In the previous post “Office 365 Client Deployments” we explored the different approach for deploying Office 365 ProPlus clients where the task of provisioning has been shifted from the IT (at least for the main part) and is now delegated to the end user. This scenario is suitable where the Company embraces the BYOD philosophy and typically where the end users have administrator rights on their devices.
Although the Click-to-Run technology is very simple to use it is still possible to configure and customise the deployment settings to match the various requirements. By default the Click-to-Run installer will:
Stream the office installation files to the device (this also allows to use the office products straightaway with minimal functionalities enabled during the installation. All functionalities will be available at the completion of the installation)
Install the entire application set included in Office 365 ProPlus (Visio and Publisher depending upon the license)
Automatically get the latest version of Office products
Get latest updates slipstreamed (included) directly into the Office installation
Choose architecture (32Bit and 64Bit)
Choose the display level interaction with use
Automatically license the Office Products
Each one of these options can be fully customised together with the ability not only to create a custom share used to store the installation files and allow multiple remote clients to benefit from a central location but also the ability to create virtualized installations so called App-V packages of the Office 365 ProPlus applications.
The purpose of this post is to cover these options in greater detail.
First things first. In order to allow the users to stream their Office 365 ProPlus application we need to create a configuration file that will instruct the setup on how to run the installation. This purpose is accomplished by the Office Deployment Tool.
The Office Deployment Tool includes a configuration file that can be used as a templates and setup.exe which provides the following:
With no additional command line will install the latest version of Office with a Full UI experience.
With the /Download <NetShare Location> will download the Office source files to a shared location accessible through the network
With the /Configure <configuration.xml> will execute a custom installation as per the values in the configuration file
With the /Package will create an App-V package of the Office 365 ProPlus installation
Step 1 Creating an Office 365 ProPlus installation Source
Creating an installation source is the process of providing a network share where to store the installation files. Creating an installation source for Office 365 ProPlus is not mandatory but it is the suggested option when in need of deploying Office 365 ProPlus to multiple devices sharing the same configuration or for example where there is a limited bandwidth available. This way all the clients can point to a local source rather than connecting to the internet to stream the installation files. The location of the netshare provided needs to be included in the configuration file when not streaming the installation files from the internet
Step 2 Creating a custom configuration file for installation
A custom configuration file consists of several settings as per the attributes below and associated values. The table below represents the most common ones:
Step 3 Creating an App-V Office 365 ProPlus package
Similarly to the previous step the Click-to-Run also allows to create the so called AppV packages from the installation sources. In this case we need to run the Office deployment Tool in packager mode. We are looking to something like this:
\..\Setup.exe /packager \\server\share\Configuration.xml <output path>
<Setup.exe> is the Office Deployment Tool executable
<\\Server\Share> is the location where the installation source files are located
</Packager> is the switch to convert the Click-to-run into App-V package
<output-path> sets the location where to locate the App-V package
The configuration.xml file for the packager mode supports the following: