MS Office 2021 – What You Need to Know

October 5th is the release date of Microsoft’s Office 2021. This is the new version of the most iconic and popular office suite ever made, and comes as a standalone version for those who don’t want the subscription-based Office.

Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft Office 2021:

Two Available Versions

There are two versions of MS Office 2021 being released: Home and Student 2021, which will run $149.99, and Home and Business 2021, which will cost you $249.99. The Home and Student 2021 version will feature Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams, and be available for both PC and Mac. Home and Business 2021 comes with everything Home and Student 2021 features, plus you are allowed to use Office for your business.

New and Improved Features

There will be some helpful collaboration features in MS Office 2021 that are currently available in the subscription-based Microsoft 365 version, along with real-time co-authoring, OneDrive support, and integration with Microsoft Teams.

You will also be greeted with a revamped design, which is especially apparent in the ribbon atop the UI. Corners have become rounded and a neutral color palette has been introduced to match the aesthetic upgrades to the new Windows 11.

Excel, PowerPoint, and Word have all received some new features that could come in handy. Here is a breakdown of what these are for each of these apps:

New Excel Features

There are a few new features in Excel that may sound a bit technical for casual Excel users, but which can prove to be quite helpful for regular users of the app.

  • XLOOKUP function makes it quick and easy to locate data within a table or range by row within any spreadsheet.
  • Dynamic array support involves the use of dynamic arrays (values in formulas that are of varying sizes).
  • LET function allows you to assign names to any calculated result.
  • XMATCH function will help you search for a specific item that is within an array or a range of cells, and will then return its relative position.
  • Support for the popular alternative document format ODF (OpenDocument) for version 1.3
  • Draw tab has received an upgrade
  • Various performance improvements

New Powerpoint Features

PowerPoint has also received a number of new features that improve the functionality of this popular presentation app. Here’s what’s new in PowerPoint:

  • Easily record a slideshow with the new Record Slide Show feature, allowing presenter video recording, as well as ink and laser point recording.
  • Ink strokes are now repayable if you use ink within PowerPoint, which lets you replay the process of illustrations being drawn.
  • Ability to have elements within slides arranged in a way that optimizes them for screen readers.
  • Support for the popular alternative OpenDocument (ODF) format for its 1.3 version.
  • The Draw tab has also been updated.
  • Various performance upgrades have also been integrated.

New Word Features

Word also has a few upgrades to it, although not as many as Excel and PowerPoint. Here are the new features for Word:

  • Added support for OpenDocument (ODF) version 1.3
  • Draw tab has been updated
  • Various performance improvements


MS Office 2021 is a welcome upgrade from its predecessor. The two offered versions provide great alternatives to the subscription-based Microsoft 365 versions of the MS Office 2021 suite. Now that you know what’s in store for Office 2021, you can go ahead and grab your copy of this suite starting October 5th.