Confused as to what version of Office you are using? You are NOT alone. A lot of the specific PowerPoint questions I receive, such as “How come I don’t have morph?” or “How come I don’t have PowerPoint Designer?” all come down to the version of Office you have running on your computer, or rather, think you have on your computer.
Office 365 vs. Office 2019
Many people assume they have installed the latest version of Office, but are surprised to find they don’t have the latest features being advertised. This is usually the difference between how individuals have licensed Office and whether or not they have subscribed to Office 365 or purchased Office 2019 or an earlier version of Office (a.k.a the perpetual or traditional license).
Currently, Office 2019 is the latest perpetual version of Office you can purchase. This is the classic one-time purchase model of the Office suite, licensed for one PC or Mac that includes Microsoft support for 60 days. Included in this suite are Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Word only.
Office Professional 2019 includes the core Office applications, plus Publisher and Access. If you want to check to see if this is the version you have purchased, just open any Office application on your computer (like PowerPoint), and go to File > Account > Product Information (on the right-hand side). There it should say “Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019” or something similar. But it will NOT say subscription product.
Office 365 is the subscription version of Office (as in you pay monthly or yearly). This version will update and give subscribers access to all the new, latest features as they become available (depending on your organization’s channel or your operating system).
To check to see if you have Office 365, open any Office application (like PowerPoint) and go to File > Account > Product Information (to the right-hand side of the Account screen). From there, under Product Information, if you are a Home or Personal subscriber, it should say “Subscription Product Microsoft Office 365” or something similar.
If your version of Office doesn’t say anything like I’ve described above, you might have an education or corporate subscription and/or a VERY OLD version of Office. If you get Office through your company or school, just consult your company’s or school’s IT department. If you suspect you have a VERY OLD version of Office, you might consider an upgrade, to either one of the perpetual licenses (like Office 2016 or Office 2019) or to the subscription version (Office 365).
Have Office 365? But Still Missing a New Feature?
If you have Office 365, but you are still missing a new feature that Microsoft or others are talking about online, then there are a few reasons you might still be missing this feature.
1. Your updates might not have been released yet to your Office build.
If you are on a corporate or education Office 365 plan, or are on an earlier build of Office 365, you might not yet have access to that new feature. To check your Office build number, go to File > Account and under the About PowerPoint section, next to the version number, in parentheses you should see a build number:
You can look up the update history for Office 365 by build number here and see if the feature you are looking for has been released yet in your specific build.
2. You might need to restart PowerPoint (or your computer).
This happens to me on occasion. I hear about a new feature coming, I check for updates, download a new build, I get the new build, and the new feature I was expecting to show up does not appear or doesn’t seem to “activate.” The first step of trouble-shooting ANYTHING computer-related is to restart or reboot. Restart PowerPoint. If that doesn’t work, just restart your computer. You’d be surprised how often this DOES work.
3. You might be running an older operating system.
This one threw me off too. When glitter pens were first introduced, I was all “Hey, how come I don’t have glitter pens?!”
Turns out, I had to have Windows 10 (not Windows 8.1 like I had at the time) in order to have glitter pens show up inside of Office! Wouldn’t think that would be a requirement to have a stupid sparkly rainbow pen, right? Turns out it is.
4. You might have Intelligence Services turned off.
There are a lot of new features in Office that require something called “Office Intelligence” features to work. It’s a fancy name that Microsoft has given to all of their collective AI-powered services. Put simply, these services need something from you in order to work, most namely, your data. And in order for that to happen, you need to give Microsoft permission to share and collect and store your data on their server for a X amount of time.
If you said “no,” any feature that requires the use of “Microsoft Intelligence services” will be either missing or turned off in Office.
Sometimes Microsoft will be nice and warn you or remind you of this fact, but sometimes they won’t. The feature will just sometimes be missing, leaving you very very confused.
5. The feature you are thinking of might not be a PowerPoint feature—it might be a PowerPoint add-in.
Office is made more powerful by 3rd party tools and apps. Developers can write small programs and tools that work with PowerPoint much like apps that work with your phone. Some of these apps are free, and some are apps that you pay for. Some of these apps you can download from within PowerPoint and some you can download from the internet. Either way, you might see a new button, toolbar or task pane inside of PowerPoint that adds new features and functionality that wasn’t there before. Microsoft didn’t create it. Someone else did.
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