3 Things to Know About Office Insider Release Notes

By Jesse Gamble on May 23, 2019

Hey there Office Insiders!

Release notes. They may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but for all of you Insiders they can be pretty important! They let you know what to expect when you load up the latest build of your favorite Office app. And we’re here today with 3 things you should know about them!

1. Where to find them

Many of you started following the Office Insider blog because for a while the release notes had a home here. And you’ve probably noticed that it’s been some time since we had a release notes blog post. Well never fear, because they aren’t gone, they just found a new home!

To find the release notes for whatever Office Insider version you are using, simply find the Release notes drop down at the top of insider.office.com or here on the Office Insider blog. 

Or you can use these links!

And as a SPECIAL BONUS for Office Insiders on Windows, you can also find the release notes in-app by going to the Help > What’s New menu! If you’re on a Monthly Channel (Targeted) build, this will show you new features for the app you’re in. If you’re on an Insider build, this will show you the latest release notes for all of the apps.

2. How often should I check them?

So you know where to find the latest release notes, but when should you look at them to see what’s new? Well that depends on a few things!

If you are signed up for Insider Slow updates (or Monthly Channel (Targeted) on Windows), then new release notes are posted once a month. For Mac and mobile, they will generally go up the day that the first new Slow build of the month is released. These are the only Slow builds that contain new features. For Windows, the first build that has new features usually releases in the middle of the month, and the release notes will go up when that update is available.

Unsure if the build you just installed has release notes? You can always check our Twitter account where we make a post announcing the first new Slow build for each platform and have a link to the release notes!

For Windows Insider updates, we post new release notes every Friday afternoon (Pacific Time) if there has been a new build released at all that week. These notes will contain a roundup of all the new fixes and features that went out in all of the builds from the week.

For Mac Fast updates, the app teams post new release notes when they have things to share, so you can check on them anytime you download a new update.

3. Why is there a feature in the release notes that I don’t see?

This is a question that we get a lot! And there are a couple of possible answers. The first has to do with how we test new features. When a team has developed a new feature and they are ready to put it in a build to have it tested, they can decide to slowly roll it out to new devices over time.

Why would they choose to do this? Well, it depends on a number of different factors. Could it cause a different feature to break if we missed something? Does it rely on a new service that we don’t want to overload right away? Do we want to do some A/B testing, where some people have it and some people don’t, and we see who likes things better? The teams think about these and many other different questions, then determine the best way to roll out their feature.

A couple other things to note here:

  • This happens in both Fast and Slow.
  • The way this works is based on devices, not users. So if you’re running the same build on two different PCs, you may see a feature on one and not the other, and that’s normal and expected!
  • We aren’t able to force features to show up, so if you don’t see it yet, be patient and you’ll get it soon!

There are a few other reasons you might not see a new feature yet, including:

  • The feature relies on a service – such as Office Intelligent Services – that you or your employer have disabled.
  • The feature isn’t available in your region or language at this time.
  • You haven’t updated to the latest build.
  • The feature is only available to people with a specific Office 365 license – for example there are some features that are only enabled for businesses.

Phew! Bet you didn’t think we had so much to say about release notes, did you? Hopefully this answers most of your questions about where to find them, when to check them, and why that feature you’re looking for isn’t anywhere to be found (yet!) But if you do have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Twitter or in the Office Insider Answers forum.

Posted in Android, General, Insider Fast, Insider Slow, iOS, Mac, Office Insiders, Windows Desktop, Windows Mobile

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