Microsoft Office 2024 is coming next year, and you can try the preview now – Smart Fone Video Blog

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft plans to release a perpetual license version of Office 2024, catering to those who prefer to purchase the product once and have it forever.
  • The Office 2024 preview can be accessed through the “DevMain” channel, which is intended for Microsoft’s staff to test before customer availability.
  • It is recommended to use a virtual machine or a secondary PC and follow specific instructions to avoid potential issues with existing Office licenses when installing the preview version.

The subscription-focused licensing model isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, particularly for many businesses. Microsoft seems to have gotten the memo, because we can now confirm that the Redmond giant plans to release a fresh new perpetual license version of its productivity application suite next year in the form of Office 2024.

The Microsoft 365 lineup (formerly known as Office 365) caters to both regular consumers and enterprise customers, but it is fundamentally different from a traditional feature-freeze release. There is absolutely no doubt that a subscription-based product like Microsoft 365 is a seamless way to let users access its always up-to-date suite of tools and services, but there exist use cases where people and organizations actually prefer a perpetual license for Office that allows them to purchase a product once and to have it forever.

Some even speculated that Office 2021 was to be the last perpetual license version of the product, but a new version is definitely on the way. We first discovered the existence of the branding and the corresponding licensing data in an internal preview build of Microsoft Office through the Click-to-Run (C2R) release API, but eventually managed to fetch and install the version to get an early glimpse of Office 2024. We’ll likely learn more about it at Microsoft Ignite, which will take place next week in Seattle.

For now, only the Windows edition of the Microsoft Office suite has received the bump in the version number – that too for the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC). With that said, judging from the lifecycle policy of the equivalent Mac variant, both are apparently scheduled to get a new coat of paint in the near future via public preview channels. In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the next one-time-purchase Office build for your own home computer or your Mac, look to the third/fourth quarter of 2024.

If you want to give the work-in-progress build of Office 2024 a shot, you can easily do so by following our guide in the next section. Nonetheless, always create a full backup of your PC before such tinkering jobs, so that you can at least restore a working instance in case things go south.

How to install the Microsoft Office 2024 preview right now

For the unaware, Microsoft maintains a plethora of update channels for different Office SKUs and editions. The main goal of this design is to offer as much as flexibility in the ability to choose between different deployment variables (e.g. the availability of new feature updates or support duration). In this particular scenario, we are mostly interested in the “DevMain” channel, cause one can now grab the Office 2024 preview licenses from there.

The DevMain branch is a classic example of eating your own dog food, due to the fact that this semi-public update channel is intended for Microsoft’s own staff to test it before it is made available to customers. Fortunately, you don’t need any special credentials or such to fetch the builds, but it is definitely not recommended for your daily driver.

Before we continue further, keep in mind that messing with Office update channels is not for the faint of heart. You could completely mess up your existing Microsoft Office license, or lose it altogether if you don’t know what you’re doing. We suggest using a virtual machine or a secondary PC for these kinds of experiments.

We are going to use two awesome open-source projects by a developer named abbodi1406 for downloading as well as the installation of the Office binaries. The first one is called “Yet Another Office Click To Run URL Generator” (or YAOCTRU for short), while the second tool is known as “Yet Another Office Click To Run Installer” (aka YAOCTRI). You can read more about them in their GitHub repository.

  1. Download the latest version of YAOCTRU zip archive from the author’s GitHub scripts repo.
    • At the time of writing, the latest version of YAOCTRU is v9.0.
  2. Extract the contents of the archive, then execute the file named YAOCTRU_Generator.cmd. You don’t need admin privileges, so a regular double click would do just fine.
  3. Opt for the DevMain Channel entry in the update channel selection menu. Then choose your preferred architecture of the binaries (32-bit/64-bit), language, and Office source components.
  4. At this stage, you need to select the suitable output format. The tool can generate aria2, wget, and curl-compatible download scripts, and you can even settle with an old-school text file with URLs for manual downloading using your favorite download manager.
  5. Download the preview version of Office 2024 using the script/URL list you generated earlier.
    • Note that Windows 11 and Windows 10 version 1803 or later ship with a curl executable out of the box. As a result, you can use the curl download script as it is without the need to install anything else.
  6. Now that the source files are ready, download the latest version of YAOCTRI zip archive from the author’s GitHub scripts repo for the installation part.
    • At the time of writing, the latest version of YAOCTRI is v10.7.
  7. Extract the contents of the archive, and move Reference-C2R_Config.ini, YAOCTRI_Configurator.cmd, and YAOCTRI_Installer.cmd inside the folder where you downloaded the Office components.
    • This part is necessary because the only volume channel has been updated with the 2024 branding. The remaining files in the package (excluding the readme) can be used to install the retail editions of Office, which is of no use in this case.
  8. Right-click on the YAOCTRI_Configurator.cmd file and run it as administrator. It should automatically detect the Office installation files.
  9. At the product selection prompt, make sure to choose one of the 2024 branded options. For instance, the Office ProPlus 2024 entry will cover most of the common Office programs.
  10. If everything goes right, the script will help you to finalize the deployment configuration data and install the suite. Choose Install Now to start the wizard.

  11. After Office is successfully installed, open any Office app, then go to File => Account to see the Office 2024 branding.

Microsoft Office LTSC Professional Plus 2024 Preview

Currently, the 2024 bits are more or less the same as the LTSC 2021 release. Of course, Microsoft has started backporting some cool new features from the upstream channels, but it is way too early to spot anything significant.

Due to the fact that we installed the preview version of Office 2024 using the volume license channel, you can’t use your retail Office key to activate the product. It’s the Key Management Services (KMS) client key, which is used internally, so that you can have a short grace period to play around.

In case you want to revert back and reinstall the retail/volume build of Office you had earlier, you should use the Office Scrubber project from the same developer. Just download the latest version of the script (v11 at the time of writing), execute it, reboot, initiate the installer of the stable channel release of Microsoft Office, and you’re good to go.

** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **

By smartphonejunkie