You can download a free sneak peek of Office 2019 right now

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Microsoft is starting to let business users experience the changes and new features in Office 2019 via a preview released today. The preview includes clients for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, and Visio.

Office 2019 was initially announced at Microsoft’s Ignite conference last year. Unlike the subscription-based Office 365, Office 2019 operates on a perpetual license: Pay once for the software and you don’t need to worry about monthly charges. With Microsoft focusing more on its cloud and subscription services, it’s unclear if Office 2019 will be the last stand-alone version of Office based on a perpetual license. The company said it is listening to customer feedback to help shape its product road map.

“Office 365 delivers continuous cloud-powered innovation for increased productivity, better security, and the lowest [total cost of ownership],” Microsoft said. “But we recognize that for many customers, moving to the cloud is a journey with many considerations along the way. Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on premises.”

microsoft office 2019 preview ready for download windows micrsofot

Some of the new features in Office 2019 include improved inking support, more powerful data analysis tools, and more sophisticated presentation tools for PowerPoint.

“Office 2019 delivers new features to help end users create amazing content in less time,” said Jared Spataro, Microsoft general manager for Office, in a blog post. “Updates include new-and-improved inking features across the apps, like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, and tilt effects; more powerful data analysis in Excel, like new formulas, new charts, and Power BI integration; and sophisticated presentation features in PowerPoint, like Morph and Zoom.”

These features in Office 2019 were already available for users on the subscription-based Office 365, Spataro notes, but weren’t included as part of Office 2016. Office 2019 is therefore intended for organizations who aren’t already on Office 365 plans.

In order to run Office 2019, you must have Windows 10 installed, as the software won’t work on older versions of the Windows operating system. The client apps will be available only as a click-to-run installer to make deployment easier for IT administrators.

A Mac version of Office 2019 will be available in the coming months, and business users will be among the first to preview the software on MacOS as well. Microsoft will also make its Exchange, SharePoint, Project Server, and Skype for Business 2019 available to test at that time.

A consumer preview for Office 2019 will not be made available, ZDNet reported, and consumers can purchase Office 2019 when it is released for retail during the second half of this year.

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