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Office 2019 vs Office 2016: Why Upgrade

Three years after the last standalone release, a new version of Office is finally here! Today we’ll take a look at the differences between Office 2019 and its older sibling, Office 2016 and tell you why you need to upgrade.

First of all: Office 2019 is a one-time release and although it was suspected it might be the last perpetual license for Office, this is not the case. Microsoft has stated that there is likely to be at least one more. But don’t expect the perpetual licenses to exist for long, as Microsoft has increasingly been shifting the focus to its Office 365 subscription model.

Therefore, once you buy an Office 2019 license, it will never expire—but you also won’t be getting any fancy new updates Microsoft might put out. Still, for users who don’t or can’t use the cloud, don’t require advanced options, or work alone, the stand-alone is a worthwhile investment and there are several new features worth the upgrade.

So, what’s new?

For Word, new additions include:

  • Text-to-speech
  • Improved inking & accessibility
  • Focus mode
  • Translator
  • Learning tools (captions & audio descriptions)
  • Black theme
  • @ Mentions

We’ve been testing text-to-speech in several languages across the office (English, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch) and were surprised at how good it was narrating in all of them. Including picking out excerpts in a second language. When we tested Portuguese with an English excerpt in the middle, the narration flowed seamlessly between them. We’ve also tested the translation for a couple of languages and while not perfect (it certainly can’t correctly translate genders from English to Portuguese, for instance), it’s leaps and bounds ahead of your regular Web Translation.

PowerPoint now boasts:

  • Zoom capabilities for ordering of slides within presentations
  • Morph transition feature
  • Ability to insert and manage Icons, SVG, and 3D models
  • Improved roaming pencil case

Excel comes with:

  • Funnel charts, 2D maps, and timelines
  • New Excel functions and connectors
  • Ability to publish Excel to PowerBI
  • PowerPivot enhancements
  • PowerQuery enhancements
  • @ Mentions

For Co-Authoring, new Data Types like Stocks, and some other new features, you need to also have an Office 365 subscription.

Outlook now has:

  • Updated contact cards
  • Office 365 Groups (requires Exchange Online)
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Travel and delivery summary cards

In OneNote, the desktop app has been replaced by OneNote for Windows 10</b, which is included with Windows. But if you prefer to use OneNote 2016, you will still be able to install it with the Office Deployment Tool. As for Mac users, OneNote will install as part of Office 2019, and if you’ve removed it manually and want to install it again, it’ll be waiting in the Apple App Store for free.

Will my computer run it?

It depends! First, your operating system needs to either be Windows 10, Windows Server 2019, or the three most recent versions of macOS. Whenever a new major update is made to macOS, Microsoft drops support for the oldest version in lieu of the new one.

Your processor needs to have 1.6 GHz or more or processing power, and 2 cores or more. For macOS, any Intel processor will do.

With RAM, you’ll need 4 GB for Windows (or 2 GB if you’re running a 32-bit build), and GB on a Mac. Your hard drive needs 4.0 GB of space on Windows, and 10 GB on Mac.

In terms of graphics, Windows needs DirectX 9 or later, with WDDM 2.0 or higher for Windows 10. Mac has no graphics requirements whatsoever.

When is Office 2019 available, and how much will it cost?

Home and Student customers can purchase Office 2019 for $149.99 for PC and Mac and includes one license for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Home and Business sits at $249.99 (also for both PC and Mac,) and comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. For bigger enterprises that also need Publisher and Access, you’ll need the Enterprise license, which costs $439.99 (PC and Mac).

This denotes a reduction in the number of editions available when compared to Office 2016, and an Office 365 subscription will be needed to access new features that are introduced in the future.

Should I update?

The simple answer to this question is: Yes. Whether to Office 2019 or Office 365, you should upgrade your Office version, as cloud support for Office 2016 will be dropped in October 13, 2020. When the day arrives, Office 2016 installs will be barred from connecting to Microsoft’s cloud-based services, including Exchange and OneDrive.

eSoftware Associates is a professional Microsoft Consulting firm specializing in SharePoint, Office 365, Excel, Office and SQL Server solutions and support. Contact us today for a free chat regarding any Microsoft consulting needs.