Microsoft has announced that it will release a new version of its popular on-premise productivity suite later this year, called Office 2019. This is geared towards those business customers who aren't ready to adopt the cloud-based Office 365.
The latest version is the ninth to be released for Windows since Microsoft unveiled the inaugural software in 1990 and the first version to come out since Office 2016 hit the market in September 2015.
Office 2019 will be a major upgrade on its predecessors, and come with at least one major system requirement for Windows users.
When will Office 2019 be released?
Microsoft announced Office 2019 at the Ignite conference in Orlando in September 2017.
The company is yet to confirm the exact date of the release, but says that previews will be available in the second quarter of 2018, before the full product will ship in the autumn.
New features of Office 2019
Office 2019 will include new perpetual versions - where the license is purchased outright and effectively has no expiry date - of all the Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Skype for Business and server products including Exchange, SharePoint and also Skype for Business.
We will have to wait for the preview to really dig into the new features, but Office 2019 will naturally include new capabilities geared towards customers who want to keep apps and servers on-premise.
As Microsoft's general manager for Office Jared Spataro explained in a blog post: "Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example, new and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally.
"New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful. Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations.
"Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security."
Office 2019 availability and support
The biggest news that Microsoft has revealed on Office 2019 thus far is that the software suite will only run on Windows 10.
Microsoft has also cut the period of time in which it provides extended support for customers. Previous versions of Office came with five years of standard support and five years of extended support. The total term has been cut from 10 years to seven.
As the company explained in a statement published in February: "Microsoft Office 2019 will provide five years of mainstream support with two years of extended support as an exception to the 10-year Fixed Lifecycle Policy term. This seven-year term will align with the support period for Microsoft Office 2016."
How much will Office 2019 cost?
Microsoft is yet to confirm the price of Office 2019, but the standalone version will likely have a similar cost to that of the Office 2016, which is currently £119.99 for the Home & Student edition.
It will also be available for Office 365 subscribers. A one-year subscription to the service currently costs £7.90 per user per month for Office 365 Business, £9.40 for Office 365 Business Premium, and £3.80 for Office 365 Business Essentials.