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Outlook 2016 - there's (at least) three!

Amazingly, Microsoft has at least three programs that are called ‘Outlook 2016’.  It’s not a trivial point, knowing which ‘Outlook 2016’ you have is important if you ask for help or tech support.

Confused?  Join the club.

When Microsoft talks about ‘Outlook’ they probably mean ‘Outlook for Windows’.

‘Outlook 2016’ probably means ‘Outlook 2016 for Windows’.

Two Office 2016’s

Don’t get us started on the troubles caused by having two ‘Office 2016’ packages – Windows and Mac.

Outlook 2016 for Windows and Outlook 2016 for Mac.

In the past, Office/Outlook for Mac had a different year from Windows releases.  When someone talked about ‘Office 2008’ or ‘Office 2011’ everyone knew they were referring to the Mac version.  (not really ‘everyone’ but us Office geeks knew).

Microsoft buggered that up by using ‘2016’ for the latest Office for Mac and Office for Windows.

It probably made perfect sense to the marketing experts at Redmond.  Support staff knew the ‘2016’ decision would cause trouble but were ignored.

So far, we have:

  • Outlook 2016 for Mac
  • Outlook 2016 for Windows

But that’s not the end of the confusion …

Two ‘Outlook 2016 for Windows’ – at least two

Outlook 2016 for Windows isn’t a single release any more.  There are at least two major releases of the program with that name.

Like all the Office 2016 for Windows programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), Outlook 2016/Win has two versions:

  • the original program sold for a one-time payment aka ‘perpetual licence’. This release only receives security and stability bug fixes. Only rarely are new / changed features added.
  • the ‘Office 365’ subscription version. This started as the same version as the original program but has received new and changed features not given to the ‘perpetual licence’ buyers.

Both versions are called ‘Microsoft® Outlook® 2016’ on the About screen.

Go to the File | Office Account pane and look for the ‘Subscription Product’ notice.

The major public Outlook 2016’s are:

  • Outlook 2016 for Mac
  • Outlook 2016 for Windows
    • Perpetual Licence version
    • Office 365 subscription version with ongoing updates and changes.

Even more Outlook 2016’s

This section is to save some of our readers emailing us about the Outlook versions we ‘forgot’ <g>.

Strictly speaking there are even more ‘Outlook 2016’ releases than the three above, but they are the major ones.


There are also ‘Insider’ releases for both Windows and Mac which are split between ‘Fast’ and ‘Slow’ ring releases.

That’s another (up to) four more versions of ‘Outlook 2016’.

Not quite up-to-date

Not everyone updates their Office/Outlook software right away.  Some computers will have software that’s patched to some past update, but not the latest one.

Happily, these minor variations aren’t usually important for help/support matters.

Before calling support or asking for help, it’s a good idea to fully update your software.

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