First look: Office 2019’s likeliest new features

Microsoft has been fairly quiet about what's coming in Office 2019, but features that have rolled out to Office 365 provide clues. We explore the likeliest additions to Office 2019.

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It's getting close to time for the next major revision of the non-subscription version of Office, Office 2019, expected to be launched in the second half of this year. Microsoft calls this the “perpetual” version of Office because you pay a one-time fee for it and own it forever, and it doesn’t get upgrades until the next major version is released.

That’s in contrast to Office 365, which requires a monthly or annual subscription fee and is constantly updated. (For more details about the different versions of Office, along with expected Office 2019 licenses, release timing, Windows versions supported and more, see “FAQ: Office 2019 is coming; here's what you need to know.”)

Microsoft has released a preview of Office 2019 to its commercial customers. Jared Spataro, General Manager for Office, noted in a blog post that "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."

And we do know this: Office 2019 will be based on Office 365 and will include features from Office 365 that have been introduced since the rollout of Office 2016 in September 2015. Microsoft isn’t developing a separate code base for Office 2019, so it isn’t expected to have any features that Office 365 doesn’t have.

Based on that, we’ve looked at every single Office 365 update, examined each important feature, parsed Microsoft’s comments, and made our best guesses about what features you can expect in Office 2019. We’ve described them below, included details about how they work in Office 365, and taken screenshots so you can get a better look. We can’t guarantee that our predictions will be 100% accurate, but there’s a good chance we'll come close.

Keep in mind that Microsoft continually updates Office 365, and some future updates might make their way into Office 2019. So check back here regularly to see if there are any new features you can expect to see.

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