Microsoft Office 2019 Now Available – Comparing 2019 vs 2016 vs 365, New Features in Access & Excel

Microsoft started the roll-out today of Microsoft Office 2019 for Windows & Mac – with major updates to Access, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, Visio, and Publisher – to commercial volume license customers.

Microsoft is following up with Office 2019 releases to consumers and other business customers, as well as SharePoint / Exchange / Skype / Project Server 2019 releases, in the coming weeks.

Office 2019 Apps 2x2.png

Office 2019 provides a subset of features Microsoft has added to Office 365 over the past three years. As Office 2019 is a one-time release, Office 365 is still the better choice with not only far more features (Co-Authoring, etc) unavailable in Office 2019 but also far earlier access to them than on-premises, non-subscription at office.com/setup Office 2019, etc. editions. 

Speculation has been that Office 2019 may be the last perpetual license (on-premises / non-subscription) release of Office so that Microsoft can focus in on its Office 365 subscription offerings. However, Microsoft has responded in one case that there is likely to be one more perpetual license release after this one.

Either way, Microsoft Office 2019 product pages even describe Office 2019 as a “one-time release” with Office 365 being needed to gain access to new features after that. It may also be that there are fewer editions available for Office 2019 than for Office 2016.

Whether you move to Office 2019 or 365, it’s suggested you don’t delay doing so, as Office 2016 cloud support will be dropped in 2020, with Office 2016 installs barred from connecting to Microsoft’s cloud-based services, including hosted email (Exchange) and online storage (OneDrive for Business), after Oct. 13, 2020.

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Also, read Overview of Office 2019 (for IT Pros)

New in Office 2019

  • Word – text-to-speech, improved inking & accessibility, focus mode, translator, Learning tools (captions & audio descriptions), @ Mentions
  • PowerPoint – Morph transitions, Zoom, SVG, 3D model, play in-click sequence, 4k video, @ Mentions
  • Excel – Power Query (Get & Transform) enhancements, Power Pivot included with all editions, new functions & connectors, publish to Power BI, AI-driven Excel Insights for chart suggestions, new charts, @ Mentions
    • Excludes Co-Authoring, new Data Types like Stocks, and some other new features only available in Office 365
  • Outlook – @ Mentions, Office 365 Groups
  • OneNote – OneNote for Windows 10 (Modern App included with Windows) has replaced OneNote desktop app (though OneNote 2016 will be available via Volume License Install tool)
  • All Office apps – Ribbon customizations and roaming pencil case
  • Microsoft Access – including the many updates we’ve seen recently such as:
    • Modern Charts
    • New Linked Table Manager
    • Dark theme
    • Big Int
    • Salesforce & Dynamics connectors
Modern Charts in Microsoft Access - Combo Chart.png
PowerAccess-Screenshot-Query Design SQL.png

Other Recent Developments with Microsoft Access

It’s especially exciting to see all the new features, growing user base and communities, new integrations, and development team responsiveness seen with Microsoft Access of late.

  • Inclusion on the Office templates page
    • Which I hope will become permanent soon
  • SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) updates
  • ODBC and OLE DB driver updates – for optimized use and new feature support for SQL Server, Azure SQL and other back-ends databases
  • Power BI support (via On-Premises Data Gateway)
    • Considering On-Premises Data Gateway is shared with PowerApps, hopefully, that means we may see PowerApps support too in the future
  • New & growing Access conferences and user communities:
    • New Access Developers’ Day in Amsterdam
    • DevCon in Vienna, AEK in Germany, UKAUG in UK, PAUG in Portland, Access Day in Redmond, Access Madrid in Spain
    • Presence at Microsoft Ignite and other conferences
    • Access User Groups (AUG) webinars and local chapters (Chicago, Denver, Madrid, Hertfordshire, etc.)
  • Access now included in most Office editions
    • Included in nearly all (besides Online-only) editions
    • Access in Office 365 Home, Personal, Business, Business Premium, ProPlus, E3, and E5 editions
    • Access in Office 2016 Professional and ProPlus editions

With MS Access having been added to most Office editions, presumably it will likewise be available with most Office 2019 editions now too.

It’s great to see these features available to Office 365 subscribers (or even sooner if opt-in for Insiders program) now being made available to others with Office 2019, and I look forward to the many more new advancements with Microsoft Access and Office to come.

Links to More Info about Office 2019

You can find out more about Office 2019 with the following articles, FAQs and product pages: