Microsoft Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) Deployment Options

Microsoft is known to be one of the bigger players in turns of name confusions. We won’t talk about O365 – Microsoft’s SaaS including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, etc. Instead you’ll read about the deployment options of client software suite named Office 365 that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Outlook, Skype and OneDrive for Business – the OneDrive for Business Client software, not the cloud service 😉

Option 1: Portal Installation

To install the office suite your users just navigate to https://www.office.com and click on the button called “Install Office” on the top right. The installation is App-V based. This means the software is streamed to the client and can be used side-by-side with other versions of the office suite. The applications can even be used during the installation already.

Installation Office Suite through the portal under https://www.office.com

After downloading your users can install the Office Suite on their client. They should uninstall different Office Suite editions prior to the new installation.

Prevent users from using the Portal Installation

This option gives administrators a lot more control over the deployment process. It makes sense to prevent users from using option 1 if you want to use option 2.

Go to https://admin.microsoft.com and navigate to “Settings – Services & add-ins – Office software download settings” and disable all options.

Option 2: Office Deployment Tool Installation

The following is an excerpt from the Microsoft Docs.

The Office Deployment Tool let’s you configure a couple of options:

  • Opting out Office Suite programs like Sway or PowerPoint from the installation
  • Specifing the edition to be installed (32bit or 64bit)
  • Specifing a network share as the installation source
  • Install language

The full list of available config params is found here.

Preparing the package

Download the Office Deployment tool from the Microsoft Download Center.

Double-click the EXE to extract the files to for ex. to C:\ODT.

Extracted Office Deployment Tool

To create your own config file visit https://config.office.com/ and call it customconfig.xml.

Hit the following command to download your customized Office Suite package based on customconfig.xml:

> C:\odt\setup.exe /download C:\odt\customconfiguration.xml
Structure of downloaded Office Suite package

Installing your custom package

Share the folder containing the Office Deployment Tool and the downloaded install package – in our example C:\ODT. I shared it under \\server1\odt.

Log on to a client machine and run the following command:

> \\server1\odt\setup.exe /configure \\server1\odt\customconfiguration.xml

You could automate this process by deploying the Office Suite through a logon script with the above command that’s run by a Group Policy.

Conclusion

Both options are very confortable. Option 1 means no work for the IT admin. Option 2 means more control and provides you with config options to even install the Office Suite without the user noticing anything.

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