Help! I don’t see the client feature you covered.

This is far and away the most frequent question I receive. Someone watches the video and sees an interesting new feature. They try and use that feature in their own client only to be frustrated because it isn't there. Let me try and explain.

Office 365 Subscription. The first condition that must be met is that you must have purchased a subscription. Users that bought using the "one-time purchase" option will most likely not see new features. Here are some examples for typical home users:

  • Office 365 Home (subscription) users will be eligible to receive new features.
  • Office 365 Personal (subscription) users will be eligible to receive new features.
  • Office Home & Student 2016 (or 2019) for PC (one-time purchase) will receive security and performance updates but will NOT receive new features.

Update Channel. If you have met the condition above, the next consideration is what client update cadence Office is configured for. This is where is can get a bit complicated.

Those running more consumer-oriented versions of Office have at least three update cadences summarized below. More information on how to configure your client is detailed here.

  • "Insider" is for those that want to be on the bleeding edge and don't mind a little hiccup along the way. This used to be, and sometimes still is, referred to as "Insider Fast".
  • "Monthly Channel (Targeted)" is for those that want to get the new features before most others, but a few less hiccups. This used to be, and sometimes still is, referred to as "Insider Slow".
  • The default channel for consumers is simply called the "Monthly Channel".

Corporate users are somewhat at the mercy of their IT department and the policies they follow, but a similar situation applies. The Office client software may be configured for one of the update cadences listed below, based on corporate policy. Some Office 365 tenants will have clients set at the Monthly Channel by default, while other Office 365 tenants will have it set to Semi-Annual Channel by default. This is all explained here.

  • Monthly Channel (Targeted)
  • Monthly Channel
  • Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)
  • Semi-Annual Channel

So what's the bottom line? Consumer users that configure Office for the "Insider" update cadence and corporate users configured for Monthly Channel (Targeted) will see the new features I cover sooner than on channels receiving feature updates less frequently.

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