Checking your Office 365 ProPlus version and features for Windows Desktop applications

How to check the version of your Office 365 desktop applications. If you have an Office 365 subscription, either home or business, you will probably be aware that your Office applications are updated from time to time.

Features are added, bugs are fixed, and performance is (hopefully) improved over time. So you may want to know what version you are running, and what the features are of that version.

Checking your Office 365 version

Firstly, you need to check which version of Office 365 you have installed.

  1. Open any Office application, such as Word or Excel, and create a new document.
  2. Choose File, then Account
  3. The version is shown below e.g. 1705

 

There are 2 ways to view the update history for Office 365 desktop, which will tell you which features were added in this version.

 

1  What’s new in Office 365

For Office 365 Subscribers:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/what-s-new-in-office-365-95c8d81d-08ba-42c1-914f-bca4603e1426?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Or if you are an Office 365 Insider:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/what-s-new-for-office-insiders-c152d1e2-96ff-4ce9-8c14-e74e13847a24?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

These pages give a high level overview of the features added in the various releases. If you scroll down you can see features added in previous releases.

 

2  Update history for Office Insider for Windows desktop

This gives a more detailed list of changes

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/update-history-for-office-insider-for-windows-desktop-64bbb317-972a-4933-8b82-cc866f0b067c

For more information see :

When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/when-do-i-get-the-newest-features-in-office-2016-for-office-365-da36192c-58b9-4bc9-8d51-bb6eed468516?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

Script to stop your screen going blank or PC going to sleep

If you have a PC or laptop at work with settings or policies set to turn the screen off, lock the PC, or go to sleep, you may wish to prevent this from time to time. For example you may need to run a display in an office or shop window, or avoid embarrassment during presentations. On a standalone PC you can easily change the power settings to prevent your PC from going to sleep, but this is not ideal because you have to remember to switch it back again.

In a corporate environment you will likely have group policies enforcing these settings that you are unable to change. Having special GPOs applying to groups of machines is one solution, however this will often be time consuming and complicated to setup in a corporate network with security and change control.

PowerPoint does a good job of preventing the screen or PC from turning off during full screen presentation mode, however you may need to run a browser or other application.

As a side note, Presentation View has been around since Windows Vista days, but it is still present even in the latest Windows 10 build, but unfortunately does not work if you have group policies enforcing your settings. This is a shame as it is very easy to use (Right click on the Start menu, Mobility Centre, Turn on presentation view).

Fortunately, there is another easy way of doing this this that work in Windows 10 and earlier versions back to Windows 7 (you may need to alter the script slightly for earlier versions of Powershell). So here is a way of doing it using a simple script:

Create a new text file in a folder called e.g. keep-alive, and call it keep-alive.ps1.

clear host
#
# Script to keep the PC alive, will prevent screen lock and sleep.
# Works by pressing Print Screen every 60 minutes, side effect is that a screenshot will overwrite the clipboard contents
# Change the color of error and warning text
#
# Valid colours: Black, DarkBlue, DarkGreen, DarkCyan, DarkRed, DarkMagenta, DarkYellow, Gray, DarkGray, Blue, Green, Cyan, Red, Magenta, Yellow, White
# To see all colours:
# [enum]::GetValues([System.ConsoleColor]) | Foreach-Object {Write-Host $_ -ForegroundColor $_} 

$opt = (Get-Host).PrivateData
$opt.WarningBackgroundColor = "DarkCyan"
$opt.WarningForegroundColor = "white"

write-warning "Your PC will not go to sleep whilst this window is open..."
Do {
[void][System.Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName(‘System.Windows.Forms’)
[System.Windows.Forms.SendKeys]::SendWait(“{PRTSC}”)

Start-Sleep -Seconds 60

} While ($true)

Now create a new file in the same directory called keep-alive.bat and add the following:

powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -File .\keep-alive.ps1

Note that this will work on PCs that have Powershell scripts disabled, since it overrides this setting.

You should now have a folder like this:

 

Run the .bat file and your PC will stay alive whilst the window is open.