Microsoft is now rolling out a free preview of Office 2019 for businesses, including new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
Office 365 subscribers already have all the new features – continuous updates are one of the main benefits of the cloud service – but it’s the first perpetual release since 2016.
New features in Office 2019 include the ability to manage icons, vector graphics and 3D images in PowerPoint; funnel charts and 2D maps in Excel; Office 365 groups for Outlook; and a chic black theme for Word.
A preview of Office 2019 for Mac will arrive in the coming months, but Microsoft has already announced that the PC version will be exclusively for Windows 10, pushing businesses still using Windows 7 to upgrade their licenses.
Microsoft is also cagey about the future perpetual version of Office, saying only that: "As standard practice, Microsoft will continue evaluating customer needs and industry trends to determine a plan for future versions of our products and services." By 2022, it might have decided that the future lies wholly in the cloud.
Sadly, the Office 2019 preview isn’t available for home users – only businesses with volume licenses for Office 2016 that are planning to upgrade when the suite launches later this year. Everyone else will have to wait a little longer.