How Office 365 commercial customers can get early access to new Office 2016 features

If you’re the admin for an organization that has an Office 365 commercial subscription plan that includes Office, such as Office 365 ProPlus, you can provide your users with early access to new features of Office 2016 for Windows desktops by opting into the First Release program. To get the earliest access to new features with First Release, your organization must be on Current Channel. These new features are provided in First Release for Current Channel builds.

First Release for Current Channel builds provide your selected users with preview builds of Office containing the same features, at the same time, as those that are available to Office 365 consumer subscribers participating in the Office Insider Slow level of the Office Insider program.

Important: If you’re an Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, or Office 365 University subscriber, don’t follow these steps. Instead, go to the Office Insider website to sign up and get Office Insider builds.

Install preview builds of Office 2016 by using First Release

Use the following steps to enable First Release and have your users install a preview version of Office 2016 for Windows desktops from the Office 365 portal.

  1. To enable First Release, including specifying which users should be part of First Release, follow these steps.

  2. Then, from the Office 365 admin center, go to Office software > Software download settings.

  3. On the Software download settings page, under Software for PC, make sure Office is On under the 2016 version section and that Every month (Current channel) is selected.

  4. After you have done this, instruct your users to go to and sign in with their work or school account. Once the user is signed in, the user should see a choice to install Office with the new 2016 apps and should see the following note:

    Your admin has enabled First Release, so you get early access to the latest Office features.

    On this page, the user should select Install to begin the installation.

If you deploy Office for your users, you can use the Office Deployment Tool to give users the same First Release build of Office as the steps above provide. To do this, follow the steps in the next section, but use FirstReleaseCurrent for the Channel setting.

Install even earlier preview builds of Office 2016 (Office Insider Fast builds)

If you want to enable some of your users, such as testers in the IT department, access to the earliest preview builds, released more frequently, they can install builds from the Office Insider Fast level of the Office Insider program. You need to use the Office Deployment Tool to install these preview builds of Office. Users can’t install Fast level builds from the Office 365 portal.

Important: The Office Insider Fast level is a consumer program and not supported for enterprise use. This level is best for users who want to use the earliest preview builds, released more frequently, to identify issues, provide feedback to make Office better, and don’t mind the risk in using unsupported builds. By choosing the Office Insider Fast level, you agree to the program’s terms, which supersedes your agreement with Microsoft to use Office.

  1. Download the latest Office Deployment Tool (Office 2016 version) from the Microsoft Download Center.

  2. Double-click OfficeDeploymentTool.exe to extract the Setup.exe file and the sample configuration.xml file. Be sure the version of setup.exe is at least 16.0.7407.3600.

  3. Use a text editor (like Notepad) to edit the configuration.xml file like this:

    <Add OfficeClientEdition="32" Channel="InsiderFast">
    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">
    <Language ID="en-us" />

    This installs a 32-bit version of Office 365 ProPlus in English from the Office Content Delivery Network (CDN) on the Internet. Office will also get automatically updated from the CDN when a new Office Insider Fast build is available.


    • If you want to install the 64-bit version of Office, use 64 for the OfficeClientEdition setting.

    • If you have the Office 365 Business or Office 365 Business Premium plan, use O365BusinessRetail, instead of O365ProPlusRetail, for the Product ID in the configuration.xml file.

    For more information about configuration.xml file settings, including how to install Project or Visio (if you have a subscription to those products), see Configuration options for the Office Deployment Tool.

  4. Copy setup.exe and configuration.xml to the computer where you want to install Office. An Internet connection is required to install Office.

    Note: If Office is already installed on the computer, uninstall Office and restart the computer before performing the next step.

  5. From an elevated command prompt, go to the folder where you copied the files and run the following command:

    Setup.exe /configure configuration.xml

    This copies the Office files from the CDN on the Internet to the computer and starts the installation.

  6. After the installation is complete, open an Office app, such as Word, and go to File > Account. Under the Office Updates section, you should see text that includes "Office Insider Fast."

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!