Download our handy one-page Cheat Sheet πŸ‘‰ HERE.

Excel Versions: What You Need to Know

Perpetual Versions

There are many Excel versions still in use: 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and even 2007. These standalone versions were bought with a one-time payment. Perpetual versions only include features available at the time of their release.

They don’t get new functions anymore, just security updates and bug fixes.

  • Excel 2016, 2019, and 2021 are currently still supported.
  • Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013 are no longer supported.

The 2024 version of Excel includes all features up to its release. But it won’t get new features after that, only security updates.

Microsoft 365: The Subscription Model

Microsoft 365 is different. It’s a subscription service with a monthly or yearly fee. When Microsoft rolls out new features, they only come to Microsoft 365.

This ensures you always have the latest functions and improvements.

But even with Microsoft 365, you might not see new features right away. This is because of update channels, which control how and when you get new updates.

We cover which ones there are and how to check which one you are in, at the end of this article.

Microsoft Insider Program

When Microsoft releases a new feature, it first goes to the Microsoft 365 Insider Program. This program lets users try new features before the wider public. By joining, you can test updates early and give feedback. This helps Microsoft fix problems before everyone else gets the update.

How to Become an Insider

You can join the Insider Program here. To be eligible, you must have a valid Microsoft 365 subscription and meet specific system requirements. This allows you to access the latest features early.

πŸ’‘ Note that Enterprise or Business users might need admin approval.

From Insider to General Availability

The Insider Program has different channels that offer early access at different stages. This way, you can choose how early you want to see new features.

  • Beta Channel: Rollout is gradual, meaning not everyone gets the new features at the same time. Microsoft releases updates in waves, starting with a small group and expanding to more users over time. This helps identify and fix any issues early.
  • Current Channel (Preview): Once a feature is stable, it moves to this channel within the Insider Program. This channel is more stable and supported.

⚠️ The Beta channel is not supported. You get early features but with potential software bugs.

After thorough testing, features are released to all Microsoft 365 users as Generally Available (GA).

Update Channels for Organizations

Update channels determine how often your Microsoft 365 apps get new features. This can range from immediately to twice a year. Your update channel affects how quickly you receive new functions or features after they are released.

There are three primary update channels:

  • Current Channel: Get new features as soon as they’re ready. Rollout is gradual.
  • Monthly Enterprise Channel: Updates on the second Tuesday of each month, after full rollout in the Current Channel.
  • Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel: Feature updates on the second Tuesday in January and July, after full rollout in the Monthly channel.

Most corporate users are on the Semi-Annual Channel, meaning they wait the longest for new features. This is because of internal requirements and the need to ensure compatibility with other software and systems. The Semi-Annual Channel provides more time for testing and stability, reducing the risk of disruptions.

πŸ’‘ Security and bug fixes are still delivered monthly on the second Tuesday (“Patch Tuesday”), even if your update channel is semi-annual.

How to Check Your Update Channel

To check your update channel in Excel:

  • Open Excel.
  • Go to File > Account.
  • Look in the Product Information section under About.

Here, you’ll find your update channel, version and build number.

  • Version: Updated when new features are added to an update channel, e.g., Version 2406.
  • Build Number: Detailed updates within a version, including security and bug fixes. Identified by numbers like 17726.20006.
excel version about

How to Track Updates

Here are three ways to keep track of updates in Excel:

  • Official Release Notes: Monitor the official Release Notes for your update channel. This site provides detailed information on all updates, so you know when new features are available.
  • Excel Features Flyer: Check the Excel Features Flyer. It shows the development stage of each feature and which channel will receive it. This helps you know when to expect new features in your Excel.
  • Excel Functions List: Use the Excel Functions List to determine the version of Excel a function was introduced.

Get the Cheat Sheet

Download the Cheat Sheet for a handy one-page PDF summary πŸ‘‰ HERE.

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Leila Gharani

I'm a 6x Microsoft MVP with over 15 years of experience implementing and professionals on Management Information Systems of different sizes and nature.

My background is Masters in Economics, Economist, Consultant, Oracle HFM Accounting Systems Expert, SAP BW Project Manager. My passion is teaching, experimenting and sharing. I am also addicted to learning and enjoy taking online courses on a variety of topics.