Office 365 ProPlus is a version of Office that’s available through Office 365. It includes the applications that you’re familiar with, including Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Skype for Business, and Word. You can use these applications to connect with Office 365 services such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Skype for Business Online.

Office 365 ProPlus is available as a standalone offering, or as part of other Office 365 plans, such as Office 365 Enterprise E3.

Office 365 ProPlus is updated on a regular basis with new features, security updates, and non-security updates. These updates are released by using update channels. For each release in each update channel, there is a version and build number assigned to it.

What is Office 365 ProPlus?

Office 365 ProPlus is one of the subscription service plans in the new Office. It is productivity software (including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Skype for Business) that is installed on your desktop or laptop computer. Office 365 ProPlus is a user-based service that allows people to access Office experiences on up to 5 PCs or Macs and on their mobile devices. Traditional Office installations were tied to the computers they were installed on. Office 365 ProPlus enables flexible new deployment options that IT and/or individual users can choose from to install Office.

Benefits

  • Fast streaming installation on up to 5 computers per user
  • Runs side-by-side with your existing Office programs
  • Integrates with in-house email and collaboration solutions
  • Your settings stay with you when you move to a different computer
  • Flexible deployment – use your own infrastructure or the cloud
  • Complete control over software updates, with ability to test and roll back updates

One of the benefits of Office 365 ProPlus is that Microsoft can provide new features for Office apps on a regular basis, through monthly updates. However, as the admin who deploys Office 365 ProPlus to the users in your organization, you might want to have more control over how often your users get these new features.Microsoft provides you three options, called update channels, to control how often Office 365 ProPlus is updated with new features. Here’s an overview of the three options.

What is the difference between Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2019?

Office 365 is a subscription that comes with premium apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access (Publisher and Access available on PC only). The apps can be installed on multiple devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, and Android phones. Office 365 also comes with services like 1TB of OneDrive storage, 60 Skype minutes per month, and Microsoft chat and phone support. With a subscription, you get the latest versions of the apps and automatically receive updates when they happen.

Office 2019 is a one-time purchase that comes with classic apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for PC or Mac, and does not include any of the services that come with an Office 365 subscription. One-time purchases don’t have an upgrade option, which means if you plan to upgrade to the next major release, you’ll have to buy it at full price.

What is the difference between Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 Business?

Office 365 ProPlus is targeted at enterprises, and includes always-up-to-date versions of the core Office desktop apps along with enterprise-grade security and compliance features, enhanced communication via Skype for Business, and fine-grained controls for deployment and management. Some small businesses in highly regulated industries, or those wanting higher levels of IT control, may also be interested in ProPlus.

Office 365 Business also offers always-up-to-date versions of the core Office desktop apps, but without any of the additional security, communication, or administrative features listed above. Office 365 Business is also supported only up to a maximum business size of 300 users, whereas ProPlus is available for an unlimited number of seats.

Do I have control over software updates if I use Office 365 ProPlus?

Yes, you can configure Office 365 ProPlus to apply only the software updates you have tested and validated. You can manage software updates completely in-house, either by using familiar software distribution tools or by directing Office 365 ProPlus to check for updates at your file shares or URLs.

Office 365 ProPlus is a licensing model through Microsoft that allows you to install the latest version of its popular desktop productivity suite, Microsoft Office, for the desktop experience with which you are familiar.ProPlus applications are initially downloaded via your O365 account, but after installation, function identically to all current versions of MS Office.

Office 365 ProPlus is your new Office delivered fast to all your Windows devices. Office 365 ProPlus includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. This is the full evaluation version of Office – not just web apps. You will be able to try Office 365 ProPlus applications and manage up to 25 users with a trial account.

Office 365 ProPlus Update Channels

If you want to customize how frequently Office 365 ProPlus is updated, you’re in luck. Microsoft offers three update channels that your Office 365 administrator can choose from:

Monthly : experience new features as soon as they’re released.
Semi-annual : updates twice a year (once in January and again in July).
Targeted semi-annual : updates are tested thoroughly via pilot users and application compatibility testers, and released in March and September.

Monthly Channel (Previously Current Channel)

The monthly channel releases updates every month and may bring new or improved features as well as security upgrades. Additionally, newer updates may also feature performance-related upgrades that improve the stability and overall performance of Office 365 ProPlus.

While there’s no specific time when these updates occur, security updates are expected to be released every second Tuesday of the month.

The monthly channel Office 365 ProPlus updates are designed to be cumulative. In other words, the current month’s channel release will encompass all of the features and updates from previous releases. The support for a monthly release only lasts 30 days before the next monthly updates is rolled out.

Like the semi-annual update, the monthly update also features a targeted release channel. This allows pilot tests to be run on the updated version for one week before the update is released on the normal monthly channel.

Monthly channel updates allow users to benefit from the newer features as soon as they’re available. However, for organizations that operate several line-of-business applications, add-ins, and macros, this could be risky, as you’d be required to run multiple compatibility tests before full-scale deployment.

Semi-Annual Channel (Previously Deferred Channel)

As the default for Office 365 ProPlus, the semi-annual channel was previously called the ‘deferred channel’ precisely because all of the regular security and non-security updates on this version were ‘deferred’ to only accommodate bi-annual updates.

Updates are expected to be released in January and July. Again, these updates are cumulative, including features from all updates released in the past six months.

However, some loopholes or emerging threats can put the entire suite at risk. Because of this, Microsoft is always on the lookout for any threat that has to be taken care of. In case of a security- or non-security-related critical issue, Microsoft will release an update on the second Tuesday of the month.

This version suits organizations that use various add-ins and macros that require some time to be updated. Subscribing to a monthly update release channel will result in lengthy deployments and subsequent downtime.
Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) (Previously First Release for Deferred Channel)

The semi-annual channel also comes with a targeted version that allows pilot and application compatibility testers to analyze the upcoming update. However, due to the difference in release periods, the semi-annual (targeted) channel is released four months before the actual update—with the release months being March and September—giving organizations ample time to test the update before full-scale deployment.

Any issues that might come up in your line-of-business applications or add-in applications can be resolved in the four months before the actual update is deployed. Due to this core similarity between the two semi-annual updates, the Jan-July version always complies with the features and updates released in the March-September version.

Additional information about the update channels for Office 365 ProPlus

Here is some additional information that might be useful to know as you determine how to configure and use Monthly Channel, Semi-Annual Channel, and Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in your organization.
You can switch an Office 365 ProPlus installation from one update channel to another. For example, you might want to move a user from Monthly Channel to Semi-Annual Channel. To switch update channels, you can use the Office Deployment Tool or Group Policy.
If the user does an Online Repair of Office 365 ProPlus, the installation reverts to Semi-Annual Channel, unless you’ve configured a Group Policy setting to provide a different update channel.
If you have Visio Online Plan 2 (previously named Visio Pro for Office 365) or Project Online Desktop Client installed on the same computer as Office 365 ProPlus, they all must use the same update channel. You can’t have a mix of update channels on the same computer.
These update channels only apply to installations on computers running Windows.