Some time ago, Microsoft changed the way a company grants access to Office software for desktop installations for their users. In the old days, you assigned a ProPlus (i.e. E3) license to a user. A user would then log in to the Office 365 portal, in the right, near the big “Install now”-button, hit the “Change”-button and choose whichever version he or she wanted to install. Being either the 2013 or 2016 version of Office.
However, things have changed a bit and here’s the new situation.
After logging in the users sees this on his/her start page. The user would then click Change as shown below:
The user would then be presented with the following overview:
From here the user can install software to his/her computer. However, note the only shown version here is Office 2013. There’s no way of installing Office 2016 for the user, eventhough it’s GA since September 22, 2015. So what changed?
Global administrators now have the option to control which versions users get to install. This is done through administration > Service Settings > Updates. Here you can see a new addition to the Office 365 portal page:
The ‘Standard release’ option here means: Office 2013 desktop installations only. The first release means: Office 2013 AND 2016 desktop installations. Because you might want to give Office 2016 a try before you release it into your organization, you have the option to provide it only to specific people. For the sake of this explanation I will configure my update setting to “First release – entire organization“. This setting takes effect immediately, but does require users to re-log on again to their portal page. Once done, the user gets the option to install Office 2016 as shown:
Installations of 2013 and 2016 both count towards your max desktop installation limit. No additional license is required. You may use either version as long as you maintain an E3 license.