.

Office 2024 should include most changes rolled out to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel since the 2021 version. Microsoft specifically highlighted “dozens of new Excel features and functions including Dynamic Charts and Arrays.” However, features based on the Copilot AI or other cloud functionality won’t be included.

Even though it is a subscription, a Microsoft 365 plan is a better value for most people, especially families. The $70/year Personal plan gets more frequent feature updates, 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and the ability to open and edit documents from the mobile Office apps. The family plan costs $100/year, with support for up to six people, with each person getting their own 1TB pool of cloud storage. Still, if you just need the core Office apps and nothing else on one computer, and the free web-based versions or LibreOffice won’t cut it, the upcoming Office 2024 release might make sense.

The good news is that this shouldn’t be the last standalone Office release. The blog post says, “because we are asked at the time of release if there will be another one, I can confirm our commitment to another release in the future.”

Source: Microsoft 365 Blog

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By John P.

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