Review: Office 2019 is the best advertisement yet for Office 365

By raising prices and keeping key features out of Office 2019, Microsoft is telegraphing its desire to move its entire user base to Office 365.

When Microsoft released Office 2019 for Windows this fall, it did so not with a bang, but a whisper. In years gone by, Microsoft typically trumpeted new Office releases with great fanfare and hoopla, but this time it released a blog post or two with few details and left it at that.

There’s good reason for that: Microsoft is pushing Office 365, the subscription of version of Office, over the perpetual version of the suite. When you purchase a perpetual version of Office, such as Office 2016 or Office 2019, you pay a one-time fee for it and own it forever — and it never gets new features. That’s in contrast to Office 365, which requires an ongoing subscription fee and is constantly updated with new features. It’s clear that Microsoft wants people to move to Office 365, so it wants to draw as little attention as possible to any new perpetual Office release.

There’s another reason that Microsoft whispered. It used to be that whenever Microsoft released Office with a new version number — for example, Office 2016 — that version was more powerful than any other available. That’s no longer the case. Office 2019 is considerably less powerful than Office 365. There’s nothing new in Office 2019 that hasn’t already been available for quite some time to millions of Office 365 subscribers (the company says it has more than 31 million subscribers to consumer editions), and in fact, Microsoft left several features out of Office 2019 that it had introduced in Office 365 over the past few years. So the company had nothing new to wow the world with when talking about Office 2019.

So what’s new in Office 2019? And which is better for you or your organization, Office 2019 or Office 365? To help you decide, we’ve taken a look at Office 2019’s most important new features below, and then compared it to Office 365.

(In addition to the features covered here, Office 2019 gets improved support for digital ink across the entire suite, including what Microsoft calls “roaming pencil case” support, which lets you write by hand and also move around sections of documents with a digital pencil.)[ Further reading: What are the differences between Microsoft Office 2016, Office 2019 and Office 365? ]

One final note about Office 2019 before we get into the nitty-gritty: Unlike previous releases of the perpetual version of Office, it will run only on Windows 10. There will still, however, be both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of it.TABLE OF CONTENTS

New charts and formulas for Excel

There are a few nice tidbits for Excel users in Office 2019, but don’t expect anything dramatic. Excel’s new features focus primarily on data analysis, including funnel charts and 2D maps, new functions and connectors, the ability to publish from Excel to PowerBI, and enhancements to PowerPivot and PowerQuery.

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