The next version of Microsoft Office is about to enter preview, here's how it differs from Microsoft 365

Office 365 on Razer laptop
(Image credit: Jennifer Young - Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft just announced the preview of the next Office LTSC release, which is called Office LTSC 2024.
  • Preview access for Office LTSC 2024 will begin in April 2024 and general availability will happen later this year.
  • Office LTSC 2024 is the commercial-focused version of Office that grants organizations a perpetual license rather than requiring a recurring subscription.
  • While a subscription is recommended for many systems and setups, there are special cases when Office LTSC is a better solution.

Microsoft has a new version of Office Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) on the way. Office LTSC 2024 will enter preview next month and will become generally available later this year. Office LTSC has several new features, including new meeting options in Outlook and dozens of new Excel features and functions. It also improves performance and security when compared to Office LTSC 2021.

While there are new features in Office LTSC 2024, it also has some omissions when compared to its predecessor. Office LTSC 2024 will not ship with Microsoft Publisher, which is being retired. The Microsoft Teams app also will not ship with Office LTSC 2024, as Teams is now available to download separately.

Microsoft also announced a price increase for Office LTSC.

"Office LTSC is a specialty product that Microsoft has committed to maintaining for use in exceptional circumstances, and the 2024 release provides substantial new feature value for those scenarios," explained Microsoft.

"To support continued innovation in this niche space, Microsoft will increase the price of Office LTSC Professional Plus, Office LTSC Standard, Office LTSC Embedded, and the individual apps by up to 10% at the time of general availability. And, because we are asked at the time of release if there will be another one, I can confirm our commitment to another release in the future."

Office LTSC 2024 grants purchasers a perpetual license rather than requiring a subscription. That license is support for five year. The setup has benefits, such as a flat one-time cost, but Office LTSC also lacks cloud-based capabilities available in Microsoft 365 apps, including real-time collaboration and AI automation in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Cloud-backed security and compliance capabilities are also no available with Office LTSC 2024.

The Office LTSC 2024 preview that starts in April is for commercial customers. Office 2024, the consumer-focused equivalent of Office LTSC 2024, will ship later this year.

Microsoft 365 vs Office LTSC

Windows 11 Copilot

Office LTSC 2024 lacks AI-driven automation, which is only available through Microsoft 365. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft shifted to a subscription-based model for its Office applications years ago. Branding has changed a bit over the years, but whether branded as Office 365 or Microsoft 365, it's generally encouraged to have a subscription, at least by Microsoft and in most cases. There are, however, situations in which it's better to pay for Office LTSC.

Special cases that would benefit from having Office LTSC rather than a subscription, including speciality systems such as medical testing equipment. Those types of devices run embedded apps and need to stay "locked in time," as outlined by Microsoft. An organization wouldn't want a medical device to get an Office update and to stop working.

Office LTSC is also ideal for regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for multiple years and process control devices that aren't connected to the internet and that are on manufacturing floors.

Generally speaking, Office LTSC is for devices that either don't connect to the web, need to stay frozen, or that can't receive updates for one reason or another.

Microsoft also has a consumer version of Office LTSC, the 2024 version of which should ship later this year. At the moment, the most recent consumer version of Office LTSC is Office 2021.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at