Office 365 users can now download Office 2016

Office 365 users can now download Office 2016 by default. Learn how to control and manage this, as well the latest on Office 365 ProPlus change management.

Microsoft released the Office 2016 Deferred Channel earlier this month.  

At this time, Microsoft announced on the Feb 23rd this build would be available in the Office 365 User Software Page. True to their word, this has now kicked in.

Office 365 users can download Office 2016

If you haven't changed any admin settings, your users will now be able to download Office 2016.  When they login to the portal they will see something like this, inviting them to download Office 2016:

Also, when opening the Office 365 User Software Page from Settings, Office 2016 is recommended:  

Further down the page, Office 2013 is still available but well hidden.

Why still install Office 2013?

​The 'Why I would install Office 2013?' page, which I can't link to easily, has some useful info. It talks about: 

  • Exchange Server 2007 isn’t compatible with Outlook 2016
  • ​Outlook 2016 requires Autodiscover so manually configured accounts won't work
  • Some third-party add-ins, such as Business Contact Manager, aren’t compatible with Outlook 2016
  • Older versions of some standalone Office products, such as Project 2013 or Visio 2013, aren’t compatible with Office 2016

As the administrator, your meant to provide your users with guidance on which version they should install. 

Control users from downloading Office 2016

There are new options in the admin portal, under Service Settings and then User software. In the new Office 365 Admin center, this can be found under Settings, then Services & add-ins and finally Software download settings.

Here you can control whether you want your users to be able to download Office 2016.  This is what it looks like by default.  

If you had previously set some options, you should revisit this page to see what it look like now.  There have been some reports of a few oddities with these settings!

To stop users from being able to download Office 2016, untick 'Office (includes Skype for Business)' under the '2016 version' section.

To learn about the update branches or as they are called now channels, check out my Office 2016 Deferred Channel Released for Business post.

Download Office 2016 for Deployments

When deploying Office 2016 you will want to download Office 2016 in its entirety.  You can get an offline copy of Office 2016, which for Office 365 ProPlus customers is the Click-to-run version.

Use the Office ​Deployment Tool (2016 version) for this, check this post for all the steps - How to download Office 365 Deferred Channel for Office 2016.

Key dates you need to know about Office 2016

Here are the key dates you really need to know for your Office 365 ProPlus change management, all the way up to the end of Office 2013:

  • ​The Deferred Channel was released on February 9th 2016
  • Since February 2016, the Office 2016 version of Office 365 ProPlus is available for users to install.  Admins can control which version users can download from the Software page and what channel users install: Current or Deferred Channel
  • The new First Release for Deferred Channel was released 8th March 2016
  • For the Office 365 clients with the Office 2013 version pulling updates directly from Microsoft (CDN), they will be updated to the Office 2016 version by the end of June 2016 (approximately) as long as certain criteria is meet
  • The next Deferred Channel has a target release date of June 2016
  • October 2016 Deferred Channel receives feature updates and a new First Release for Deferred Channel released
  • Support ends for the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus February 2017

It's worth reiterating, by the end of June, any Office 365 ProPlus clients running Office 2013, getting updates directly from Microsoft will be upgraded.  This is the criteria used to determine if Office can be upgraded successfully.

All these dates are subject to change, for the latest information check Microsoft's Office 365 ProPlus upgrade guide.

Are you ready for Office 2016?

As this post illustrates Office 2016 is coming and administrators have some responsibility in managing this process.  See  'How to manage Office 365 ProPlus Update Channels' as one option.

Look out for more Office 2016 coverage, in the meantime, you could check out my other related posts.