Microsoft's Office Insider program lets you test tomorrow's Office today

Insider builds for Windows and Android are now available for Office 365 subscribers, but Mac users will have to wait a few months.

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Microsoft released Office 2016 to the general public back in September, and it’s a good update overall. But if you’d like to help improve future releases of Office, you’ll want to check out the new Office Insider program.

Office Insider clearly draws inspiration from Microsoft’s Windows Insider user-testing program, as Neowin points out. And just like how Windows Insider lets you see what’s to come for Windows, the Office Insider program will let you test out and provide feedback for upcoming releases of Office 2016.

For now, the program encompasses the Windows and Android versions of Office, and is open to Office 365 Home, Business, and University users: All you need to do to join Office Insider is to download and install the Office Insider build of the productivity suite. Mac users will have to wait a bit: Microsoft says that it will provide Office Insider builds for OS X “in the coming months.”

The story behind the story: The Windows Insider program was a key component of Windows 10’s testing and development process, according to the company. (Microsoft uses a similar program to test upcoming versions of the Xbox One Experience and the Xbox app on Windows, though participation in the Xbox One Preview program is by invitation only.)  

According to Samer Sawaya of the Windows Feedback team, user feedback actually led the Windows 10 team to incorporate some new features into the operating system. If that’s any indication of how the Office Insider program will work, it’ll be a golden opportunity for you to help shape the future of Microsoft Office.

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