Office 2016 - switching to final release

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Update:  this article has been superseded by a November 2015 article

Switch from Office 2013 to Office 2016 – the real story

which covers more recent changes and traps in the Office 2016 for Windows install options.

To say nothing of our famous and popular guide to Office 2016 for Windows:

Office 2016: the real startup guide


There’s some tricks to switching to the final public version of Office 2016 for Windows.  Either from Office 2013 or the preview/beta Office 2016/Win software.

In theory, you should be able to go to File | Account Options | Update | Update Now and the latest version will be downloaded and installed.

The release version of Office 2016 for Windows appears to be version 16.0.4266.1003.  Anything ‘lower’ than that, like 16.0.4229.1024 shown above, is a preview release.

On release day and probably a few days after, the Microsoft servers seem to have difficulty coping.  That means you might not be able to update immediately and even when you do, the update is slow coming.

Our best advice is to wait (i.e. our usual advice for major updates to Office).  Either wait for a few days until the initial rush of updates is over.  Or wait until October for the automatic updates to be sent out.

If you can’t wait, force Office to update.  If the Update Now option doesn’t work here’s how to override that.

Update: Here’s what should work, according to Microsoft.  However it doesn’t work reliably in practice.  We’ve updated our coverage based what actually works – as opposed to what Microsoft says will work <sigh>

In short, reinstall Office 2016 directly.  This will update your existing Office installation while keeping all your settings and documents.

Go to and login to your Microsoft account.  Choose My Account | Install | Language and Install options | Additional Install options.  Then choose which version of Office for Windows you want – 32-bit or 64-bit.

Unless you have good reasons, stick with the same type of Office (32/64 bit) that’s already installed.

(there are other Install options but those rely on Microsoft’s chosen preferences.  We recommend drilling down the install web pages to choose for yourself.)

Click on Install to download the small installer file.  Close all Office programs then run the installer to start an installation or, in this case, an upgrade.

The ‘Click to Run’ installer will detect the existing Office programs and upgrade.

The installer says “We’ll be done in just a moment.”  but that’s a Microsoft euphemism.  Presently, ‘a moment’ can mean an hour or more even with a fast internet connection.  The problem isn’t the internet connection but the MS servers ability to push bits out fast enough.

For the next few days … Patience, Grasshopper.


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