Office desktop now available via Microsoft Store for Windows 10

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After a seven month testing period, Microsoft Office desktop programs are available for Windows 10, especially Windows 10 S users via the Microsoft Store.

Until now, the cheaper Windows 10 S machines could only run the ‘Mobile’ or UWP apps not the full-featured Office desktop programs.   Now Word 2016, Excel 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Outlook 2016, Access 2016 and Publisher 2016 are all available via the Microsoft Store without the ‘Preview’ label.

From today, any Windows 10 machine can install Microsoft Office desktop via the Microsoft Store.  But you don’t have to. Most Office users don’t need to bother and can continue to use Office desktop installed directly (ie outside the Store app). See Office in the Windows Store – a closer look.

Only Windows 10 S users who want ‘full’ Microsoft Office have to use the Microsoft Store option.

How to get it

You’ll need an Office 365 plan; Home, Personal or qualifying Office 365 business plan.  Your Microsoft account should be linked to the Office 365 plan and used on the computer to login.

Microsoft doesn’t make it easy or obvious to get the Office desktop apps.  Here’s how it works.

Open up the Microsoft Store (rebranded from ‘Windows Store’) and search for the app you want using these words.

  • Word 2016
  • Excel 2016
  • PowerPoint 2016
  • Outlook 2016
  • Access 2016
  • Publisher 2016

There’s no single ‘Microsoft Office’ or ‘Office 365’ download, you have to select and install individual apps.   The Microsoft Store’s search is a little strange and the results not always clear.  If you use the above phrases (program plus ‘2016’) you should get to the right program.

Firstly, you’ll see a sales pitch for Office 365.  Never mind that you already have Office 365 and the Store should know that from your MS account details <grrrrrr>.

Scroll past the pointless billboard to see the search results.  Looking for ‘Word 2016’ returned these options:

The first result is the one you want, in this case ‘Word 2016’.   Ignore any others.  Choose the app then install.

If you see a ‘… Mobile’ options like ‘Excel Mobile’, ignore it.  The ‘Office Mobile’ apps are the limited feature apps, not the full desktop programs.

Both Office from the Microsoft Store and the Office Windows Mobile apps can run on the same computer.

How to Tell

When you start the programs, they look like the standard desktop programs. Not like the Windows 10 apps with their crippled interface.

The only way to be sure you’re running ‘Office in the Microsoft Store’ instead of ‘Office desktop’ is from the File | Account.

Look for ‘Windows Store’ after the build number.   It seems the Office team hasn’t got the memo about the ‘Windows Store’ being rebranded as the ‘Microsoft Store’ despite that happening four months ago.

Limitations

There’s a few known limitations between Office via the Microsoft Store and Office 2016 installed separately (which is what almost everyone does).

  • 32-bit software only
  • No COM add-ins if running Windows 10S
  • No OneNote, at least not officially where ‘OneNote Mobile’ is supposed to be the only option.

We’re still concerned that there’s other differences or bugs that Microsoft hasn’t disclosed.  Despite outward appearances. Office in the Microsoft Store is a quite different way to run Office.  It would be surprising if there were NOT differences from traditional Office.  Alas, it’s also NOT surprising that Microsoft is keeping those differences to themselves.

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