Microsoft Brings Preview Versions of Office 2016 to the Windows Store

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Office, Office 365, 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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