What's new in Office deployment for IT Pros

This article lists new features, tools, and articles for IT Pros who deploy Office in the enterprise. For a list of Office deployment articles that have been changed over the last several weeks, see Content updates. For details on Office announcements and plans, see the Microsoft 365 Roadmap.

July 2020

End of support resources

We've published the following new articles to provide information about end of support events related to Office.

You can download and print the Office configuration support matrix to use as a reference.

To discuss or learn more about end of support for Office versions, visit Microsoft Office End of Support on the Microsoft Tech Community.

June 2020

Update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps renamed

The names of the update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps have changed. For example, Monthly Channel is now named Current Channel and Semi-Annual Channel is now named Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. To learn more, including what actions you might need to take, see Changes to update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps.

May 2020

Introduction of Monthly Enterprise Channel

A new update channel for Microsoft 365 Apps is now available: Monthly Enterprise Channel. This update channel provides new Office features once a month, on the second Tuesday of the month. These once-a-month updates will also include, as needed, security updates and non-security updates.

You can deploy Monthly Enterprise Channel just like you would any other update channel. For example, by using the Office Deployment Tool, Group Policy, or Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.

For more information, see Overview of update channels for Microsoft 365 Apps.

April 2020

Office 365 ProPlus renamed

Office 365 ProPlus has been renamed to Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, starting with Version 2004. To learn more, including what actions you might need to take, see Name change for Office 365 ProPlus. In our documentation, we'll usually just refer to it as Microsoft 365 Apps.

Best practices articles

We've published two new best practice articles from the field:Choose how to install Microsoft 365 Apps and Choose how to deliver updates for Microsoft 365 Apps.

Viewer mode

Viewer mode allows unlicensed users of Microsoft 365 Apps to view and print Office files without being prompted to activate Office. To use viewer mode, you must have version 1902 of Microsoft 365 Apps or later. To enable viewer mode, your organization must have an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 license subscription. For more information, see Overview of viewer mode.

March 2020

We're starting to publish best practice articles from Microsoft experts in the field who work with enterprise customers to deploy Office. The first article is now live: Build dynamic, lean, universal packages for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.

November 2019

After deploying Microsoft 365 Apps, you can change the update channel for a device by using Group Policy or the Office Deployment Tool (ODT). For example, you can move a device from Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel to Monthly Enterprise Channel. We've published a new article that covers how to change the update channel. For more information, see Change the Microsoft 365 Apps update channel for devices in your organization.

October 2019

Privacy controls for Office on iOS devices

Starting with Version 2.30 of the Office apps for iOS, there are new preference settings that allow you to control settings related to diagnostic data and connected experiences. For more information, see Use preferences to manage privacy controls for Office on iOS devices.

September 2019

General availability of Security Policy Advisor

Security Policy Advisor is now generally available. You can use Security Policy Advisor to receive and implement security policy recommendations that are based on Microsoft best practices and information about your existing environment. Security Policy Advisor can only be used in combination with the Office cloud policy service.

For more information, see this blog post and Overview of Security Policy Advisor for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.

Windows 7 end of support and Microsoft 365 Apps

Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. Using Microsoft 365 Apps on older, unsupported operating systems may cause performance and reliability issues over time. Therefore, if your organization is using Microsoft 365 Apps on devices running Windows 7, we strongly recommend your organization move those devices to Windows 10.

Even though Windows 7 is longer supported, we've decided to continue to provide you with security updates for Microsoft 365 Apps for the next three years, until January 2023. For more information, see Windows 7 end of support and Microsoft 365 Apps.

Delivery Optimization and Microsoft 365 Apps

Delivery Optimization is a peer-to-peer distribution technology available in Windows 10 that allows devices to share content, such as updates, that the devices have downloaded from Microsoft over the internet. Delivery Optimization can help reduce network bandwidth because a device can get portions of the update from another device on its local network instead of having to download the update completely from Microsoft.

Microsoft 365 Apps on devices running Windows 10 can take advantage of Delivery Optimization during installation and when receiving updates, if certain requirements are met. For more information, see Delivery Optimization and Microsoft 365 Apps.

Security baseline for Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft has announced the final release of the recommended security configuration baseline settings for Microsoft 365 Apps, version 1908. For more information, see this blog post.

August 2019

Privacy controls for Office for Mac

Starting with Version 16.28 of Office for Mac, there are new preference settings that allow you to control settings related to diagnostic data and connected experiences. For more information, see Use preferences to manage privacy controls for Office for Mac.

July 2019

Microsoft Teams and existing installations of Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft Teams will be added to existing installations of Microsoft 365 Apps, starting with Version 1906 in Current Channel. For more information, see Deploy Microsoft Teams with Microsoft 365 Apps.

Create and manage your deployment configurations in the cloud

You can now use the Office Customization Tool to create, save, and manage your deployment configurations in the cloud. When you run the Office Deployment Tool, you can reference these configurations directly. For more information, see Overview of the Office Customization Tool.

Security baseline for Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft has announced the draft release of the recommended security configuration baseline settings for Microsoft 365 Apps, version 1907. For more information, see this blog post.

Set a deadline for updates from Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU)

Starting with version 4.13 of Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU), you can set a deadline for when updates are required to be installed on a user's device. For more information, see Set a deadline for updates from Microsoft AutoUpdate.

June 2019

Comparison of application compatibility and readiness assessments tools

Are you trying to figure out whether to use the Readiness Toolkit, readiness features in Configuration Manager (current branch), or Office Telemetry Dashboard? For recommendations, see Overview of application compatibility and readiness assessment tools for Microsoft 365 Apps

April 2019

Use the MigrateArch attribute to change Microsoft 365 Apps from 32-bit to 64-bit

It's now easier to change an existing installation of Microsoft 365 Apps from 32-bit to 64-bit. You can use the MigrateArch attribute in a configuration.xml file along with the Office Deployment Tool. The migration process will preserve existing products, languages, and other deployment settings.

For more information, see Change a Microsoft 365 Apps installation from 32-bit to 64-bit.

General availability of Office cloud policy service

The Office cloud policy service (OCPS) is now generally available. OCPS is a cloud-based service that enables you to enforce policy preferences for Microsoft 365 Apps on a user's device, even if the device isn't domain joined or otherwise managed. The policy preferences roam to whichever device the user signs into and uses Microsoft 365 Apps.

For more information, see Overview of the Office cloud policy service for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.

Preview of Security Policy Advisor

Security Policy Advisor is now available for public preview. You can use Security Policy Advisor to receive and implement security policy recommendations that are based on Microsoft best practices and information about your existing environment. Security Policy Advisor can only be used in combination with the Office cloud policy service.

For more information, see Overview of Security Policy Advisor.

Privacy controls for Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft is committed to providing you with the information and controls you need to make choices about how your data is collected and used when you're using Microsoft 365 Apps.

Starting with Version 1904, there are new, updated, and improved privacy controls for diagnostic data and connected experiences. For more information, see Overview of privacy controls for Microsoft 365 Apps.

Use SQL Server with the Readiness Toolkit

The Readiness Toolkit now supports storing report results in a SQL Server database. If you use SQL Server, you also get a Power BI report, instead of an Excel workbook. For more information, see Use SQL Server to store report results.

March 2019

Language deployment for Microsoft 365 Apps continues to improve. For best practices on using the Office Content Delivery Network (CDN) as a backup, matching languages to your operating system or existing installation of Office, and deploying only language packs or proofing tools, see Overview of deploying languages for Microsoft 365 Apps.

February 2019

Microsoft Teams will be installed for new installations of Microsoft 365 Apps, starting with Version 1902 in Current Channel. For more information, see Deploy Microsoft Teams with Microsoft 365 Apps.

January 2019

Public preview of Office client policy service

A public preview is now available for the Office client policy service, which is a cloud-based service that enables you to enforce policy preferences for Microsoft 365 Apps on a user's device, even if the device isn't domain joined or otherwise managed. The policy preferences roam to whichever device the user signs into and uses Microsoft 365 Apps.

For more information, see the following resources:

Office for Mac available in the Mac App Store

Office apps, such as Word and Outlook, are now available from the Mac App Store. Most require an Office 365 (or Microsoft 365) subscription to activate. You can use a supported enterprise mobility management (EMM) tool to deploy these apps to your users. For more information, see Deploy Office for Mac from the Mac App Store.

October 2018

The Office Customization Tool is now generally available. The OCT makes it easy to customize your deployment of Microsoft 365 Apps and other Click-to-Run Office products. Instead of building the configuration files in a text editor, you can now use this simple web-based interface. Go directly to the tool or read more about it here.

When installing language packs, you can save network bandwidth by installing only proofing tools. For more information, see Deploy proofing tools and Languages, culture codes, and companion proofing languages.

For best practices on deploying Microsoft 365 Apps with Configuration Manager, see our new article.

September 2018

Office 2019 is the latest version of Microsoft's productivity software that's available as a one-time purchase from a retail store or through a volume licensing agreement. Office 2019 is separate from Office that's available through Office 365 (or Microsoft 365) plans. For example, if you've deployed Microsoft 365 Apps to the users in your organization, you don't need Office 2019. You already have all the features, and many more, that are included in Office 2019. For more information, see Overview of Office 2019 and Deploy Office 2019.

August 2018

Version 1.2 of the Readiness Toolkit was released, with new functionality to conceal folder and file name info collected in the scan and the ability to capture add-in usage info. For more information, see Use the Readiness Toolkit to assess application compatibility for Microsoft 365 Apps.

July 2018

You can now use the Office Deployment Tool to apply application preferences to Microsoft 365 Apps as part of an initial deployment or as an update to existing installations of Office. For more information, see Apply application preferences to Microsoft 365 Apps.

June 2018

To help you uninstall versions of Office that use Windows Installer (MSI) as the installation technology, you can now use the Office Deployment Tool and specify the RemoveMSI element in your configuration.xml file. For more information, see Remove existing MSI versions of Office when upgrading to Microsoft 365 Apps.

For best practices for planning your deployment of Microsoft 365 Apps, see Assess your environment and requirements for deploying Microsoft 365 Apps and Plan your enterprise deployment of Microsoft 365 Apps.