How to Customize Office with the Office 365 Click to Run Deployment Tools

If you are using Office 365 and are attempting to deploy Office to your users, chances are you’ve run across the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run. With this tool, you may configure the setup to download the files files from a local share rather than slamming your WAN connection with numerous 900mb downloads. That said, the tool doesn’t offer the same flexibility that the Office Customization Tool has offered in the past. Below is a simple example of how to make friends with the new Click-to-Run tool.

First, download the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run.

Second, we need to create a custom Configuration.xml file that fits our needs. Typically the default one gets close. Pay special attention to the SourcePath and commented out sections. By default, several items are commented out with the standard xml syntax such as

At it’s most basic, the following may fit your needs. You could even remove the Source path element entirely and it would just download from the web.

For more options, you may need to consult the Reference for Click-to-Run configuration.xml file.

If you have very special needs, such as only installing specific apps, you may use the ExcludeApp element. For instance, if you only wished to install Outlook and download directly from the web, not pre-staging content, your configuration file may look like:

Assuming you have a file share handy and would like to avoid unnecessary WAN traffic, the next step is to Download the Click to Run Office bits to the path mentioned in the Configuration.xml file. Doing so is pretty simple, dump the setup tool and your .xml file in the desired directory, open a command prompt in that share and  run:

At this point, the tool will process your Configuration.xml file and only download the files associated with that file. That means you may need more than one repository if you are installing different sets of applications on different computers.

We could wrap up at this step, but in the scenario above, the we have to leave Office 2007 installed and only upgrade to Outlook 2013. This means our old nemesis Interop Calls come into play. To fix the issue, we need to remove the 2013 interop registry keys for the applications which are not installed. Since Click-to-Run lacks OCT’s capability of customizing registry keys, we can simply run a batch file that calls the setup.exe and then cleans up the relevant registry keys.

Install_Office_Click-To-Run.bat

If you want to get extra fancy, such as deploying this customized installer via Intune, you’d have to compile your .bat file to an executable via means such as iexpress.exe. Stay tuned for more on packaging scripts into Intune in a later post.