Author: Jeremy_MSFT
Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog.

Office 365 ProPlus was designed to enable administrators to control the configuration, installation and updating experience using familiar processes and tools. Because Office 365 ProPlus is rooted in application virtualization, a number of new tools have been developed to enable configuration management using enterprise software distribution and script-based processes. Some organizations may allow users to log in to office365.com and install their own Office programs directly from the Internet, however, this requires that users are comfortable performing this task and they have the rights to install applications on their computer. In most cases, this will be a normal case for Office 365 users who install on their personal devices or home PCs, but may not meet the requirement of a locked-down and managed environment where users are provisioned as Standard Users in Windows.

In cases where users do not or cannot self-install, Office 365 ProPlus has been built to allow IT administrators to install Office on behalf of their users. This applies both to Windows image-based installations as well as standalone installs from the network, software distribution, local media or the Office 365 service. By default Office 365 ProPlus receives automatic updates, but IT can elect to disable automatic updating of Office programs and deploy only tested and approved Office builds. The Click-to-Run installation technology and toolset provides flexibility and control to manage how Office 365 ProPlus is installed and updated as well as where installation media is stored.

Click-to-Run Components and Tools for the Administrator

As I mentioned above, if you come from a systems management background, the first question many will ask is, “where are the bits?” The design of Office 365 ProPlus is to store installation files online via a publicly-accessible service. This allows people to perform self-installation and managed deployments to point to online installation source for initial installs and ongoing software updates.

The installation files are also accessible to be downloaded and imported into enterprise software distribution tools or operating system deployment tools. The Office Deployment Tool enables automated deployment of Office 365 ProPlus. There are three primary components needed to enable managed or “push” deployments of Office 365 ProPlus:

  1. Office 365 ProPlus installation files
  2. setup.exe bootstrapper to initiate the installation process
  3. configuration XML file to govern how and from where Office is downloaded and installed

  

Contents of the Office Deployment Tool

The Setup and configuration XML tools are packaged together as the Office Deployment Tool and available on the Microsoft Download Center. Setup.exe in this case performs two primary tasks – it downloads Office 365 ProPlus, Visio and Project programs to a local file location using the /download command and it controls how Office programs are installed using the /configure command. Both commands point to a configuration file to govern what is downloaded and how Office is configured.

The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to downloading installation source from the http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ site are the following. Note: all controls are CaSe SeNsItIvE.

Option

Description

Sample Syntax

Add

Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download.

From CDN:
<Add OfficeClientEdition="32" >

    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

      <Language ID="en-us" />

    </Product>

</Add>

From local network:

<Add SourcePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" Version=”15.0.4128.1014” OfficeClientEdition="32" >

    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

      <Language ID="en-us" />

    </Product>

</Add>

Product

The targeted products to download within the <Add> command. Multiple products may be nested under the <Add> control and multiple languages may be nested under the <Product> control.

Office 365 ProPlus

<Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

  <Language ID="en-us" />

</Product>

<Product ID="VisioProRetail">

   <Language ID=”ja-jp" />

</Product>

<Product ID="ProjectProRetail">

   <Language ID=”es-es" />

</Product>

SourcePath

Location where the Office is downloaded to. If unspecified, the downloaded content will be saved to the folder where the setup.exe is located.

<Add SourcePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

<Add SourcePath="%Applications%\Office\" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

<Add SourcePath="C:\Source\Office\" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

<Add SourcePath="http://source. contoso.com/Office" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

OfficeClientEdition

Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.

<Add SourcePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

 

Or:

OfficeClientEdition="32"

OfficeClientEdition="64"

Language

Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package.

<Language ID=”ja-jp" />

<Language ID=”es-es" />

<Language ID="en-us" />

<Language ID="fr-fr" />

Version

Version is used as part of the <Add> control and specifies the version to be downloaded. If version is not specified, setup.exe will download the latest build. Available version numbers will be posted to KB article in the future.

<Add SourcePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" Version=”15.0.4128.1014” OfficeClientEdition="32" >

 

 

Downloading Click-to-Run Installation Source

Click-to-Run builds are available for download from the Office 365 service. Administrators can use the configuration XML file to determine the architecture (x86 or x64), language and version number to download. The following screenshots show the process to download Office 365 ProPlus installation files from the service.

 

Setup tool and command line usage

You can create XML files with commands specific to downloading, installing or uninstalling Office. Here is a sample of an XML I called download.xml to download the latest Click-to-Run builds of Office 365 ProPlus Preview and Visio Pro Preview.

<Configuration>

<Add OfficeClientEdition="32" >

    <Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

      <Language ID="en-us" />

    </Product>

    <Product ID="VisioProRetail">

      <Language ID="en-us" />

    </Product>

</Add>

</Configuration>

 

Progress after executing ‘setup.exe /download download.xml’ command

 

Office folder is downloaded and applied to the Office Deployment Tool folder

 

Office 365 ProPlus build is stored as DAT and CAB files in the ..\data\versionnumber folder within the directory of setup.exe or SourcePath location

In a managed IT environment, the IT administrator can execute an automated scheduled task every two weeks or so to download the most recent Office 365 ProPlus builds. The great thing is that new builds always contain the latest software updates and you don’t need to add them to the \updates folder as with the MSI package, they are already slipstreamed into the build and installation times for the first release build will be comparable to future builds. It is good news if you build lots of PCs with task sequence-based setup or just wish that installs when the product is in the middle of the release cycle were as fast as they were with RTM builds. As someone with a Windows imaging background, I wish I had this sooner and that other components I install in my task sequences were updated similarly, because once you start layering in a service pack and more than ten additional software updates, MSI-based installs start to get very slow.

Alternatively, the administrator can manually download the exact build desired by specifying the build number in the configuration XML file. If left unspecified, the download command will download the newest available x86 build of Office 365 ProPlus.

Using Active Directory Group Policy to Deploy and Enforce Configuration Templates

Let’s take a small detour from setup for a minute and discuss post-installation configuration. Ideally, Group Policy configuration is decided and implemented prior to rolling out any version of Office and in the case with Click-to-Run, we need Group Policy if we want to make configuration changes to how Office is set up.

Office 365 ProPlus is designed to work with Active Directory Group Policy configuration management. Aside from the handful of controls available in the configuration XML file to govern Office 365 ProPlus setup, Group Policy is required for fine-tuned configuration management of Click-to-Run installation and run time. Group Policy adds unique settings for the Office 365 ProPlus service to manage how roaming settings are accessed, control software update behavior and determine which online services are allowed for storing files among thousands of other settings.

 

Local Group Policy Editor in Windows

Group Policy is also used to configure security settings and how new telemetry features in Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013 capture and report data for client performance. New telemetry features also utilize Group Policy to block or enable Office Add-ins from running.  The Office 2013 Preview Administrative Template (ADMX/ADML) files can be downloaded now from the Microsoft Download Center and these apply to both the Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus packages.