Microsoft invites Insiders to test drive Office 365 from the Windows Store
Windows Insiders who have an Office 365 subscription have started to receive email invites for trying out the Office 365 apps from the Windows Store. The Store currently allows installation of Preview versions of popular Office apps such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. These are the full Win32 apps that are converted using the Project Centennial desktop app bridge to leverage UWP features such as easier distribution and updates, Cortana, notifications, live tiles, etc.
The Centennial versions of Office 365 programs were initially made available for users on Windows 10 S as the OS does not allow installations of apps outside the Store. Now, Insiders can try out the Office 365 Preview on all editions of Windows 10. Microsoft highlights some of the advantages of using the Store version of Office 365 including regular updates, cleaner installation and uninstallation, and a smooth update process. The Store version also allows for even more frequent updates if the user is already enrolled in any of the existing Office Insider rings. The Store version is technically indistinguishable from the current MSI or C2R distributions. However, only the 32-bit version of Office is distributed via the Store and users on Windows 10 S will not be able to use any of the COM add-ins. OneNote 2016 will be replaced by the OneNote UWP version. Microsoft hopes to eventually move the entire OneNote 2016 feature set to the UWP app. Programs like Access and Publisher will also be made eventually available.
It is not yet clear what Microsoft intends to do with the current mobile versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They could be restricted to just small screen sizes once the new apps are fully launched, which will mostly coincide with the roll out of the Fall Creators Update.
The Windows Store version of Office 365 Preview requires a PC running the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703, Build 15063.153 or newer). Existing versions of Office should be uninstalled prior to installing the Store version.