What Is The Office Insider Version?
The “Insider” version of Office (formerly known as “Insider Fast”) is used to test the latest Microsoft Office features to public users. These features may not be fully debugged or may be still open for modification based on user feedback and data collected on the backend. In some cases, features may perform it’s functionality in multiple ways or features may be released to a subset of the Insider user base. Microsoft is ultimately still testing it’s newest features, so there is always a risk of performance or stability issues. BUT, from a user perspective, you get to be one of the first people to actually use features that will eventually roll out to the rest of the world. You also have a better platform to provide timely feedback about these features and possibly influence how it inevitably functions.
New Office features are pushed out on a weekly basis, so you will constantly be seeing new features roll through your Office Programs.
Switching To Office Insider
For many users, switching to the Insider version is relatively easy. From any Office app, just click File > Account > Office Insider to quickly join the program or switch levels.
Enterprise/Educational User Installation
Unfortunately, if you are utilizing an Enterprise or Educational version of Office, the steps to join Office Insider is a bit more complicated. Here are the steps to join Office Insider:
Uninstall your current version of Office.
Download the Office Deployment Tool
Double-click the downloaded Office Deployment Tool
Extract the files (3 .xml files and one .exe file)
5. Open the .xml file based on which version of Office you would like to use
x86 = Office 32-bit
x64 =Office 64-bit
6. Change your desired xml files extension to a .txt and open in NotePad (click “Yes” when asked are you sure you want to change the file name extension)
7. Inside NotePad, change the Channel Value to equal “InsiderFast” instead of “Monthly”. Next save the file and close NotePad. Finally change the file extension back to .xml.
Technically, you can delete all the text in this file except for the following (if you don’t want to install Visio):
9. Save the text file in NotePad and close it.
10. Change the text file back to a .xml file by changing the file name’s extension (click “Yes” when asked are you sure you want to change the file name extension).
11. Search “cmd” or “Command Prompt” in your Windows Search bar
12. Right-Click on the Command Prompt Application and click Run As Administrator (enter the login information if applicable)
13. Once Command Prompt is opened, you should see an old-school looking black screen.
You will need to type out the following code file path structure.
[Full address of Setup.exe file] + [/configure] + [Full address of the .xml file you modified]
Here is how mine looked as I saved these files to my desktop:
NOTE that you CANNOT have a space after the forward slash + “Configure” in order for this to proper work. Spacing does matter!
14. Now hit the Enter key on your keyboard and you should see some more code populate inthe Command Prompt window followed by the typical Office Installation window appearing on your screen (installation should start automatically). If you do not see the Office Installation begin, you did something wrong.
Verifying You Have The Insider Version
After Microsoft Office has finished installing, you can verify that you did indeed install the Insider version of Office by navigating to the Account section in any of your Office Apps (File >> Account).
You should see the “Office Insider” tag with your Account view. You most likely will have updates available to you after you install Office, so make sure you manually check for updates to make sure you have the latest features that have been pushed out.