In larger environments, installing Office from Office365 can be tedious work. Because of how the installation works (Click-to-Run principal), every user would have to log on to Office365 Portal to download and run the installer, and then stream Office to each computer. From a management perspective, this isn't really a good idea. Luckily, Microsoft has updated their Office Deployment Tool to support Click-to-Run, and that includes Office365.
Using Office Deployment Tool to deploy Office365 is pretty straight-forward and does not require much in terms of dependencies or prerequisites. It is also possible to use the deployment tool to deploy Office365 through System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).
The Office Deployment Tool is a tool to customize installations of Office, allowing for easy (unattended) installation of Office with the customizations and options you require. The Office Deployment Tool has now been extended to support Click-to-Run applications, which is essentially what Office365 is. It can be used to download and customize Office from Office365 and have it readily available on a network share so it can be deployed to the workstations on your network without the need for additional downloads.
Follow the procedure below to download the installation files for Office365. Usually, these files are placed on a network share which will act as your installation source, but you could also place the files on an USB media.
For 32-bit, you'll need about 1 GB for the base installation files and 200-250MB per additional language.
<Configuration> <Add SourcePath="\\server\share" OfficeClientEdition="32" > <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail"> <Language ID="en-us" /> </Product> </Add> <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" /> <Property Name="AUTOACTIVATE" Value="1" /> <Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" Value="1" /> </Configuration>
setup.exe /download configuration.xml
You can customize the installation of Office365 by editing the configuration XML. This allows you to determine:
A complete reference for the configuration XML for Click-to-Run can be found here:
To change the architecture to 64-bit: OfficeClientEdition="64"
You can add additional languages by adding multiple <Language ID> tags to the <Product> tag:
<Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail"> <Language ID="nl-nl" /> <Language ID="en-us" /> <Language ID="fr-fr" /> </Product>
All specified languages will be installed, but Office will look at the current user's language to select which is active by default. The user can choose to change the language to any of the languages which were installed. The specified languages will also include proofing tools.
A complete list of available languages for Office, and their identifiers for use in the configuration XML can be found here:
You can exclude specific components from Office by adding corresponding <ExcludeApp ID> tags. The example below prevents Access, InfoPath and OneNote from being installed:
<Configuration> <ExcludeApp ID="Access" /> <ExcludeApp ID="InfoPath" /> <ExcludeApp ID="OneNote" /> </Configuration>
If you wish to install from USB media, you can omit SourcePath. This will tell the deployment tool to look in the current directory for the installation source files during installation. When the tool is in download mode, the install sources will also be put in the current directory.
If you have a webserver that you wish to use, you can also set SourcePath to an URL. Of course, this only works for installation and not in download mode.
The 2016 version also adds the ability to specify which "branch" and/or which specific version (within the specified "branch") to install. This defaults to Branch="Current", which installs the latest stable version of Office 2016. But it can be changed by specifying in with the <Add> tag:
<Add SourcePath="\\servershare" OfficeClientEdition="32" Version="188.8.131.52" Branch="Current" >
Update behaviour (2016-only)
The Office 2016 Deployment Tool also allows to configure update behaviour: updates can be turned on or off, you can determine which version to update to, to which update "branch" to stick to, whether to download updates directly from Microsoft, or use the specified installation source.
<Updates Enabled="TRUE" Branch="Current" />
To install Office on a computer using Office Deployment Tool is as simple as running setup.exe in configuration mode. For this to work properly, setup.exe will have to be run at least once in download mode, ensuring the required installation sources have been downloaded.
\\server\share\setup.exe /configure \\server\share\configuration.xml
You can use System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to deploy Office365 as well. Using the configuration XML is almost identical, except the SourcePath does not have to be specified as this is dynamically determined when placing the install package on a distribution point.
More information about using Office Deployment Tool to deploy Office365 using SCCM:
Installation through group policy scripts or any other software repository is also possible.
When an Office app (Word, Excel, etc) gets started for the first time, the user will be prompted to enter their Office365 account details in order to activate Office. This will also configure access from the Office apps to the various Office365 services for that user (e.g. direct access to OneDrive, direct access to Sharepoint document libraries, etc).
There's no grace period for Office365, meaning that immediate activation is required in order to use any of the Office programs (Word, Excel, etc).
If AD sync is active, the prompt to log in to activate Office may not appear: Office will be able to automatically detect the account and log on to Office365 to activate.
Re-activation of Office365 occurs every 24 hours. If re-activation fails because of no internet, Office will attempt to re-activate up to 30 days. After 30 days without a succesful re-activation, Office will lock down to limited mode and most of its functionality will be disabled until a re-activation occurs. Re-activation is always done automatically (without the user having to do anything) and only requires internet access.
If the license is removed for the user account on Office365, or the computer gets de-activated from the Office365 Portal by the user itself, Office is automatically de-activated immediately when the next re-activation occurs. Technically, this means that after a license for a user has been removed, his/her Office apps can continue to work for a maximum of 30 days, provided the computer has no access to the internet during that period.