Editor’s Note 2/9/2016:
Based on customer feedback, we’ve changed how we refer to our update branches. The name changes are as follows:
- Current Branch is now called Current Channel
- Current Branch for Business is now called Deferred Channel
- First Release for Current Branch is now called First Release for Current Channel
- First Release for Current Branch for Business is now called First Release for Deferred Channel
Only the names are changing. The servicing model for each of these channels remains the same. We are in the process of updating our content, so you will continue to see the previous naming during this transition.
Last month, we started a community project to help IT pros with Office client deployments using PowerShell to streamline the process. For more details, see Office Deployment Scripts for IT Pros. A month later, it’s time to check in on some of the new developments with this project. As a reminder, all of the scripts are available on our GitHub repository and released under the MIT license.
For starters, we’ve added a folder structure to help IT pros to find useful scripts quickly and easily. We’ve divided all scripts into different categories including:
By grouping similar scripts together, it’s easier than ever for you to find the one you need.
We’ve also added a wiki to the repository that contains useful information designed to provide context for using these scripts in real-world situations. The wiki is your go-to source for all information related to Office IT pro deployment scripts. It holds information explaining completed scripts, upcoming scripts and general information around contributing to the project. So if you are interested in learning about the scripts that are available or learning how to run different scripts, you will now find all of that information in the wiki.
But it’s not all housekeeping; here are some of the new additions to the project.
Office 365 ProPlus Configuration XML Editor
The Notepad is either your tool of choice or a last resort for editing XML files, but without the red squiggly lines we have come to love in Office. If you have ever accidentally typed </congifuration> then the web editor for the Office ProPlus Click-to-Run Configuration.xml file is for you. This web page provides a graphical method to generate and edit the Office Click-to-Run Configuration.xml file.
The Click-to-Run for Office 365 Configuration.xml file is used to specify Click-to-Run installation and update options. The Office Deployment Tool includes a sample Configuration.xml file that can be downloaded. Administrators can modify the Configuration.xml file to configure installation options for Click-to-Run for Office 365 products.
The Click-to-Run Configuration.xml file is a necessary component of the Office Deployment Tool. Click-to-Run customizations are performed primarily by starting the Office Deployment Tool and providing a custom Configuration.xml file. The Office Deployment Tool performs the tasks that are specified by using the optional properties in the configuration file. For the Office 2016 release of the product, administrators can download the Office Deployment Tool from the Microsoft Download Center. We also took advantage of the awesome new Office UI Fabric project to hide our IT professional design sensibilities.
Reverse engineer your configuration
The Generate-ODTConfigurationXML PowerShell script queries the existing configuration of the target computer and generates the Configuration.xml file for Click-to-Run for Office 365 products. This XML is used with the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) to deploy Office Click-to-Run products. This script dynamically generates a Configuration.xml file to either install new or modify existing Office Click-to-Run deployments. This script is particularly useful when trying to deploy Office 365 ProPlus in environments where different languages are required. It allows you to dynamically configure Office based on the languages that are currently in use on the computer. More information can be found in the README.
Putting it all together
The Deploy-OfficeClicktoRun solution uses several scripts from the GitHub repository to create a complete solution to deploying Office Click-to-Run. The solution uses the Generate-ODTConfigurationXML function to generate the Configuration XML based on the current configuration of the user’s computer. It then uses the Edit-OfficeConfigurationFile functions to modify the Configuration XML to the desired state. Finally, it will utilize the Install-OfficeClicktoRun to install or modify Office Click-to-Run.
There are several examples in the folder that show different approaches:
- Example Script 1: ExampleDeployGeneric.ps1—Provides an example on how to use the deployment scripts in one script to provide a solution for deploying Office Click-to-Run.
- Example Script 2: ExampleDeployWithOfficeFilter.ps1—Provides an example on how to use the deployment scripts in one script to provide a solution for deploying Office Click-to-Run, which includes an example on providing custom configuration based on the location of the workstation in Active Directory.
More information can be found in the README.
Fallback to the CDN for updating mobile PCs
The Update-Office365Anywhere function is designed to provide a way for Office Click-to-Run clients to have the ability to update themselves from a managed network source or from the Internet, depending on availability of the primary update source. Setting the Office Click-to-Run update source to a local network source reduces the Internet traffic. However, mobile workers, who may not be in the office, may not get their PC updated. This script detects if the configured update source is available, and if it isn’t, it will update from the Internet. The script also has the ability to monitor the progress of the update and block the script from exiting until the update has completed. More information can be found in the README.
We strongly recommend that you check back often, as the existing scripts continue to evolve and new scripts are added on a regular basis. We would also like to hear from you on some of the current challenges you face with deployment and how we might be able to help by automating steps. Feel free to post your feedback and ideas on the Office 365 Network.
As a reminder, anyone is welcome to contribute to the Office IT Pro deployment scripts GitHub project, but we ask that you clone the Development branch to create a feature branch where you can make changes to existing scripts or create new ones. Information on contributing to the project can be found in this README.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up on the latest with this project. We hope that you will take advantage of these scripts and help us continue to improve on what is out there.
—Alistair Speirs, senior operations program manager for the Office Deployment team