We will start with MS Office 2013, as it was the latest version of MS Office to be considered end-of-life and no longer supported by Microsoft as of April of this year.
It’s important to note that each version of Microsoft Office has two main support expiration dates.
One I will call the Active Support cycle and the other I will call the Security Support cycle.
The Active Support cycle is shorter – it’s the cycle where Microsoft still offers support for the product.
The Security Support cycle refers to the true end of life of that product – meaning security updates will no longer be provided.
After Office 2013, Microsoft offered Office 2016. Active Support for Office 2016 ended in October 2020 – meaning if you have issues then Microsoft is not going to help you unless. possibly, if you pay them a good amount of money to do so. Security Support for Office 2016 will end in October 2025, basically rendering it useless after that if you ever need to reinstall it on another computer – you’ll find your product key will no longer work and, if you keep using it on your current PC and you connect that PC to the internet, you are opening yourself up to known security and hacking risks.
Then came Office 2019 and the Active Support ends in just a few short months – October of this year. Security Support for Office 2019 will end in October 2025 – the same time that Security Support ends for Office 2016.
Next is the latest standalone Office package – Office 2021. It has a much shorter lifespan, as Active Support ends in October 2026 and Security Support will end AT THE SAME TIME.
Then there is Office 365, which was very recently renamed Microsoft 365. It contains Excel, Word, Outlook, and Powerpoint that can be used online or downloaded directly to your PC or laptop – just like the regular versions of Office.
Is Microsoft abandoning the stand-alone versions of Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint? Time will tell, but to me anyway, it sure seems like it as, when it comes to their Office products, their advertising and marketing are geared 100% to the Microsoft 365 subscription-based service.