Cloud Computing

Using Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Tool

In the first part of this two-part article series on Office 365 Pro Plus, I started by explaining what Office 365 ProPlus is, followed by a quick walkthrough of the Click-To-Run installation approach. While the super-easy click-to-run install is very useful for home offices or SMB-segment customers, it is not the most advised deployment approach for larger organizations. Another concern companies of such size have is control. The IT department wants to define who should get the Office 365 Pro Plus components installed and who not. That’s where the integration between the Office 365 Pro Plus cloud-based installation and your existing deployment solution can come together. Today I’ll discuss how to use Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Tool.

Office 365 ProPlus and the Office Deployment Tool

The magic tool behind this integration is the Office Deployment Tool. It’s actually a small exe-file, that allows you to do the following:

  • Download the Office 365 Pro Plus install files from the Microsoft cloud.
  • Deploy, uninstall and update by using command-line script (*).
  • Create a package file that you can reuse in App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization engine).

(*) the command-line based install allows you to integrate with about any existing corporate deployment tool you might already have:

  • Active Directory Group Policy software application deployment
  • Integrate as task sequence in MDT 2012/2013 (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit)
  • Create an application package you can publish from SCCM 2012 / 2012 R2
  • Create an installation command-line sequence in ANY OTHER tool you are using. I’ve heard of successful deployments out of LanDesk, Altiris, etc.), so it is not at all only possible by using Microsoft tools.

Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run

In this section, I will demonstrate the different possibilities from the Office Deployment Tool.

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Office Deployment Tool

  • Browse for a folder where you want to save the exe-file (e.g. c:\ODT).
  • Run the setup.exe tool from an admin command prompt.

Office Deployment Tool Run setup.exe

  • Now, as you can see, the missing component is the [configuration file] for each of the different options we can specify. Microsoft makes it already a bit easy for you, by providing a sample configuration.xml file. When opening this file, the content looks like this:

<!--  <Add SourcePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" OfficeClientEdition="32" >

<Product ID="O365ProPlusRetail">

<Language ID="en-us" />


<Product ID="VisioProRetail">

<Language ID="en-us" />


</Add>  -->

<!--  <Updates Enabled="TRUE" UpdatePath="\\Server\Share\Office\" /> -->

<!--  <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />  -->

<!--  <Logging Name="OfficeSetup.txt" Path="%temp%" />  -->

<!--  <Property Name="AUTOACTIVATE" Value="1" />  -->


Check out this Technet document for all possible configuration parameters.

While this is not a requirement as such, my personal best practice is to create separate XML-files for my different setup.exe options, allowing me to have control of the different steps. For example, I’ve created the following XML-files in my demo environment:

  • Download.XML
  • Install.XML
  • Package.XML

The contents look like this:

Sample Install.xml Sample Download.xml
<Configuration><Add SourcePath=”C:\Data\” OfficeClientEdition=”32″ ><Product ID=”O365ProPlusRetail“><Language ID=”en-us” /></Product><Product ID=”VisioProRetail”><Language ID=”en-us” /></Product>


<Updates Enabled=”TRUE” />

<Display Level=”None” AcceptEULA=”TRUE” />

<Logging Name=”OfficeSetup.txt” Path=”c:\temp” />


<Configuration><Add SourcePath=”c:\data” OfficeClientEdition=”32″ ><Product ID=”O365ProPlusRetail“><Language ID=”en-us” /></Product><Product ID=”VisioProRetail”><Language ID=”en-us” /></Product>


<Logging Name=”OfficeSetup.txt” Path=”C:\Temp” />



The fields marked in red may need some explanations.

C:\Data – This is the location where I save the Office 365 Pro Plus install files

Product ID – This parameter define the different install packages and applications I want to install; as you can see, Visio Professional is also available as part of the subscription

Logging Name – While this parameter is optional, it is very interesting in the beginning to troubleshoot possible issues during the download of the deployment itself.

Download the Install Files with Setup.exe

Assuming you have created a download.xml file, based on my example input, you should now run the following command: Setup.exe /download c:\ODT\download.xml

 Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Toolkit  download install file

The install files are now stored in the C:\Data folder, as was configured in my download.xml file.

In fact, that’s the only thing you have to do to allow deployment in the next step.

Custom Deployment Command Line Script

In this step, I want to show you how easy it is to actually “deploy” the Office 365 Pro Plus. Only thing you need is a command line script, which is actually comprised of the following syntax: C:\ODT\setup.exe /configure install.xml

That’s it! By using this command line, you can integrate your deployment in Active Directory Group Policy software deployment, using the same parameter settings in MDT 2012/2013, or any other deployment tool you have. It’s even possible to perform a manual installation from a PC in your network, by connecting to the shared folder: \\deploymentserver\ODT<sharedfolder>\setup.exe /configure install.xml

Create an Application Virtualization (App-V package) – Optional

If you are already using application virtualization in your enterprise environment today, the last setup switch parameter will be very welcome to you. The /packager parameter allows you to create an App-V package on-the-fly. This package can then be deployed from within App-V or published as an App-V package from within SCCM 2012 for example.

The command line might look similar to this:

C:\odt\setup.exe /packager c:\odt\package.xml c:\data\O365package

The only main difference between the other earlier commands is this one needs an output directory, which is the location where the App-V package will be created.

This process will take about 15 minutes, depending on your hardware resources, showing the following processes.

 Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Toolkit

 Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Toolkit

 Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Toolkit

When the process is successfully completed, the end result are the App-V packages in the specified directory (e.g. c:\data\O365Package in my example).

 Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Toolkit app-v

This package is all you need to import in your App-V Manager. And you’re done!

That’s about it for this second part of the article, I hope you liked it and can make use of it in your own environment.

Until next time!


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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Using Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Deployment Tool”

  1. Hi Koenraad, thanks for following Petri and reading my article. About your question: Within Office 365 Pro Plus, licensing (and thus activation) is done on per-user level. First step is setting a flag within the 365 portal, actually linking the license to a specific user. Once Office 365 Pro Plus software is installed on the device, activation process will ask for a cloud account to complete activation. Once every 30 days, the activation check runs again in background. If, for some reason the check can’t run (eg. 6 weeks without internet…) applications will run with reduced functionality.

    Please see below article for more details from the Official Microsoft source:

  2. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your useful article. We are in the process of migrating Office 2010 clients to Office 365. I am aware of using OCT (Office Customization Tool) for customizing office 2013. Is there any way to use this along with office 365? OCT tool generates a MSP file, which is installed along with the updates for Office 2013. Will it work with Office 365? Is there any guidance around this?


    • Hi Karthik, thanks for your nice comments on the article. Could you maybe clarify a bit more what you mean by “Office 365” in your description? If you refer to the Office 365 ProPlus (actually ), I think my article here is the way forward to deploy it in your environment. By customizing the deployment xml files, you can tune it to your requirements. When the ProPlus version is installed on a client, it activates using a cloud account for that user + updates will be installed automatically from the cloud.
      Let me know if this answers your question. if not, feel free to respond with additional information.

  3. Great post! I’m wondering though, does the download portion normally take forever? I’m not seeing the “downloading file…” bits in the cmd prompt and the log hasn’t shown up yet. It seems to just hang for a really long time unless I ^C to cancel it. There are a few files that show up in the download location but I have no idea if they are partial files or if there is more to come.

    • I figured it out, not sure why but mine didn’t tell me what it was doing as it did it. I just had to be patient. Thanks for the great guide!

      • Jon,
        thanks for the nice words on this post. I was about to reply to you to try another download. To be honest, it happened to me as well already, even live on stage when doing a demo. Relaunching the download has always solved my issue… but you found it yourself.

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