Office 2016 Preview (for Business) is available to download

Microsoft’s been busy lately! Skype for Business preview was announced today, as was Office 2016 Preview (for Business). This install is targeted at IT admins with an active Office 365 ProPlus subscription (Project and Visio are also available as part of the preview).

One thing to note that, as the site says, Office 2016 will not co-exist with Office 2013, so once installed it upgrades your existing installation. You will lose InfoPath 2013, since that product is being discontinued, and install notes that you may also lose SharePoint Designer 2013 – which can be reinstalled afterwards. In my install experience, SPD was not removed, so that’s good – the install script must have already been updated after documentation was released :).

Lync has been updated to be Skype for Business – with the new look (although I might have enabled that earlier today when I set the EnableSkypeUI switch to true in my Lync Online tenant, so I’m not sure if the new Skype for Business look comes thanks to Office 2016 Preview, or if it’s both the Preview and my Lync Online PowerShell experiment).

The download process was painless, and the install equally so. The download itself is small – about 3MB – and contains some documentation (known issues, what’s new, etc.) as well as a batch + XML file that kicks off a click-to-run installation for your selected language. At the moment you have to choose the language manually (do not run setup.exe, documentation states), run the batch file, and wait for the install to complete. If you have open Office programs, the install will shut them down for you.

Top to bottom, I upgraded to Office 2016 Preview in about 7 minutes. All my settings have been preserved, although it appears that I will have to re-enter my passwords for all connected services.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Office 2016 Preview Program on the Microsoft Connect site – you will need to fill out a nomination survey first, and if you meet the criteria, you’ll be set to try it out!