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Microsoft releases Office 2019 for Mac and Windows

You'll get slicker PowerPoint, a Focus mode in Word and more.
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Just because Microsoft is bent on moving everyone to cloud-based subscriptions doesn't mean it has forgotten about those who want a one-and-done purchase. The company is rolling out Office 2019 for Mac and Windows, giving you a "subset" of the upgrades that have come to Office 365 ProPlus in the past three years. They're not revolutionary, but they could be helpful if you've stuck to Office 2016 or earlier releases.

Word now has a Focus Mode (on Mac) to help you knuckle down on that must-finish report, not to mention a dark theme on Windows, better inking features and accessibility upgrades like Read Aloud. PowerPoint has a new roaming pencil case, morph transitions, 4K video export and the ability to insert content like 3D models and SVG images. Excel offers funnel charts, 2D maps, timelines and new functions. Outlook has updated contact cards, support for Office 365 Groups, mentions, a focused inbox and new summaries for deliveries and travel.

OneNote is still free and available outside of Office, regardless of the platform.

Only trusted commercial volume customers have a crack at Office 2019 right away. If you're an everyday user, you'll have to wait until sometime in the "next few weeks" to get a copy. This release won't thrill you if you're used to the heftier Office updates of years past. However, it's not really meant for early adopters. It's for companies that can't move their workers to the cloud, or individuals who just want a reasonably current Office suite without committing to a subscription. This is really a reflection of how much the industry has changed -- Microsoft is primarily competing with cloud services like Google Docs, and its priorities have shifted accordingly.

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