Office 2019 preview now available for commercial users

The Windows 10 April 2018 update isn't the only Microsoft announcement making headlines today: Office users are getting some goodies as well. Microsoft today announced that the Office 2019 preview is now available for commercial customers, coming months after initially announcing the follow-up to Office 2016.

Altogether, the Office 2019 Commercial Preview includes an early look at the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, Project, Visio, and OneNote for Windows 10. Microsoft also plans to release other previews in the coming months, including for Office 2019 for Mac, Exchange 2019, SharePoint 2019, Project Server 2019, and Skype for Business 2019.

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In terms of new features, Office 2019 will pick up capabilities that are already available for Office 365 ProPlus users, but aren't currently available for Office 2016. From Microsoft:

Updates include new and improved inking features across the apps, like the roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay; 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.

Additionally, for IT administrators, Office 2019 will exclusively take advantage of Click-to-Run, first introduced in Office 2013, for deployment. "The advantages of C2R include predictable monthly security updates, up-to-date apps on installation, reduced network consumption through Windows 10 download optimization technology, and an easy upgrade path to Office 365 ProPlus," Microsoft says.

Microsoft has placed more of an emphasis on Office 365 in recent years, but it still sees perpetual license versions of Office as important for customers who aren't yet ready to move fully to the cloud.

Office 2019 is due for release in the second half of 2018. If you want to take part in the Office 2019 Commercial Preview, you can learn how to participate at Microsoft.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl