SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 Release Candidate available

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Building on our announcement of SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 in November, we’re pleased to announce the availability of SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC). SharePoint Server 2016 RC is mostly feature complete and represents an important milestone for customers and partners looking to deploy and evaluate SharePoint Server 2016 before general availability in Spring 2016.

Over 5,000 customers have downloaded the SharePoint Server 2016 previews to date, which, through customer feedback, has resulted in a high-quality Release Candidate.

SharePoint Server 2016 is our most reliable, scalable, secure and high-performant server release ever. With built-in Hybrid Cloud capabilities, it is the premier choice for organizations who are looking to take advantage of the latest innovations in Microsoft Cloud offerings while also maintaining critical content or custom applications on-premises. SharePoint Server 2016 will help organizations unlock breakthrough performance and resiliency as well as quickly build solutions and extend data across on-premises and Office 365 with the confidence that their data will be safe and secure.

The SharePoint Server 2016 RC showcases significant value for IT admins, developers and end users.

Enhanced IT—SharePoint Server 2016 provides unprecedented deployment flexibility, whether you’re looking to deploy on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid scenario. As business needs and technological advancements converge, IT professionals have a unique opportunity to take advantage of new innovations in their organizations across on-premises and Office 365. To learn more visit

In addition, SharePoint Server 2016 helps provide enhanced data security and compliance by offering simplified configuration and administration for regulatory policies. SharePoint Server 2016 puts IT professionals in a better position to control access to company- and customer-sensitive data by making authorization and audit management more central, flexible and seamless.

Consistent development—Optimize developer productivity with a unified development experience across server and cloud with modern APIs. SharePoint Server 2016 enables a broad ecosystem through a standardized set of APIs and experiences that span on-premises and the cloud.

As a developer, you now have new ways to create contextual solutions that span SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365 from the web, mobile apps and Office. You have simpler and more robust APIs and tool improvements to make building solutions easier than ever before. And your solutions have the potential to reach a vast number of users across businesses, government organizations and schools, who spend hours every day using Office or Office 365.

Better user productivity—SharePoint Server 2016 provides improved mobile access to content, people and applications along with touch-based experiences across devices and screen sizes. SharePoint Server 2016 also provides simpler and easier to use file storage and document collaboration. And, with seamless Hybrid integration to Office 365, users of SharePoint Server can now take advantage of new and improving productivity experiences like Delve, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Foundation for the future—In today’s rapidly changing business and technology environment, responding quickly to changing business needs or to user demands can be challenging. Whether you choose to deploy SharePoint Online with Office 365 or SharePoint Server on-premises, you need software that helps you more easily take advantage of new technology or services quickly. We’ve designed SharePoint Server 2016 to position our on-premises customers to take advantage of innovations more quickly whether SharePoint is deployed on-premises, in the cloud or somewhere in between.

In addition to these updates, SharePoint Server 2016 RC also includes the Project Server 2016 RC.

You can download SharePoint Server 2016 RC today via the Microsoft Download Center and share feedback directly with our engineering teams through the SharePoint Server 2016 Forum. We also welcome feature requests and feedback via the SharePoint Server Suggestion Box on UserVoice, @SharePoint on Twitter and in the comments below. We’re eager to hear your feedback and use it as we continue to drive toward our final release in 2016.

Learn more about SharePoint Server 2016 at

—Bill Baer, senior product manager for the SharePoint team

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I upgrade SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 to RC?

A. Yes. Release Candidate is an update to SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2 and can be installed over Beta 2.

Q. When SharePoint 2013 RC was released, there were new versions of InfoPath and SharePoint Designer at the same time. Will SharePoint Server 2016 RC include new versions of those products as well?

A. For the past decade, InfoPath and SharePoint Designer have been at the forefront of Microsoft solutions for professional developers and information workers building lightweight business applications for the enterprise. SharePoint Server 2016 extends our commitment to lightweight business applications.

As we continue to evolve, we recognize the need for a long runway as we augment existing business app offerings with new tools and capabilities. As a result, we’re updating the support timelines in conjunction with SharePoint Server 2016, specifically:

  • SharePoint Server 2016 will include an ongoing capability to host InfoPath Forms Services. InfoPath Forms Services on SharePoint 2016 will be supported for the duration of SharePoint 2016’s support lifecycle.
  • InfoPath Forms Services on Office 365 will continue to be supported.
  • InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will be the last versions of those products. SharePoint Designer is not being re-released with SharePoint Server 2016, although we will continue to support custom workflows built with SharePoint Designer and hosted on SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365. Support for InfoPath 2013 and SharePoint Designer 2013 will match the support lifecycle for SharePoint Server 2016, running until 2026.
  1. Why is the Project Server RC buried in the install for SharePoint?

    • Project Server 2016 is now integrated with SharePoint Server 2016 as opposed to being installed as a standalone server. You can preview Project Server 2016 capabilities with SharePoint Server 2016 through provisioning a PWA in Service Application management.

  2. Will you be able to deploy custom workflows via Visual Studio in 2016?

  3. How would we author new workflows in SharePoint online going forward then ?

    • There are no changes to workflow and workflow authoring in SharePoint Online with this announcement. You can continue to develop and deploy workflow using the existing, support solutions.


      • When will SharePoint Designer and InfoPath no longer work with SharePoint Online?

        • As previously noted, Infoath Forms Services on Office 365 is a supported part of the offering.

  4. The link to Download the RC is incorrect. It is pointing to SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate Patch. Don’t see where to download the full RC.

  5. Will you be able to connect to SharePoint 2016 via SharePoint designer 2013 and make customizations?

    • SharePoint Designer 2013 can be used with SharePoint Server 2016.

  6. As mentioned “we will continue to support custom workflows built with SharePoint Designer and hosted on SharePoint Server 2016 and Office 365” does that mean 2010 OOB, Designer and Visual Studio workflows will continue to work on 2016.

  7. We will be able to upgrade our SharePoint 2016 RC installations to the GA version when it is released?

    • They said no in the past and previous versions of SP didn’t allow this. I wouldn’t bank on it.

  8. What about Workflow Manager in project server service?

  9. Hi,

    Great that the RC is available.
    We plan to migrate our sharepoint 2010, but we would like to know if Sharepoint 2016 RTM will be deliver in Q1 ?
    Otherwise unfortunately will have to go to sahrepoint 2013

    Tanks a lot for your feed back

    • Keep in mind, that if you plan to do the migration with the database attach approach you have to go through a SP2013 instance.
      There is no way to attach the sp2010 database directly to sp2016,

      • Yes I know we have to go through SharePoint 2013 and then i can go to SharePoint 2016. My trouble is that if SP2016 is out Q1 then i will have benefit of the last version, otherwise i will stay in SP2013 and this impact my Project planning, that’s why i would like to know if it will be delivered Q1 or not ?

        • I’m in the same boat. With the RC being out I think their Q1 date is very do-able.

  10. Will SharePoint 2016 be the last on-premise release? Will all future upgrades be targeted through Office 365?

  11. Hi,

    Great that the RC is available.
    We plan to migrate our sharepoint 2010, but we would like to know if Sharepoint 2016 RTM will be deliver in Q1 ?
    Otherwise unfortunately will have to go to sharepoint 2013

    Tanks a lot for your feed back

  12. What version of SQL Server is supported for Access Services 2016? Are we still limited to SQL 2012?

  13. Strange, I do not see the option to create a Project Server instance under “Manage Project Web Apps”

  14. Understanding that SharePoint Designer 2013 and InfoPath 2013 will continue to work with SharePoint Server 2016, and that they will be supported until 2026 along the same lines as the SharePoint Server 2016 lifecycle… what is the anticipated path forward for light-weight workflows, customizations, and forms for SharePoint after the 2016 release?

  15. Last year I heard that the release date was moved up to 1st Qtr 2016, is this still true? Thx

  16. Can SP 2016 RC connect to SharePoint APP store ? or is it restricted because its not a final build?

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