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 Monthly Channel. If you're configured for First Release and Monthly Channel, you'll get early access to new features through Monthly Channel (Targeted) releases.

Monthly Channel (Targeted) builds provide your selected users with builds of Office that contain the same features, at the same time, as those that are available to Office 365 consumer subscribers participating in the Monthly Channel (Targeted) 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.

Note: The names of the levels for the Office Insider program changed, starting in September 2017. For more information, see Changes to Slow/Fast level names for Office Insider for Windows desktop.

Install Monthly Channel (Targeted) builds of Office 2016 by using First Release

Use the following steps to enable First Release and have your users install Monthly Channel (Targeted) builds of Office 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 and mobile devices, make sure Office is On under the 2016 desktop and mobile apps section and that Every month (Monthly channel) is selected.

  4. After you have done this, instruct your users to go to https://portal.office.com/OLS/MySoftware.aspx 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 2016 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 Insiders for the Channel setting.

Note: The previous Channel setting of FirstReleaseCurrent still works.

Install Insider builds of Office 2016

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 Insider 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 Insider level builds from the Office 365 portal.

Important: The Insider level is part of the Office Insider consumer program and isn't 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 Insider level, you agree to the program’s terms, which supersedes your agreement with Microsoft to use Office.

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

  2. Double-click OfficeDeploymentTool.exe to extract the Setup.exe file and the sample configuration.xml file.

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

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

    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 Insider level build is available.

    Notes: 

    • 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 2016 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 Product Information section, you should see text that includes "Office Insider."

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