Microsoft starts letting Insiders test Office 365 from the Windows Store

Laptop with Office 365
Laptop with Office 365 (Image credit: Windows Central)

In June, Microsoft started selling the Surface Laptop with Windows 10 S – a restricted version of Windows 10 Pro that could only install apps from the Windows Store. Microsoft solved the problem of getting those devices Office 365 by putting the full suite in the Windows Store and using the Desktop Bridge. Dubbed Office 365 Preview the system let the user download all or single apps of the Office 365 suite with just a click.

It was always expected that Office 365 would be available to everyone through the Windows Store for those on Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro and today the company is expanding the Preview to Insiders by special invitation.

Email sent to Windows Insiders on 8/31/2017.

Email sent to Windows Insiders on 8/31/2017.

Emails are being sent to Windows Insiders who also have an active Office 365 account that they are eligible to test Office 365 in the Window Store. The Office 365 Preview works on Windows 10 version 1703, OS Build 15063.153+ (Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education) or Windows Insider Preview build 16170+.

As a Windows Insider with Microsoft Office 365, you have been selected for a small, invite-only preview program to test a new way to get Office 365 – through the Windows Store.

We initially made this preview available to people with Windows 10 S devices back in June. Now it's available to you. You can preview it on any Windows PC running Windows 10 Creators Update or later.1

Along with the convenience of getting Office 365 directly from the Store, this preview offers other benefits, including:

  • The full version of Office. Office 365 through the Store provides you with the full version of Office 365 products, including regular updates.
  • A cleaner uninstall. If you ever need to uninstall Office from the Store, all Office files and settings are fully cleaned up.
  • Smooth update process. Updates install in the background whenever Office isn't running.

Additionally, you can join the Office Insider program to get even earlier and more frequent updates to Office 365 through the Store.

Currently, the preview for Insiders is invite-only.

The rest of the email, which is rather lengthy, goes into detail about setting up the Preview on your PC including backing up Outlook and removing existing versions of Office.

The Office 365 in the Windows Store, once downloaded and installed, is indistinguishable from the full Office suite download through the Office website.

Office 365 in the Windows Store will be an interesting test for Microsoft's desktop bridge and manage – for the first time – a subscription service.

Presumably, once testing is finished and feedback gathered, Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal will be made available to all Windows 10 users later this fall with the roll out of the Fall Creators Update. It is unclear, however, if Microsoft will keep the touch-focused Office Mobile apps in the Store as free and light versions for users, or if they will be deprecated in favor of pushing users towards an Office 365 subscription.

Currently, Surface Laptop owners get a free year of Office 365 Personal with their purchase.

Thanks, Hanley G., for the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.