Back in June, Microsoft rolled out the first preview for Office 2019 for Mac for Insiders. The next full version of Microsoft's fixed productivity suite will launch at the end of this year. Unlike Office 365, Office 2019 will remain a purchase once service, but with the same feature set as 365. However, on Mac the suite is limited in terms of OS compatibility.
In fact, Microsoft says users will need to be upgraded to MacOS Sierra or High Sierra to receive updates for Office 2019 for Mac.
Microsoft's announcement flew under the radar slightly. Taking to its Office blog, the company urged users to update to MacOS version 10.12 or later:
“As of the Office 365 for Mac September 2018 update, macOS 10.12 or later is required to update to the new version of the Office client apps for Mac and receive new feature updates.”
It is important to understand this version requirement is only to receive new Office 2019 for Mac updates. Users who do not update to the required MacOS versions will still get Microsoft support and the ability to use Office 2019. However, they won't get any new features.
“As part of the upcoming September 2018 update, Office 365 for Mac users on macOS 10.12 or later will receive an update from the Office 2016 for Mac client to Office 2019 for Mac in order to maintain access to new feature releases and updates.”
Microsoft is making the following changes to the Office experience through the release of 2019:
Simplified ribbon—The ribbon will be simplified in the upcoming overhaul in an effort to allow users to collaborate more efficiently. It can be expanded to the classic view we are used to, but Microsoft wants the newer design to be the design of choice. This new ribbon is already rolling out to Word on Office.com and will come to Outlook in preview this July.
New colors and icons—App icons and colors will be changed with support for scalable graphics. Microsoft says the icons will “render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize the user experience and make it more inclusive and accessible.” The new colors and icons will come to Office Insiders later this month.
Search— Microsoft is also updating the search dynamics in Office 365 and Office.com. The apps will now surface information on content, people, and commands. With the new “zero query search”, users can just put the cursor in the search box and it will automatically show recommendations. This is achieved by the apps leveraging AI through Microsoft Graph.