Learn how the Office Customization Tool can be used to simplify Office 365 ProPlus and Office 2019 deployments. No more manually editing configuration files, this can now be done in a few simple steps.

Introducing the Office Customization Tool

The Office Customization Tool is a web based service for configuring Office 365 ProPlus deployments as well as other Click-to-Run managed Office products including Office 2019.  The tool can also be used to automatically upgrade from previous MSI-based Office products as well as configure user preferences to provide a custom first-run experience.

This is an easy to use service that doesn’t require manually editing files, simplifying the overall process.  What’s even better is that the Office Customization Tool is integrated into recent versions of Systems Center Configuration Manager to streamline the deployment process even further.  These are all being powered by a new Office Customization Service with provides a public set of APIs to work seamlessly across the Office Customization Tool. Intune and Systems Center Configuration Manager.

The Office Customization Tool is available at this address: https://config.office.com with general availability launched October 2018.

Traditional Office 365 ProPlus deployments

Previously administrators had to download the Office Deployment Tool and manually create configuration XML files to install Office, then download the source files and install on client machines.  While this was serviceable, it was not ideal and could be somewhat of a hurdle with some trial and error if the XML wasn’t exactly right and being familiar with all the corresponding syntax.

There have been community tools and other option to make this an easier process but now Microsoft have the Office Customization Tool, which is the easiest way to create and maintain configuration XML files.  This is the recommended tool for anyone creating a configuration for deploying Office 365 ProPlus or other Click-to-Run based products and is fully supported by Microsoft.   

What is the Office Customization Tool

Here are some of Office Customization Tool features that Microsoft list:

  • Initial installation of Office 365 ProPlus or Office 365 Business suites as well as Office 2019 suites, with the ability to include standalone products such as Visio and Project and various language packs.
  • Adding additional products after the initial installation of the Office suite
  • Installation of volume licensed products with automatic KMS and MAK activation
  • Automatic removal of previous MSI based Office products

Getting started with the Office Customization Tool

Open https://config.office.com in a web browser and choose the type of deployment, starting with the architecture, products and update channel.  Then simply go through the different categories, selecting the required options.  There are default options that can be configured accordingly, some are required for deployment, some aren't.

After configuring each category and clicking next, a tick mark will appear to indicate it's been passed. On the right hand side, in the Configuration settings area, it shows a summary of the configuration as it's being built.  At any time, to start again click Reset at the top of the page to reset all settings back to default.  



Once competed use the Export option to create a configuration file that can be used with the Office Deployment Tool or other software management tool to deploy Office. 

Demo

Here is a run-through of a typical configuration, for a pilot installation in this case.

Products and releases

Architecture:

Which architecture do you want to deploy? 32-bit

Products:

Which products and apps do you want to deploy? Office 365 ProPlus

Turn apps on or off to include or exclude them from being deployed –

OneDrive (Groove) Off
OneNote 2016 Off

Click Add

Update Channel:

Select the update channel, which controls the timing of feature updates: Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)

Which version do you want to deploy? Latest



Click Next

Language

Select primary language: English (United States)



Click Next

Installation

Where do you want to deploy Office from? Office Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Show installation to user: Off



Click Next

Update and Upgrade

No changes, click next

Licencing and activation 

Automatically accept the EULA: On



Click next

General

Provide organization name and description for documentation purposes and click next

Application preferences 

Non-configured, click Finish 

With these steps completed, click Export at the top of the page and in the Export configuration to XML screen, provide a file name or accept the default Configuration.xml and accept the licence terms and finally, click Export to download the resulting XML file.

Summary


The Office Customization Tool is the best way to create, maintain and edit Office deployment configurations. Existing configuration files can be imported and administrators can self-document by using the options in the general category with additional details.

The Office Customization Tool can be used to configure deployments for Office 365 ProPlus, Office 365 Business, Office 2019 as well as Project, Visio and Language packs and is supported by Microsoft.

Resources