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Microsoft Office 2021 – Is the switch worth it?

Microsoft’s first Office was released in 1989, and interestingly, only for the Apple Macintosh. A lot has happened in the popular Office Suite since then. Not only did Windows become the preferred platform, and the versions for the Mac gradually removed functions for a variety of reasons, but the rate at which new Office versions appeared has also increased over the years.

And so you can almost set the clock so that every 3 years it’s that time again and a new Office appears as a stand-alone version. Microsoft Office 2021 has been on the market since October 5, 2021, and it’s not reinventing the wheel but there are a few things that have changed.

Lohnt sich der Umstieg auf Office 2021

Topic Overview

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We have now spent a few weeks with Office 2021 and would therefore like to share our experiences here and offer a little decision-making support for everyone who is not sure whether the switch to Office 2021 is worthwhile or not. Anyone who works with Office 365 can actually stop reading at this point, because with the subscription model of the Office Suite you always have all the new features first. This model is just not worth it for many, which is why the stand-alone Office versions are still very popular.

Microsoft Office 2021 – Is the switch worth it?

Microsoft’s first Office was released in 1989, and interestingly, only for the Apple Macintosh. A lot has happened in the popular Office Suite since then. Not only did Windows become the preferred platform, and the versions for the Mac gradually removed functions for a variety of reasons, but the rate at which new Office versions appeared has also increased over the years.

And so you can almost set the clock so that every 3 years it’s that time again and a new Office appears as a stand-alone version. Microsoft Office 2021 has been on the market since October 5, 2021, and it’s not reinventing the wheel but there are a few things that have changed.

Lohnt sich der Umstieg auf Office 2021

Topic Overview

Anzeige

We have now spent a few weeks with Office 2021 and would therefore like to share our experiences here and offer a little decision-making support for everyone who is not sure whether the switch to Office 2021 is worthwhile or not. Anyone who works with Office 365 can actually stop reading at this point, because with the subscription model of the Office Suite you always have all the new features first. This model is just not worth it for many, which is why the stand-alone Office versions are still very popular.

1. What’s new in Word 2021

The first thing you notice about Word 2021 is that everything is bigger. There are larger icons with more spacing between them, and an overall cleaner interface. We found the quick start bar at the top really interesting. Because there you will find a switch for “AutoSave” on the far left. The first thought was that this is a great idea where you can then set different time-based automated save options.

But unfortunately that was nothing. Because if you click on the switch, you will first be informed that before automatic saving can be activated, the data must first be saved in the cloud. And the cloud means (no surprise) Microsoft OneDrive.

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But we left that for the time being, since we still have the option in the options menu to specify whether and at what intervals a file should be saved automatically. At this point, Microsoft should definitely make improvements and (if not on other cloud services) at least offer the function as quick access, which can probably be assumed here.

The next redesigned point can be found in the middle of the quick launch bar at the top. There is now a search field which not only allows you to search in a document, but also offers a web search, search in help topics, or context-sensitive tasks. Context-sensitive means that intelligent suggestions are made that are related to the current selection in the document. This sometimes works more or less well, but overall it definitely helps to optimize the workflow. It is also a feature that will certainly be further developed over time.

(click to enlarge)

Word 2021 - Intelligente Suche
Word 2021 - AutoSpeichern - OneDrive
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The bottom line is that Word 2021 definitely made a good impression on us, also because you didn’t have to search long to find a function. Actually, pretty much everything has stayed where it was left in the predecessor Office 2019. Only that the entire surface looks fresher, tidier and not so overloaded.

In our photo gallery we have taken screenshots of each tab so you can get an overview of the new look of Office 2021.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Word 2021

(click to enlarge)

1. What’s new in Word 2021

The first thing you notice about Word 2021 is that everything is bigger. There are larger icons with more spacing between them, and an overall cleaner interface. We found the quick start bar at the top really interesting. Because there you will find a switch for “AutoSave” on the far left. The first thought was that this is a great idea where you can then set different time-based automated save options.

But unfortunately that was nothing. Because if you click on the switch, you will first be informed that before automatic saving can be activated, the data must first be saved in the cloud. And the cloud means (no surprise) Microsoft OneDrive.

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But we left that for the time being, since we still have the option in the options menu to specify whether and at what intervals a file should be saved automatically. At this point, Microsoft should definitely make improvements and (if not on other cloud services) at least offer the function as quick access, which can probably be assumed here.

The next redesigned point can be found in the middle of the quick launch bar at the top. There is now a search field which not only allows you to search in a document, but also offers a web search, search in help topics, or context-sensitive tasks. Context-sensitive means that intelligent suggestions are made that are related to the current selection in the document. This sometimes works more or less well, but overall it definitely helps to optimize the workflow. It is also a feature that will certainly be further developed over time.

(click to enlarge)

Word 2021 - Intelligente Suche
Word 2021 - AutoSpeichern - OneDrive
Nord VPN
Anzeige

The bottom line is that Word 2021 definitely made a good impression on us, also because you didn’t have to search long to find a function. Actually, pretty much everything has stayed where it was left in the predecessor Office 2019. Only that the entire surface looks fresher, tidier and not so overloaded.

In our photo gallery we have taken screenshots of each tab so you can get an overview of the new look of Office 2021.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Word 2021

(click to enlarge)

2. What’s new in Excel 2021

At first glance, Excel 2021 doesn’t really offer any new functions either, but just like Word 2021, everything has a new look, which makes the work interface appear clearer and lighter. Excel doesn’t really need new functions anyway, since it is probably the most comprehensive spreadsheet program of all, and there is no one who masters Excel 100% in all its facets. As with Word 2021, the biggest changes can be found in the look, which makes everything slimmer.

In contrast to Word 2021, we don’t find the “AutoSave” button in the quick start bar at the top, which surprised us a bit. The reason for this is not clear to us, but perhaps this point will be submitted later. But there is a search function with context-sensitive suggestions for functions. This also works really well here, so that, for example, after a sum has been formed, the suggestion is made to format the cells or to use the name manager.

Excel 2021 - Teilen in der Cloud
Excel 2021 - Intelligente Funktionen
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By the way, as with Word 2021, the “Share” button in the quick start bar at the top right is new.

That’s when we thought how practical it would be to easily share files with others via email or cloud. But even at this point we were slowed down, because you can only share a file if it was previously saved in the cloud. And only “OneDrive” is offered as cloud storage.

Excel Inquire has also been made clearer and equipped with additional functions to clean up worksheets. Especially beginners should be happy about the detailed help function of Excel 2021, which can help in case of doubt. Of course, we have also provided a series of images with all tabs from Excel 2021 for you here.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Excel 2021

(click to enlarge)

2. What’s new in Excel 2021

At first glance, Excel 2021 doesn’t really offer any new functions either, but just like Word 2021, everything has a new look, which makes the work interface appear clearer and lighter. Excel doesn’t really need new functions anyway, since it is probably the most comprehensive spreadsheet program of all, and there is no one who masters Excel 100% in all its facets. As with Word 2021, the biggest changes can be found in the look, which makes everything slimmer.

In contrast to Word 2021, we don’t find the “AutoSave” button in the quick start bar at the top, which surprised us a bit. The reason for this is not clear to us, but perhaps this point will be submitted later. But there is a search function with context-sensitive suggestions for functions. This also works really well here, so that, for example, after a sum has been formed, the suggestion is made to format the cells or to use the name manager.

Excel 2021 - Teilen in der Cloud
Excel 2021 - Intelligente Funktionen
Advertisement

By the way, as with Word 2021, the “Share” button in the quick start bar at the top right is new.

That’s when we thought how practical it would be to easily share files with others via email or cloud. But even at this point we were slowed down, because you can only share a file if it was previously saved in the cloud. And only “OneDrive” is offered as cloud storage.

Excel Inquire has also been made clearer and equipped with additional functions to clean up worksheets. Especially beginners should be happy about the detailed help function of Excel 2021, which can help in case of doubt. Of course, we have also provided a series of images with all tabs from Excel 2021 for you here.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Excel 2021

(click to enlarge)

3. What’s new in Outlook 2021

Even with Outlook 2021, the wheel is not reinvented, and as with Word 2021 and Excel 2021, the improvements are mainly reflected in the look. The integration of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Skype, which can be started directly from the calendar, is really well done.

The integration of add-ins previously implemented in older Office versions also worked flawlessly and there were no incompatibilities. What surprised us a little at first is the postponed search function for e-mails and people. Because this is no longer directly above the column with the e-mail overview, but has been moved a little further to the right into a filter symbol. From there you can specify the search for content quite precisely. Basically, there is not much new to report about Outlook 2021, because there is nothing really new apart from the clearer look.

Here is another series of photos from Outlook 2021 so that you can get a more detailed picture.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Outlook 2021

(click to enlarge)

3. What’s new in Outlook 2021

Even with Outlook 2021, the wheel is not reinvented, and as with Word 2021 and Excel 2021, the improvements are mainly reflected in the look. The integration of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Skype, which can be started directly from the calendar, is really well done.

The integration of add-ins previously implemented in older Office versions also worked flawlessly and there were no incompatibilities. What surprised us a little at first is the postponed search function for e-mails and people. Because this is no longer directly above the column with the e-mail overview, but has been moved a little further to the right into a filter symbol. From there you can specify the search for content quite precisely. Basically, there is not much new to report about Outlook 2021, because there is nothing really new apart from the clearer look.

Here is another series of photos from Outlook 2021 so that you can get a more detailed picture.

Picture gallery: Microsoft Outlook 2021

(click to enlarge)

4. Who is it worth buying Office 2021 for?

As I said, now that we’ve been dealing with Office 2021 for a few weeks and have used it on a daily basis, we can say that we don’t really want to do without it anymore. We never had the feeling that a function was missing or that we had to search for a function for a long time. It felt like everything was in the right place. But of course not everything is perfect either, because a “Share” function with which you can only share documents with others via “OneDrive” is nothing half and nothing whole. This definitely needs to be reworked!

The same applies to the “AutoSave” function, which is available in Word but not in Excel. And why is it suggested to us here that we can activate automatic saving, but then again subject to restrictions in the form of the OneDrive cloud. What shoud that? This point should also be improved.

But now we come to the question of whether the switch is worthwhile for you.

One thing is clear: Office 2021 is absolutely not a “must have” but it is fun to work with. If you come from Office 2019, you can actually do without it, and everyone who has worked with Office 2016 or even older versions can definitely recommend the change, as there are so many new features hidden here.

4. Who is it worth buying Office 2021 for?

As I said, now that we’ve been dealing with Office 2021 for a few weeks and have used it on a daily basis, we can say that we don’t really want to do without it anymore. We never had the feeling that a function was missing or that we had to search for a function for a long time. It felt like everything was in the right place. But of course not everything is perfect either, because a “Share” function with which you can only share documents with others via “OneDrive” is nothing half and nothing whole. This definitely needs to be reworked!

The same applies to the “AutoSave” function, which is available in Word but not in Excel. And why is it suggested to us here that we can activate automatic saving, but then again subject to restrictions in the form of the OneDrive cloud. What shoud that? This point should also be improved.

But now we come to the question of whether the switch is worthwhile for you.

One thing is clear: Office 2021 is absolutely not a “must have” but it is fun to work with. If you come from Office 2019, you can actually do without it, and everyone who has worked with Office 2016 or even older versions can definitely recommend the change, as there are so many new features hidden here.

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About the author:

Michael W. Suhr
Michael W. SuhrWebdesigner / MBA
After 20 years in logistics, I turned my hobby, which has accompanied me since the mid-1980s, into a profession, and have been working as a freelancer in web design, web consulting and Microsoft Office since the beginning of 2015. On the side, I write articles for more digital competence in my blog as far as time allows.

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About the author:

Michael W. Suhr
Michael W. SuhrWebdesigner / MBA
After 20 years in logistics, I turned my hobby, which has accompanied me since the mid-1980s, into a profession, and have been working as a freelancer in web design, web consulting and Microsoft Office since the beginning of 2015. On the side, I write articles for more digital competence in my blog as far as time allows.

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