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Deploying Microsoft Office with MDT

 ·  ☕ 4 min read

Before You Start

The modern Microsoft Office suite is now only available as a ‘Click-to-Run’ installation, which changes how the installation package is obtained, configured and deployed.

These are the resources we’ll be using in this guide.

Creating a Config File

Configuration of the Office suite is now done via an XML file. You can generate one by using the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center. Simply go to the site and click on the “Create a new configuration” button.

  1. Under “Products and releases” choose what architecture and Office Suite you require, how often you want Office to update - I recommend the “Monthly Enterprise Channel”, and which apps to include or exclude.
  2. For “Language” either choose specific languages or “Match Operating System”.
  3. Under “Installation options” you should choose “Local source” and enter the “Source path” of: Z:\Applications\[Your-Office-Install] as this will be where the files are stored in MDT. Z:\ is automatically mapped to %deployroot% during an MDT Task Sequence.
  4. For the “Update and upgrade” options this will depend on whether you plan on Office updating from the internet on the systems once it is deployed, or if you want to have a central Office update on the local network (maybe using my Office Update Utility), or if you are using Config Manager.
  5. For the Upgrade options, these can be disabled as we will be installing office as part of a clean build of Windows.
  6. Under “Licensing and activation” you will need to set “Automatically accept the EULA” to enabled, set any product keys if required and choose what type of activation you need.
  7. For “General” provide your Company name and a description for this config file. I tend to use a brief list of the config choices for future reference.
  8. Under “Application preferences” you can set any specific preferences that you require.
  9. When you are happy with your config file, click “Export” and you will be prompted to choose the “Default File Format”. I generally choose the “Office Open XML formats”.
  10. Finally, accept the terms in the license agreement, enter a file name and download the file.

Downloading the Office installation files

  1. First download and extract the Office Deploy Tool (ODT) from Microsoft to a new folder. The included example XML files can be deleted.
  2. Put your XML config file in the same folder as the Office Deploy Tool.
  3. Make a copy of your XML config file and edit one of them.
  4. Edit the “SourcePath” near the top of the file to point to a location on your local drive, for example: SourcePath="C:\Users\sysadmin\Downloads\ODT" and then save it.
  5. Open a command prompt and change directory to the folder that contains the Office Deploy Tool and your config XML file.
  6. Run the following command to download the Office files: setup.exe /download [your-edited-config.xml]
  7. A new folder called “Office” will be created and the installation files will be stored there.

Importing the Office installation files into MDT

  1. Copy the entire folder containing the Office Deploy Tool, your config files and the Office folder to your MDT Applications folder.
  2. Rename the folder so it matches what you entered for the Source path when you created the config file on the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center website.
  3. Go to the MDT Deployment Workbench and open “Applications”.
  4. Right-click on “Applications” and click “New Application”.
  5. Choose “Application without source files or elsewhere on the network” and click Next.
  6. Enter an Application name and click Next.
  7. For the “Command line:” enter the following: setup.exe /configure [your-config.xml]
  8. For the “Working directory:” enter the following: .\Applications\[Your-Office-Install] and then click Next.
  9. Finally on the summary screen click Next and then Finish.

After importing the installation files you will now be able to install Office as part of a Windows deployment Task Sequence like any other application.

Group Policy ADMX Files for Office

The ADMX files for Office are backwards compatible with previous versions of Office back to Office 2016 and they can be downloaded here.

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