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Software & Web Development

Microsoft adds options to Office testing program

Microsoft yesterday added cadence choices for beta testers in its Office Insider preview program, mimicking a practice it has long used for Windows 10.

Previously, only Mac users of Office 2016 were able to pick between "slow" and "fast" preview release tempos. Now, the same options are available to customers running Office on Windows and Windows Mobile. Microsoft added that the two-track setting is "coming soon" to Android and iOS customers.

"The Fast level provides even earlier builds of Office, more frequently. In fact, these builds are what Microsoft employees have access to internally," Kirk Koenigsbauer, the executive who leads the Office 365 client applications team, said in a post to a company blog Tuesday.

Microsoft launched the Office Insider program in November 2015 for Windows users, then added Mac users in January 2016. Like the already-established Windows Insider, Office Insider was to serve as a feedback source for Microsoft's developers.

The biggest hurdle for Office Insider on Windows is that it requires a subscription to Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home, the consumer-grade, rent-not-own plans. Interestingly, all Mac users of Office 2016, including those who purchased a perpetual license, have been eligible for the beta test practice.

Those who run Office 2016 under a commercial or institutional subscription cannot opt in to Office Insider, but must instead rely on what Microsoft calls the "First Release" track. The organization's IT staff sets this preview option.

More information on Office Insider can be found on Microsoft's website.

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