Office 365 Client Deployments

With Office 365 there is a new concept when it comes down to distributing Office Clients to conventional and non-conventional PCs like the new devices part of the “BYOD” culture. In particular Office 365 is introducing and working with the concept that deploying Office Clients is a task that can be shifted from the IT departments to the End Users who have now the ability to equip their devices with Office Applications.

Office 365 provides the ability of not just give to the end user the ability to install their applications but also to limit or restrict which applications should be available based on the current subscription.

Depending on the policies of your company it is possible to make the applications (Office ProPlus, Yammer, Visio, Project, SharePoint Designer) available directly from the Office 365 Portal. Office 365 ProPlus is the Office version of Microsoft Office available to licensed users in the tenancy. From the Office 365 Portal each Global Administrator can decide which software the tenant users can directly download and install:

Office 365 ProPlus includes:

  • Access

  • Excel

  • InfoPath

  • OneNote

  • Outlook

  • PowerPoint

  • Publisher

  • Word

Depending on subscription Skype for Business, Visio and Project might be available. At the time of writing the following applications are available with the software options:

It is indeed a new feature or “era” for Office 365 tenant users but it presents as well a new challenge. In order for the end user to be able to get the Office 365 ProPlus software must meet these requirements:

  • Have a valid license of Office 365 Tenant user

  • Have local Admin rights where the software will be installed. This is perfect for self-provisioning scenarios where the end users are the owners of their devices. This is embracing the BYOD culture for sure.

  • Office software made available for their account. In a different case a message will appear stating that office software is not available

  • Must not exceed 5 local installations per tenant user (depending on Office 365 subscription plan)

Installations of Office 365 ProPlus can be done on client desktops from Windows 7 and above and client servers from Windows 2008 and above. By default if a user installs the Office 365 ProPlus from the Portal all the available software will be deployed. Administrators can configure deployments so that specific software, versions and updates should be included using the Office Deployment Tool.

But what about mobile devices? Well Office 365 naturally supports mobile devices as well so it is possible to collaborate using Windows, Android and iOS based devices. The equivalent Apps can be downloaded and installed from the pertinent AppStores. At the time of writing this is true for Word, Excel PowerPoint and OneNote. Although these Apps are available for free, additionally by signing with a current Office 365 account will give access to premium functionalities like:

  • The ability to track changes

  • Change page orientation

  • Insert Charts elements

  • Add Words Art and picture effects

  • Use Pivot table

  • Modify Charts Elements

  • Use Presenter View with speaker notes

  • Perform audio and video edits

  • Use Picture Styles

  • Technical Support options from Microsoft

OK this looks great but what about activation? How does it work?

Office 365 ProPlus license activation works differently from the Volume Licensing. Office 365 uses a “Retail” license and normally when installed from the Portal comes already pre-activated. So no extra steps involved. Please make sure of the following though: Devices with Office 365 ProPlus deployed need to be connected to the internet for at least every 30 days for “self-reactivation” (failing this will go into reduced functionality mode; View-Only but no Edit/New Documents). Also a maximum of 5 concurrent installation of 5 different devices can be done (when available through subscription plan).

OK I’m the Administrator of an Office 365 Tenant. How do I know which software is available to my users?

Probably the first step would be to use the ubiquitous PowerShell commands to determine the current subscription, plans and license options. Eventually create new tailored ones 🙂

As a second step if this needs to be done for specific users the User section of the Portal comes handy. So like in the picture below based on the user “usagelocation” settings it is possible to determine which services should be available

Chances are that users might need to install more than 5 Office 365 ProPlus at a time on their personal devices. It is also reasonable to think they might not be using all of the installed devices at the same time. If this is the case from the Office Portal not only it is possible to see on which devices these licenses have been activated but also de-activate them to free up licenses for a new installation. So each Office 365 tenant can navigate to the Portal at the following address https://portal.office.com/OLS/MySoftware.aspx and review which licenses are not needed. It is important to mention that de-activating a license does not remove the software installed. Hence on a de-activated Office 365 ProPlus installation it is necessary to re-activate the copy using an Office 2013 Pro or Standard license to avoid the reduced functionality until the Office 365 ProPlus is available again.

The same address from the Portal can also be used for:

  • Office

    • Review activated licenses (max 5 per tenant user)

    • Install latest version of Microsoft Office

    • Choose Office Language

    • Download Office Architecture x86/x64

  • Tools And Add-ins

    • Install Office 365 Support and Recovery Assistant

    • Install SharePoint Designer

  • Skype for Business

    • Install latest version of Skype for Business

    • Launch Skype for Business Web Scheduler

  • Desktop Setup

    • Setup desktop applications to work with Office 365 (Valid for local installation of Office 2007/2010)

  • Phone & Tablets

    • Get Apps for

      • Windows Phone

      • iPhone

      • Android Phone

      • BlackBerry

      • Nokia (Symbian OS)

      • Windows Tablet

      • iPad

      • Android Tablet

References:

Choose Office Software that users can install

Exclude certain Office Programs

Office 365 Mobile Setup

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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