Microsoft Brings Preview Versions of Office 2016 to the Windows Store

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Office, Windows 10 with 24 Comments

Microsoft Brings Preview Versions of Office 2016 to the Windows Store

With the release today of the Windows 10 S-based Surface Laptop, Microsoft has brought preview versions of Office 2016 to the Windows Store as well.

“Windows 10 S runs the rich desktop Office apps including popular productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook,” Microsoft notes. “The full suite of Office apps in preview are currently available to download today with Office 365 in the Windows Store for Windows 10 S. On Surface Laptop, you can simply open the Start menu and click on any of the Office app icons like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to launch the download from the Store.”

In the off chance you’re not aware of what this all means, Surface Laptop is the first PC to ship with Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s restrictive new version of Windows. Excluding the apps bundled in-box, Windows 10 S only runs Windows Store apps, meaning that you can’t install traditional desktop applications like Chrome, iTunes, or Photoshop. But that means you can’t install Office 2016 either, since that suite of applications is designed for desktop PC technologies.

But as Microsoft revealed at the Surface Laptop announcement a month ago, it is bringing those applications to the Windows Store via its Desktop Bridge (“Centennial”) technologies. But this will happen over time, with just four apps today—Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2016—in preview, and as part of Office 365 Personal and Home bundles. (Office 365 for Education Plus and Office 365 Education E5 are coming, too. And Office 365 plans for business customers will also be supported started in 2018.)

Over time, more desktop apps in the Office 2016 suite will be added to the Windows Store, Microsoft says. (It has committed to at least Access, OneNote, and Publisher 2016.) And Microsoft will make standalone Office 2016 suites, like Office Home & Student 2016 and Office Home & Business 2016 available over time. These other apps, suites, and Office 365 bundles should all be out of preview later this year or by early 2018.

For more information, please refer to Microsoft’s Office on Windows 10 S FAQ, which notes a few interesting tidbits:

  • During the preview period, customers who buy a Surface Laptop (or, later, a Surface Pro) with Windows 10 S will get one year free of Office 365 Personal, a $70 value.
  • If you already have an Office 365 Home subscription, you can use the free Office 365 Personal offer to extend your existing subscription by 9 months.
  • Over time, the Office 2016 apps in the Store will be made available to customers in all markets supported by the Windows Store.
  • The Office 2016 apps in the Store do not currently support Office 365 business plans or volume licenses. (Again, that is coming in 2018.)
  • The Office 2016 apps in the Store are of course the 32-bit versions that we all use today because they are compatible with a broad range of Office add-ins. (Older COM-based add-ins are not supported, however.)
  • Windows 10 S users can, of course, use the Office Mobile apps if they’d like. OneNote Mobile is included as part of all Windows 10 product editions, including Windows 10 S.

You can download Office 365 Personal (preview) from the Windows Store now.

Or, you can download Office 365 Home, which is licensed for use on up to five PCs. Both bundles include the same four Office 2016 desktop apps.


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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Microsoft Brings Preview Versions of Office 2016 to the Windows Store”

  1. Daekar


    I gather from the article that these are the 32-bit versions of the applications, and that you don't perceive this as a liability. My wife is an Office user who knows her way around the applications and relies on power-user functions but has zero patience for the technical aspects of software. If she already has the x64 Win32 version of the apps installed on her machine, is any reason why we should uninstall those applications and switch her to the Store versions?

    • OkCalis

      In reply to Daekar:

      I wonder that, too. Is it wrong for me to consider replacing my desktop Office suit with the store version, although I'm not a W10S user?

    • Spineless

      In reply to Daekar:

      Ok, I'll be that person... Win32 is 32bit. Win64 is 64bit (aka x64)

      • skane2600

        In reply to Spineless:

        Win32 often generically refers to the standard legacy Windows APIs, whether 32 or 64 bit. Thus a Win32 app can be 32 or 64 bit. However when MS specificity says 32 bit applications, they mean precisely that. So 32 bit Win32 programs will run on Windows S and 64 bit Win32 programs won't.

        MS has a long history of continuing to use terminology that suggests a certain bit size even when it doesn't match up with the latest technology.

    • johnbaxter

      In reply to Daekar:

      tl;dr: No

      You don't presently have the option to install the Store versions on a machine running Win32 Office. It will only show up on a Surface Laptop which has not been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro. Maybe later (at which time there would be little reason to switch until other changes happen in Office 365 or the boxed legacy (OK, Win 32) Office).

    • aussienick

      In reply to Daekar:

      Just to clarify, as a non-Windows 10S user you cannot access the Office 365 apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint) via the Windows Store.

      • Daekar

        In reply to aussienick:

        Bummer, I have a cheap tablet that I really don't want to put any Win32 apps on, but need more functionality than the Mobile Office apps can offer. Hopefully they'll open it up to regular Windows 10 users soon.

      • Luka Pribanić

        In reply to aussienick:

        ... at the moment.

        I'm hoping that an Office Standard will be released as Store app / apps in the next few months. I believe that there IS a reason to go with such Office release, as it will be forever tied to your account, you'll be able to switch installs to new PCs, etc. And if they bring in a licence that allows you to install it on multiple devices like O365 Personal/Home, but without a need for perpetual subscription - it's a win.

        • aussienick

          In reply to Luka Pribanić:

          i believe when this was first announced it would be available on Windows 10S first as the OS doesnt allow traditional app install methods and available to the broader Windows 10 user base in late 2017 with project and visio coming in 2018.

    • jefffuhr

      In reply to Daekar:

      Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office (from

      "In most cases, install the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office. We recommend the 32-bit version of Office, because it helps prevent compatibility issues with most other applications, especially third-party add-ins. Office installs the 32-bit version automatically even if your computer is running 64-bit editions of Windows. You might want to install the 64-bit version of Office if you usually work with extra-large databases or worksheets or develop for the 64-bit platform...." <see link for more info>

  2. bbold

    Just checked my version of Office, it's Office 2016, so I'll need to switch to Pro today to download it on my new Surface Laptop when it arrives.. which I was going to do be doing anyway since I also use Photoshop Elements 15 (on disc) and want the freedom to run whatever else I want. Thanks for the heads up!

    Update: My Surface Laptop arrived and I noticed Office 2016 is available in the store, so I downloaded all 4 apps that were shown (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook) and the others started downloading too (Publisher, Access, OneDrive, etc.) Signed me in almost automatically, synced to my sign in account. Office is now fully updated and downloaded from the Store, and it was a much better experience than I've previously had when trying to install the Suite from the Office website.)

    • Dan1986ist

      In reply to bbold:

      So, Microsoft must be doing something on their end to prevent Office 2016 desktop from showing up in the Windows Store unless one has the Surface Laptop or something like that?

  3. SvenJ

    My understanding is, you won't even find the 'store' versions, unless you are running Windows S. You won't have Windows S at this point unless you bought a Surface laptop. (Don't think any of the other OEM devices are out yet) That wrong?

    • Dan1986ist

      In reply to SvenJ:

      Actually one can search for the Desktop bridged Office 2016 applications in the Store app without having Surface laptop running Windows 10 S, just gives an error page.

  4. bluvg

    • "The Office 2016 apps in the Store are of course the 32-bit versions that we all use today because they are compatible with a broad range of Office add-ins. (Older COM-based add-ins are not supported, however.)

    That makes no sense. You can't install COM add-ins anyway, and the other app model is HTML-based and JavaScript-based. So what is the incompatibility they're talking about?

  5. Dan1986ist

    Has Redmond clarifed how this will work for those of us already paying for an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription? For example, if one is signed into Windows 10 with the same MSA that's used to subscribe to Office 365 Home or Personnel, would those of us in this group be able to install through the store or is this limited to certain certeria at this time?

  6. skane2600

    Then MS has implicitly confirmed that using the desktop bridge to bring legacy programs to the store isn't trivial. Or alternately, the results are so poor that one needs to tweak it to make it worthwhile in the UWP environment.

    • Luka Pribanić

      In reply to skane2600:

      I'm thinking that maybe (just maybe) these apps are being prepared for ARM/Qualcomm version of Windows as well. That would also explain why it's just 32bit (ARM version of OS is 64bit, but only runs Win32 32bit apps at the moment). This way they cover all bases with a single move - Office 365, Windows S, Windows for ARM, and later also the standalone versions of Office versions like Standard, etc

  7. lwetzel

    So is it available for use on Pro? Just for curiosity to look at it for comparison.

  8. lvthunder

    It's weird that they seperate out the different versions of Office 365. I mean Word and Excel are the same if you have Office 365 personal or Office 365 Business.