The Office team has changed the way we install Office 365. We have all been using the customization tool to create our .msp file for the .msi installations. That is no longer the case. Now we’re supposed to use the Deployment Tool with .xml files and Group Policy. Therefor I thought I would walk you through the process.

Download the deployment tool:

Edit the default .xml file. I’ll create three different .xml files.

The first one Download.xml only need a few things;

The source path is where you want to put the installation files.

The next file is the Install.xml. This has a few more self explanatory lines… ?

As you can see, I’ve now removed the source path. That is because I’m going to use Configuration Manager to deploy it. The setup.exe will look in its source folder first. If it doesn’t find the setup files it will try install Office from the cloud.

The “autoactive” line is actually not necessary since it will always go to cloud to try activate the product, but it’s not wrong to define it here either.

The last .xml file is upgrade.xml which is very similar to the Install.xml. There is one important add on “Version=”xxxx”.

This will install the specific version. If you do not specify this the download will always download the latest files. If you have an earlier version it will only download deltas.

If you would need to remove the application you can do that by creating another .xml file.

Run setup.exe /configure Remove.xml with content like this in the .xml file:


This will uninstall all office products. If you want to only office and not Visio or Project etc. you need to specify what to remove.

Link to Click-to-Run .xml file reference:


Okay, we now have the three .xml files and the Office Deployment Tool (setup.exe)

Let’s download

Now we need to create our Application in Configuration Manager (ref. post How to create a new application –

I just want to point out a few things.

I think it’s a good practice to fill out the information on the Application Catalog tab as much as possible. This is what we are presenting to our customers (the end users) and may reduce the number of service desk calls if it contains valuable information. Including changing the default icon. ?

Then create a new deployment type of type script.

Define the execution string. The content folder should include the deployment tool (setup.exe) and the .xml files you want to have and the downloaded Office folder from the setup.exe /download Download.xml step.

I created a detection rule to look for the ‘Office15’ folder in the %programfilesMicrosoft Office 15root directory.

This is the folder where you will find all office folders and files that you are used to.

To take advantage of the user centric possibilities in Configuration Manager 2012  we’ll deploy it to a user collection.

To let users that are not local admin or have enough rights to install we need to set the user experience settings as shown below.

Once you have distributed the software to you DP’s and deployed it to a user collection, you should be able to test/install Office. ?

Let see what that looks like.

My test user is just member of domain users and does not have permission to do any manual installation.

Start screen

Open the Software Catalog where applications deployed to users appear (http://<servername>/CMApplicationCatalog or use the link in the upper right corner of the Software Center)

In the Install.xml file I specified to create a setup log located in the C:Logs folder. If you open that file you can see that setup finds the correct source.

What is really cool with this setup is that you can start using your program e.g. Word after only 1,5-2 minutes into the setup! It will start and let you start writing your document while running the rest of the setup in the background. Nice! ?

Start screen with Office

Congrats you’re done ?


Hey, what about the sign-on client?

When you start e.g. Word it will pop-up and ask you for ‘Activation’ and ‘Log In’ credentials. This is a one time thing. If you use DirSync and ADFS you will not have to do this.



Hey, what about custom settings?

Group Policy with Office 365 ProPlus

You can use Office-specific Group Policy settings to create and enforce standard configurations for your Office 365 ProPlus installation. These settings can be applied to users and computers that are in an Active Directory domain. For Office 365 ProPlus, you can use the same Group Policy settings that you use with other versions of Office. These Group Policy settings apply whether Office 365 ProPlus is deployed from the Office 365 portal or from an on-premises location. (

Overview of Group Policy for Office 2013 (

Download Group Policy Template (


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