How to Determine and Change your Office 365 Update Channel

Office Update Channel Overview and Best Practices

Office 365 operates within a set of update channels which allow administrators and users to define how quickly they want to apply feature updates to their Office applications. Microsoft recommends that business users with line-of-business applications like Comsense Enterprise that rely on Office functionality to select the Semi-annual channel, which provides feature updates every 6 months. However, as of July 9 2019, the semi-annual channel deploys version 1902 which includes a formatting bug that causes problems with reports in Comsense Advantage. Until the semi-annual channel deploys a more recent version, likely in January 2020, users should use the Monthly channel for formatting compatibility with Comsense Advantage. See the Microsoft Best Practice article by clicking here.

What Version of Word Am I Currently Running

To determine which version of Microsoft Word you are running click File > Account and look in the lower right next to the About Word box.


Note: Microsoft recommends organizations with line-of-business applications which rely on Office like Comsense Enterprise to use the Semi-annual channel.

How Do I Change The Update Channel For New Office 365 Installations From the Portal

Office 365 uses update channels to drive the frequency of updates users receive to their installed Office 365 applications. For some subscriptions the default is their Monthly channel, meaning updates are installed very frequently to provide early access to new features. Others default to Semi-annual, which provides feature updates twice per year. There are other specialized variations to these channels as well but these are the main two. In all cases, security updates are available automatically in between each of the larger feature updates.

To determine which default update channel your organization has set for Office 365 apps, visit the Office Portal at In the portal click Admin to open the Admin Center. Here click on Settings > Services & add-ins then scroll down to Office software download settings.


Click on Office software download settings and note the setting under How often do you want users to get feature updates for Office 365 apps.


Microsoft recommends organizations with line-of-business applications which rely on Office like Comsense Enterprise use the Semi-annual channel, which updates every 6 months.


Force a Change to the Office Update Channel on a Single Computer

The Update Channel can be changed on a computer by running a batch file provided by Microsoft.

Two files attached to this article can be used to accomplish this.

Office365MonthlyToSemi-Annual.bat will set your channel to Semi-Annual.
Office365Semi-AnnualToMonthly.bat will set your channel to Monthly.

To use these files, download the file to your computer, and then Right-Click the file you wish to run and choose Run As Administrator.

This will run the script in the file and then launch the Office Update process to apply the changed configuration.


Have more questions? Submit a request