In this blog post, our desktop specialist hosts Jeremy Chapman and Yoni Kirsh, walk us through the differences between the Click-to-Run and MSI-based Office versions, the new IT Pro capabilities, and the premise of the new Office including a demo of user based multi-device support.

Add a reminder to your calendar to tune in each Wednesday 9am PST:

Jeremy: Welcome, so if you have not seen yet, we just made available the new commercial service for Office with Office 365 ProPlus. Consumers have had access to the new Office for little under a month now, with much fanfare. But not to be outshined and to break tradition of just posting a 50-page whitepaper that you print out and read to cure occasional insomnia (although we have that, too) we decided to launch a brand new weekly show dedicated to desktop IT professionals everywhere, called the Garage Series. In fact we built from scratch ourselves the 32 different demos that you’ll see during this season.  If we can’t do the things that we show you ourselves, you can bet that we won’t stand in front of you and talk about it.

Each week we will be addressing the toughest questions around manageability, configuration, user provisioning, data access, security and much more. Additional resources on each show topic will be offered weekly, too, on this blog. See our trailer for a taste of what’s in store.

Yoni: We’ll go deeper on managing and configuring Office as we move through the show series but for today’s  kick-off show we explain the two versions of Office: the MSI-based Office Professional Plus 2013 and the  Click-to-Run-based, Office 365 ProPlus; speak to the chief architect for the setup and roaming settings experience, John Jendrezak, who discusses the genesis of the new Office which is now connected to the user versus the device; Jeremy demonstrates user based multi-device support and I show you installation and coexistence of a highly-customized Office 2010 with the new Office showing side-by-side capability and shared customizations. 

Jeremy:  As we discuss on the show, there are two primary packaging types for the new Office - Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus. Both share many of the same traits - both are local installs and the same extensibility, both use the same Group Policy templates, both can be monitored and managed with new Office Telemetry features and both share the same application experiences. Both package types share most of the same controls and we'll cover that in depth in March 13th's episode.

Office 365 ProPlus builds on the culmination of several technologies – from application streaming to services – to enable new user and administrative experiences to support Office as a Service. Unlike previous iterations of Office application suites, Office 365 ProPlus enables users to get to rich Office experiences quickly on any Windows 7 or newer PC and have their files and personalized settings follow them from PC to PC. Office is now connected by the person using Office, not by the device – that means each user can install Office on the computers they own or use (up to five installs across PCs and Macs).

You would have seen in my multi-device demo that I used mostly Windows based devices but I could have equally used non-windows based devices to log into SharePoint to access my files from the browser using Office Web Apps. We are actually doing more than just roaming the most recently used document list in this demonstration. We are roaming:

  • Links to recent places (http file paths)
  • Last reading position in Word document
  • Last viewed slide in PowerPoint
  • Custom dictionary (all apps)
  • Office theme, background and user picture (all apps)

These settings are loaded into the Office applications as the applications launch. Because the files (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, notes, etc.) themselves are not roaming and we are just injecting a tiny amount of information as the apps launch, there isn’t a measurable impact on performance.

Another thing to note is that the Office 365 ProPlus installation does not require you to uninstall or upgrade from previous Office versions, instead it streams Office down to you PC alongside your existing Office applications. Streaming enables you to start using Office in a fraction of the time needed for older generation Office installations – you can use Office while it continues to stream in the background.

Yoni:  Yes, so I hope that you like what you saw in terms of the side-by-side installation. It’s now a lot faster to get users up and running and as you saw there’s no need to re-build the configuration – Ribbon and settings just port over. Net result, it’s faster for you to provision as the IT Pro and your end users get to have all their customizations making it much easier for them to transition to the new experience. Office 365 ProPlus was designed to support existing extensibility models for Office, including Object Model APIs, Web services and protocols, VBA, Office Add-ins and document-level customizations. In fact, in side-by-side installations, Office 365 ProPlus will examine desktop application customizations existing from previous installations of Office and load those when Office 365 ProPlus programs are executed. Customizations are found in %AppData%\Local\Microsoft\Office such as OFFICEUI custom ribbon extensions and CUSTOMUI files.

And, if you tried the side-by-side installation in the preview timeframe and experienced Office versions fighting for default file associations, Microsoft updated the Office 2007 and 2010 client applications a few months back to avoid them running repair operations and winning default associations with each software update.


Jeremy: We also tackled some of the most common misconceptions today. Probably the one I hear the most, is the one that Yoni clarified, in that you actually have control over where your data resides with the Office 365 ProPlus just like any other local install of Office.  You can use it without storing your data in the Cloud if you want, but storing off the local drive enables you to roam from device to device like we saw in the demo. We'll cover these themes in more depth in episode 4, March 20th when we have Mark Russinovich on the show. Equally, we hope that you now know that whichever version of Office you choose, it’s still a local install, the bits stream and cache to your machine in the case of Office 365 ProPlus.

Yoni:  Exactly, as I found out, as the stunt guy for our XStream install segments where we put the new Office install through its paces in the Air, on Land and Water where there is no internet connectivity. In fact, next week we cover “Who moved my MSI” and our first XStream Install skydiving and test if we can install Office before our skydiver reaches the ground.

Jeremy: So see you next here on microsoft.com/garage. Also check out these additional articles and resources.

About the Garage Series hosts:

By day, Jeremy Chapman works at Microsoft, responsible for optimizing the future of Office client and service delivery as the senior deployment lead. Jeremy’s background in application compatibility, building deployment automation tools and infrastructure reference architectures has been fundamental to the prioritization of new Office enterprise features such as the latest Click-to-Run install. By night, he is a car modding fanatic and serial linguist. He first met Yoni Kirsh, founder of the Australian-based deployment services company Fastrack Technology, back in 2007 at a Microsoft customer desktop advisory council. Yoni's real-world experience managing some of the largest Client deployments for the Asia Pacific region has helped steer the direction of the new Office. Additionally, Yoni is an aviation enthusiast and pilot. Both Jeremy and Yoni are respected technical speakers and between them have over 20 years of experience in the deployment and management of Microsoft Office and Windows clients. They are also leading experts in the transition to Office as a service.