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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 is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

18 Comments
  • Is this all insiders? Or do you have to receive the emailed link?
  • Invite only.
  • Insider + O365 Subscription = automatic invite, or only a subset of those users? TY.
  • I'm apparently still in the insider program, but not an office 365 subscriber & I got the invite email, so who knows.
  • I don't recall receiving an email but I see it in the store with the option to install - is that right? I do satisfy both requirements EDIT: My bad, they just sent out the emails today...  my inbox is overflowing with Harvey-related announcements (I'm in Houston)
  • Thanks Dan. I got the invite about 3 hrs ago and had not read it yet.  Now I know what it is about.
  • Before I begin installing, does this affect the installation of OneDrive's, FOD at all and are you required to re-sync everything? 
  • Why would I do this though....
  • It's not a big deal on existing installs, but store versions are contained within an app which means that it's a cleaner install; it's ideal for fresh installs of Windows with minimal traditional .exe installations as it will keep the OS running smoother for longer.  Also it vastly improves the update process by moving them to the store rather than Windows update.
  • So, Microsoon wants more guinea pigs...no thanks.
  • I wonder if that allows you to install separate apps instead of the whole package like in O365 desktop (the most infuriating thing). On the other hand... 32-bit apps only. Really, MS? In 2017?
  • I installed all of them but was able to uninstall Publisher individually afterwards.  I haven't tried to install them individually though.
  • You can install app by app instead of all or nothing, which is awesome. I just use Word, so that is all that gets installed. Re: 32bit, my hunch is because Windows 10 on ARM is only 32-bit for now, so you need this for that.
  • I had to do a lot of manual uninstalling (folders, registry keys, etc.) of the Office 2016 plus a reboot to get this to install on one PC. On another PC, I couldn't get the uninstall to start at all, displite the same steps to fully remove Office 2016. Once installed, it seems to work great -- no problems.
  • I have Office 365 University and I was able to get the Insider Updates by going into Accounts. I did not have to do to the Store.
  • I got Office installed from the store. However, I got the UWP version of OneNote and not the full desktop version.  All the other Office applications are the desktpo version. Was anyone able to get teh desktop version of OneNote with the Office365 Windows Store install?  
  • Same question.  Where can I get desktop OneNote 2016 which was removed when I got the Store version of Office 365 a few days ago. Microsoft's OneNote site, where OneNote 2016 is says this:
    . (Please note that this link currently works only on Surface Laptop devices.) I don't own a Surface Laptop.  
  • I received this invite, but it is crazy that you can't get the 64-bit version of Office this way.  Makes no sense...