Overview of the Office Customization Tool

The Office Customization Tool creates the configuration files that are used to deploy Office in large organizations. These configuration files give you more control over an Office installation: you can define which applications and languages are installed, how those applications should be updated, and application preferences. After creating the configuration files, you can use them with the Office Deployment Tool to deploy a customized version of Office.

Note

The Office Customization Tool is part of the deployment process for installing Office on hundreds or thousands of computers. To follow this process end-to-end, we recommend completing the assessment and planning phases for your Office deployment. If you're not an enterprise administrator and are looking to install Office 365 in your home or business, see Install Office with Office 365.

Get started

To work with the service, go to Office Customization Tool and choose the products, languages, and application settings you want to configure. For example, you can create a configuration file that downloads the 64-bit English version of Office 365 ProPlus, or you can create a file that installs the 64-bit English and German version of Office without Access and Publisher and with the EULA automatically accepted. When you're done, you export the configuration file, which you can then use with the Office Deployment Tool or another software distribution solution to deploy Office in your organization.

Note

If you use System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch) to deploy Office, we recommend using the Office 365 Installer wizard in the Configuration Manager console. That wizard includes a customized version of the Office Customization Tool. For more details, see Deploy Office 365 ProPlus with System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch).

Create a configuration file

Follow these steps to create a configuration file that can be used by the Office Deployment Tool or another software distribution solution to install Office. Note that a product and language must be selected before you can export the configuration file.

  1. Go to Office Customization Tool.
  2. In the General section, type your organization name and a description for this particular configuration. For example, you might want to use this file to install the 64-bit version of Office for your finance department.
  3. In the Product and releases section, choose the architecture you want to deploy. Each configuration file can only deploy one architecture. For details on which architecture to choose, see Choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office.
  4. Choose the products and applications you want to deploy, and then click Add. Note that you can create a package that includes Office, Visio, and Project by selecting each and adding them separately.
  5. Choose the update channel you want to deploy. The update channel determines how frequently your client devices are updated with new features. For best practice recommendations, see Step 3 - Choose your update channels.
  6. Choose which version you want to deploy. Unless you require a particular version, we recommend choosing the latest. For details on previous versions, see Update history for Office 365 ProPlus.
  7. In the Language section, choose which languages to include. You can include multiple languages and you can select Match operating system to automatically install the same languages that are in use on the client device. For more details, see Overview of deploying languages in Office 365 ProPlus.
  8. In the Installation section, choose whether to install the Office files directly from the cloud or from a local source on your network. For more details, see Choose how to deploy.
  9. Choose whether to display the installation from your end users and whether to pin the Office icons to the taskbar. For more details on these options, see Display element and PinIconsToTaskBar property.
  10. In the Update and upgrade section, choose whether to install updates directly from the cloud, from a local source on your network, or with Configuration Manager. If you want to update your client devices automatically, choose CDN and Automatically check for updates. For best practice recommendations, see Choose your update channels.
  11. Choose whether to automatically upgrade from 2013 versions of Click-to-Run versions of Office, whether to automatically remove all MSI-versions of Office, and whether to automatically install the same language as the removed MSI-version of Office. For more details, see Install the same languages from a previous MSI installation.
  12. If you are deploying a volume-licensed version of Office, Visio, or Project, specify the appropriate license key in Licensing and activation settings. Note that Office 365 ProPlus is not volume licensed and does not require a KMS or MAK activation. For more details, see Overview of volume activation of Office.
  13. Choose whether to automatically accept the EULA.
  14. In the Application preferences section, choose what settings to apply when deploying Office. You can search for a setting, filter the settings by Office app, and learn more about each setting by clicking it and reviewing the detailed description.
  15. Click Finish, review the configured settings in the righthand pane, and then click Export.
  16. Accept the terms in the license agreement, name the confguration file, and then click Export.
  17. You can now use the configuration file in your deployment workflow with the Office Deployment Tool or another software distribution solution.

Edit an existing configuration file

Follow these steps to import and edit an existing configuration file.

  1. Go to Office Customization Tool.
  2. Click Import, and then select the configuration file you want to edit.
  3. Change the settings you want, and then export the updated file.

Define application preferences

As part of the Office Customization Tool, you can define application prefences for Office 365 ProPlus, including VBA macro notifications, default file locations, and default file formats. When you define these preferences, you can apply them as part of deploying Office or you can apply them to an existing installation of Office without changing any other deployment settings. For more details, see Apply application prefences and Apply application preferences to an existing installation of Office.