The Office 365 Install Toolkit is a downloadable tool provided by Microsoft that packages an Office 365 client installation into a single executable or MSI package file. You can then use the package file to deploy new Office installations to your client computers, manage existing installs, or uninstall Office applications from clients.
Note, this is a different process than deploying Office 365 ProPlus from a network share. Personally, I prefer to just deploy from a network share. In the comments for this blog post below, there’s reports of people having trouble getting the MSI/GPO deployment to work. I rarely encounter problems with distributing from a network share, so you might like to consider that option instead.
The Install Toolkit can be downloaded from the Office 365 ProPlus Configuration XML Editor site, under the Tools section on the left column of the page. The page refers to Office 365 ProPlus but the Install Toolkit can also be used to create and manage installers for the Office 365 for Business SKU, as well as Visio and Project.
After downloading and launching the Installation Toolkit you’ll be presented with the options to either:
- Create a new Office 365 ProPlus installer
- Import an existing Office 365 ProPlus installer
- Manage your local Office 365 ProPlus installation
For this tutorial let’s look at creating a new Office 365 ProPlus installer. On the Products screen of the Install Toolkit we have the choice to deploy 32-bit or 64-bit, and can also choose the channel to install. For this demonstration I’ll use 32-bit and the First Release Current channel.
The next step is to choose which languages to include in the installation package. After you’ve selected languages, you’ll be asked to specify a version number to use for the install package. If you want to create a package for a specific build of Office you can enter it in the Install Toolkit at this stage. A full list of the Office build history is available on the Microsoft Support site. If you don’t specify a build number, the Install Toolkit will download the latest build for the channel you selected.
You can also specify a remote path where you would like the Office install logs to be written to, and then choose the source path where the downloaded Office 365 ProPlus files will be stored.
Next, select which applications in Office 365 ProPlus you want to include or exclude. When using the Install Toolkit the item “Lync” applies to “Skype for Business”, and “Groove” applies to “OneDrive for Business”.
Next, the Office 365 ProPlus files will be downloaded to the path that you specified. At this stage you can select multiple editions and channels if you know that you will be building additional install packages for different channels later. Each channel will be saved in a sub-folder of the download path that you specified. In the Advanced options you can also choose whether multiple channels can be downloaded at the same time, depending on whether you have adequate bandwidth for the task. When you’re ready to download the files, click the Download button and wait for all the downloads to complete before you move on to the next step.
Next, configure how you want to handle updates. If you leave the update path blank, clients will update directly from Microsoft. The update path can also be a UNC or HTTP path on your network. If you need to change this setting later for clients you can do so using Group Policy. For this demonstration I’ll leave updates enabled, and allow clients to download updates from Microsoft directly.
The Additional Options screen of the Office 365 ProPlus Install Toolkit lets you further customize the install package. You can click on the information icons next to each one for a full explanation. For this demonstration no changes are required, because I’m planning to deploy the MSI package using Group Policy to Windows 10 clients.
Now it’s time to generate the installer. For this demonstration I’m using an MSI file, and specified a file path of “W:\Installs\Office365ProPlus\MSI\OfficeProPlus-FRCurrent.msi”. I have also chosen to embed the Office installation files so that the MSI is a single, self-contained installer.
When you’re ready, click the Generate button to produce the MSI file.
When you have the MSI file generated (or the EXE if you prefer) you can then deploy the Office 365 applications to your users’ computers using whichever software deployment mechanism you have available to you, for example by using Group Policy or Configuration Manager.