Office 2016 for Windows Store - a closer look

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Microsoft has released another version of Office 2016 for Windows to be tested by insiders.  This one is bought and installed from the Windows 10 Store.  Naturally dived in to check it out.

At the moment, only some Windows Insiders and users of Windows 10S can get Office in the Windows Store.  Later this year it’ll be available to everyone.

We tested it ourselves to see what differences there are from regular Office for Windows.

Microsoft eventually wants everyone using the Windows Store to install Office for Windows.  From Microsoft’s viewpoint, they need more people to use their Store, because Microsoft gets a percentage of every app sale.

The existing methods of installing Office for Windows remain. The ‘Click to Run’ streaming install used by most Office 365 customers or the single download MSI install.

What’s Different?

According to Microsoft, there’s only two differences in Office in the Windows Store:

  • only the 32-bit version of Office.
  • No COM add-ins.

There’s more to Office in the Windows Store than that.

The secret sauce is ‘Project Centennial’ now called the ‘Desktop Bridge‘ a new Windows system which lets standard Windows programs to run as Windows Modern apps.

Microsoft is having a hard time convincing developers to write Windows apps and hope ‘Centennial’ will make it easier to switch.  Getting all the Office programs to work using this system will (hopefully) demonstrate the stability and effectiveness of the technology.

That said, we’re wary of any changes to the fundamental way Office works.  Despite all the assurances and hype, problems and anomalies always arise.  We remember the original release of 64-bit Office which was promised to be seamless but was not, and still has differences to 32-bit Office.

Office software is such a complicated system that issues are inevitable, we just wish Microsoft will admit that. We’d love to be wrong, but two decades of Microsoft promises has taught us to wait and see.

No OneNote

OneNote 2016 isn’t included in the Office in Windows Store pack, you have to use OneNote for Windows 10 instead.

The OneNote app isn’t a proper replacement for the ‘full’ OneNote so Office in the Windows Store users are being shortchanged.

Outlook’s problem with Windows 10

Outlook 2016 is still disconnected from Windows 10 system even though it’s being installed as an app.

Choose Share in any Windows app and Outlook doesn’t appear as an option to email the document.

Microsoft:  Where’s Outlook?

Outlook is Microsoft’s premier email client but doesn’t appear in the company’s own ‘Share’ options within Windows.

Windows 10 features like People and Calendar cannot share the Outlook data already on the computer.  Those apps have to be setup separately to connect with the mail host.

Use it or not?

If Microsoft gets its way, eventually all Windows software will be installed via the Store.

We can’t see any problem with Office from the Windows Store.  Once installed, it looks and runs just like Office 2016 for Windows from a ‘Click to Run’ install.

But we can’t see any good reason to use Office from Windows Store either.  Let other people be the guinea pigs for this new incarnation of Office for Windows and its underlying technology.  Microsoft benefits from the change to Windows Store, not Office users.

How to Tell

Office in the Windows Store is the seventh incarnation of ‘Office 2016 for Windows’.  The easiest way to know which one you have is from File | Account . Next to the build number is the install method.


Go to the Windows Store and, if you qualify, it appears:

Click on Install and wait for the software to download.

The amount to download make no sense.  The download size is totally wrong (no way MS Office is only 11MB) and actually changes while the install proceeds!

It’s the same for any Windows app.  Ever since the Windows Store appeared, the downloading indicators have been screwy and Microsoft shows no interest in fixing it.

As each Office program is installed, it appears in the ‘Action Center’ on the left:

Once the Start programs list are the usual Office programs

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