Questions about Office 2016 via Office 365

Here are some common questions that I see out there about Office 2016 via Office 365.

Q. Am I required to upgrade from Office 2013 on my desktop to Office 2016 if my Office 2013 was installed from Office 365?

Yes, however you have 12 months to complete that transition. That means you must upgrade your Office 365 Office 2013 to Office 2016 by the 22nd of September 2016. After that date any existing Office 365 Office 2013 installation will reverted to “reduced functionality mode”, basically read only.

Q. Will existing Office 2013 installations from Office 365 automatically be upgraded without user interaction?

No. Users will not have their version of Office 2013 on the desktop automatically upgraded to Office 2016 without their input. Typically, they will need to upgrade from the portal or via an administration installation using the Office 2016 Deployment toolkit.

However, according to the Office 2016 Q and A:

If your admin does not manage your installations and updates an automatic upgrade will occur for Office 2013 users. When your automatic upgrade is ready for you to install, you’ll receive a notification that appears on the menu bar in one of your Office applications (for example, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote). When this notification appears follow the steps to update to the current version of Office.

If your Office 365 for business admin manages your Office installations your admin will need to manage your updates to Office 2016.

This is along the lines of the Windows 10 upgrade process. Notification will be received that an Office update is available but users will need to follow the steps in the notification to upgrade.

Q. Can you downgrade from Office 2016 to Office 2013 with Office 365?

No. Only Volume Licensing of Office directly has downgrade rights. Office 365 purchased via Open does not provide downgrade rights for Office.

Q. Can I obtain Office 2016 from Office 365 from DVD media or downloading an ISO?

No. Office 2016 from Office is deployed using ‘Click-to-run’ technology that delivers software directly from the Internet. An administrator can use the Office 2016 Deployment toolkit to create deployment repositories on a network if required.

Q. Can I install Office 2016 from Office 365 in a Remote Desktop environment (i.e. on a Terminal Server)?

Yes, provided you have Office from Office 365 under an E (Enterprise) SKU. If you do then you use the Office 2016 Deployment toolkit to do that. For more information about Office in an RDS environment see my previous post:

Installing Office 365 pro Plus on an RDS server – updated

Q. When can I get access to Office 2016 software from Office 365?

The ability to install the latest software is being rolled out across Office 365 tenants in a staged manner. If you wish to ensure have access to the latest Office 365 abilities ensure you have Office 365 First Release enabled. You will then find Office 2016 preview available to first release tenants.

To find out when your tenant will receive Office 2016 from Office 365 review:

How do I update Office to Office 2016 using Office 365 for Business?

The table before from the Office 2016 wiki details when the upgrades are available depending on your version of Office 2016

Office 365 plans or versions

Upgrade timeline

Default Update branch

More Information about how to upgrade

Office 365 Business plans (Small Business Premium, Business, Business Premium)

Available now for new installations.

Automatic upgrades will occur in Q4 of 2016.

Current Branch

See How do I update Office to Office 2016 using Office 365 for business?

Office 365 ProPlus SKU(Enterprise, Midsize, Education)

Planned for the first quarter of 2016.

Current Branch for Business*

Where can I find information about updating Office 365 ProPlus to the Office 2016 version?

*ProPlus can be configured to use Current Branch if desired. See the

Configure the update branch to be used by Office 365 ProPlus section from here.

First Release

Available now.

First Release for Current Branch for Business

More information about First Release for Office

Office 365 Home, Personal, or University.


How do I get my Office 365 upgrade to Office 2016?
Note this does not apply to business products.

For more information about the different update branches or how to deploy a specific branch see Overview of update branches for Office 365 ProPlus.

Thus, if you are on an Enterprise SKU of Office 365 you will not typically see Office 2016 being rolled out until early 2016 according to the above table because these SKUs are automatically on the Current Branch for Business update regime. You can however, shift Enterprise licenses to the Current branch update regime so that they will receive an update to Office 2016 before the end of the year. If you want it earlier than that you will need to be on first release.

To configure the update branch for an Office 365 ProPlus installation, you can use the latest version of the Office Deployment Tool or the latest version of the Group Policy Administrative Templates files (ADMX/ADML) for Office 2016.

Q. How will Office 2016 fro Office 365 updates be handled going forward?

Office 2016 from Office 365 will move to a similar update methodology approach that Windows 10 has adopted. This means that updates (security and features) will be pushed out on a regular basis via a number of different update ‘branch’ offerings. Different SKUs will be on different ‘branches’ as detailed in the above table. To better understand how Office 2016 updates are going to function review:

Overview of update branches for Office 365 ProPlus

and this video from Microsoft:

Q. What other information is available about Office 2016 from Office 365?

Prepare to update Office 2016 Pro Plus to the Office 2016 version

Q. Can I have both Office 2013 and Office 2016 from Office 365 on the same machine?


Q. Are any Office 2013 applications removed during the installation of Office 2016 that are not upgraded?

Yes. If you have InfoPath from Office 2013 ProPlus installed it will be removed during the upgrade. It will however still be available for download from the software section of the Office 365 portal.

SharePoint Designer 2013 will also be removed during the Office 2016 upgrade process. It again can be installed from the software page in the office 365 portal.

Versions of Visio Pro 2013 and Project Pro 2013 will also be removed from the computer during an upgrade. You won’t be able to reinstall them after the Office 2016 installation. You will need to install the 2016 versions of Visio Pro for Office 365 and Project Pro for Office 365 on a computer with the Office 2016 version of Office. This removal only happens when you manually update to Office 2016. It is recommended that you wait for the automatic update to update all office applications on the desktop, including Visio and Project.

See – “We need to remove some older apps” error for more information about existing apps being removed during the Office 2016 upgrade.

Q. Do users have be local administrators to install Office 2016 from Office 365?

Yes. Per:

Deploy Click to Run for Office 365 products

Users must be local administrators on their computers to install Click-to-Run for Office 365 products.

If users in your organization are not local administrators on their computers, you can use one of the following methods to install Click-to-Run for Office 365 products for users:

  • Have an administrator log on to the user’s computer and install Click-to-Run for Office 365 products.

  • Use a software distribution product, such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

  • Use Group Policy computer startup scripts.

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