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End of Support Office 2016 & 2019?

Is Microsoft actually discontinuing connectivity to M365 services for older versions of Office and what are the alternatives?

End of Support Office 2016 & 2019
Digital Transformation
Microsoft 365
Digital Workplace

End of Support for Office 2016 and 2019 - The Most Important Information for Those Affected

According to various reports, users of older Office versions are in for a surprise this year: the end of support for Office 2016 and 2019 is scheduled for 13 October 2023. The connectivity of older Office versions and M365 services such as SharePoint Online and Exchange Online will end. But how much truth is behind this? And what alternatives do those affected have?


This is what it's all about

Microsoft has announced that from 13 October 2023, support for older versions of Office will be discontinued. This affects the connection of Office 2016 and 2019 with Microsoft 365 services such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, or even OneDrive for Business (Source). For users of these versions, access to all functions and features of Microsoft 365 is no longer guaranteed. Microsoft, therefore, recommends that those affected update to a subscription version of the Office client, such as Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (Source).

End of Support for Office 2016 and 2019: What Are the Reasons for the Decision?

With the end of support for Office 2016 and Office 2019, Microsoft aims to continue to provide the best possible experience for users of the M365 services. As these services are constantly being developed and improved, older versions of Office can no longer keep up with current requirements and standards. Microsoft wants to ensure that users always receive the latest security updates as well as reliability and compatibility updates that are only possible with the subscription versions of the Office client. Source).


Establishing a connection to these services will still be technically possible, but new developments can no longer be tested for functionality from October. In addition, technical limitations of these Office versions will no longer be considered in the roadmap, so Outlook 2016 may no longer be able to retrieve mails from Exchange Online.

What Are the Alternatives?

For users affected by the end of support for Office 2016 and 2019 who do not want to or cannot upgrade to a subscription version of the Office client, the following alternatives are available. Here's how those affected can continue to use Microsoft 365 services:

Upgrade to an Office 365 subscription that includes on-premises Office apps ("Apps for Enterprise").

The most straightforward alternative for companies affected by the end of support for Office 2016 and 2019 is to upgrade to Office 365 Apps for Enterprise. This will limit any further worries about version upgrades to the regular Office updates.

Using Office 2021

Office 2021 is a licensed version of the Office client that will be supported until 13 October 2026 to connect with Microsoft 365 services (Source). This alternative postpones the original end-of-support issue for Office 2016 and 2019 for another three years. Therefore, it is suitable for companies that cannot currently switch to Apps for Enterprise products for technical reasons.

Using Office in the browser

The online version of the Office client is accessible via a web browser - Office can be used in the browser. This allows you to use Microsoft 365 services without installing or updating any software. The use of the web application is included in most subscriptions. Office in the browser is a good alternative for migration scenarios or also when a local installation of the Office applications is not possible. However, this version does not offer all the functions and features of the Apps for Enterprise and requires a permanent internet connection.

Need for Action Due to End of Support for Office 2016 and 2019

The end of support for older Office versions and, thus, the discontinuation of connectivity to Microsoft 365 services is a significant change that affects many users. There are numerous alternative courses of action - even if installing the Apps for Enterprise product is technically impossible. For all others affected, we recommend switching to Apps for Enterprise. After all, upgrading to a newer On-Premises version only shifts the problem into the future. It restricts companies in new developments in the area of security and the use of Microsoft 365 Copilot in the future. All alternative courses of action have one thing in common: it is high time to deal with it because who wants to explain to their boss that they no longer receive any mail because they misjudged the explosive nature of the end of support for Office 2016 and 2019?

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Written by

Markus Krenn
Experte für Microsoft Azure