Learn how to use the Office Deployment Tool to create App-V 5.0 SP2 packages for volume license versions of Office 2013. This post comes courtesy of our resident Click-to-Run/Office deployment expert, Jeremy Chapman.

Announcing App-V 5.0 SP2 Support for Office 2013 Volume Licensing Editions

Corresponding with the release of App-V 5.0 SP2, we have updated the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run to enable creation of Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office Standard 2013 App-V packages. Until now, App-V could only be used with Office 365 ProPlus or previous Office releases.

These updates allow administrators to use Office 2013 Volume Licensing (VL) editions in order to activate Office with Key Management Services (KMS), Active Directory-based activation, or Multiple Activation Key (MAK) activation types. App-V provides a highly-manageable experience for delivering Office VL editions and Office 365 ProPlus, including support for installation in Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments and the ability to de-select components from the Office suite at install time.

Detailed guidance can be found in the Virtualizing Microsoft Office for Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 solution, but in this blog I’ll explain the high level steps with screenshots along the way.

How-to Download and Create App-V Packages with the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run

In order to use Office 2013 VL packages with App-V 5.0 SP2, the steps have changed compared to previous versions of Office. The default installation type in Office 2013 uses Click-to-Run packaging, which incorporates many of the aspects of App-V 5.0, but does not require App-V infrastructure or a local App-V client to work. Due to the package similarities and all of the Windows integration work which has gone in to making Click-to-Run the default installation type for Office 2013, App-V package creation begins by converting a Click-to-Run package into an App-V package. This means you do not start by using the Windows Installer Package (MSI) of Office 2013.

Quick Steps
   1. Download and install the new Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run updated November 25, 2013 or later.
   2. Download the required Office Click-to-Run packages and languages
   3. Convert the downloaded Office Click-to-Run packages for use with App-V 5.0

Step 1 is self-explanatory, but steps 2 and 3 require some additional explanation. Once you have downloaded and installed officedeploymenttool.exe, it will place a setup.exe and a configuration.xml file into the directory where it was downloaded. In order to download an Office Click-to-Run package, you will need to modify the configuration.xml file to something like:

<Configuration>
  <Add OfficeClientEdition="32" >
    <Product ID="ProPlusVolume">
    <Language ID="en-us" />
    </Product>
  </Add>
</Configuration>

More information about configuration.xml options can be found on TechNet.

You will notice that the Product ID I’m using is “ProPlusVolume” instead of the default “O365ProPlusRetail.” The truth is that both Product IDs may be used for the download step, as they both download edition-agnostic packages. To download the Click-to-Run package files, you can open Command Prompt and use the following syntax:

SETUP /DOWNLOAD [path to configuration file]

The process will download around 1GB of package files or more if you download multiple languages.



Now you have the required files to convert them into an App-V package. The conversion (Step 3 above) when used for creating the App-V package for Volume Licensing editions will require the Product ID in the configuration.xml file to be “ProPlusVolume”, “StandardVolume”, “VisioProVolume” or “ProjectProVolume”. If you used “ProPlusVolume” in step 2, you can reuse the same configuration.xml file for converting the Click-to-Run package into an App-V package. Now from an elevated Command Prompt, you can use the following syntax:

SETUP /PACKAGER [path to configuration file] [output path]

This process runs around 3-4 minutes and will open a second CMD window and run a process called flattener.exe. Flattener.exe essentially removes the Click-to-Run standalone installation elements from the Office package and prepares the package for use with App-V.



Once this process is finished, you will have created a subfolder in your [output path] called “AppVPackages” and that will contain the files required to import Office into App-V.



You can now use the Deployment Configuration file to configure the Office installation. One question I often get is, “How do I disable msaccess.exe or infopath.exe from an Office install if I am not using the MSI package?” This can be done by modifying the Deployment Configuration file in App-V with entries like the following:

<Application Id="[(AppVPackageRoot}]\office15\MSACCESS.EXE" Enabled="false">
  <VisualElements>
    <Name>Access 2013</Name>
    <Icon />
    <Description />
  </VisualElements>
</Application>

That will prevent App-V from publishing msaccess.exe on the system and/or you can remove any undesired application shortcuts from publishing on the targeted computer using the shortcuts properties by deleting or commenting them out. Once you’ve configured your Deployment and User Configuration files, you’ll have everything you need to import the packages into your App-V environment to start testing.



Of course this just scratches the surface in terms of all the available configuration options and I would encourage you to check out the reference guides for the configuration.xml file included in the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run (linkto: http://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=36778) and the Virtualizing Microsoft Office for Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 guide. Also check out the Springboard blog from today for more news about App-V 5.0 SP2 and MDOP.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?
You need to run the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run in packager mode with the valid product IDs described above so that your App-V package is able to leverage Volume Activation, rather than Office 365 activation. The resulting package activates just like the Volume License MSI installation.

How will it be licensed?
So long as you are licensed for Volume License editions of Office 2013 - including Project and Vision - and have the rights to use Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0, you will be able to take advantage of this capability.

Click-to-Run versions of Office can be downloaded using the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run, but for this solution you need to use a Volume License version of Office which is normally downloaded from the VLSC. In this case, we're using the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run and what appears to be public installation files. How does that work?
You are only using the Click-to-Run media and packager mode to create an App-V package – this then allows you to use App-V with Volume Activation instead of standalone Click-to-Run and user-based subscription activation to deploy the Office 2013. Because this option uses Volume Activation, you need to be licensed for the Office Volume Licensing edition you’re using and use activation keys from the VLSC along with KMS, MAK or AD-based Activation to activate Office.

Can I still use this approach for Office 365 ProPlus?
Yes, the steps above are identical to those used with Office 365 ProPlus, but remember that Office 365 ProPlus activates against the Office 365 service. Other than that, the only difference would be with the Product ID configuration.xml properties used with the /packager mode described in Step 3 above. The Product ID would remain the default “O365ProPlusRetail”.

Can I use other versions of Office 2013 products, like Office Standard 2013, Project or Visio?
Yes, you can use App-V to deliver Volume License or Office 365 versions of Office, including Office 365 ProPlus, Office Professional Plus 2013, Office Standard 2013, Project Pro for Office 365, Project Professional 2013, Visio Pro for Office 365 or Visio Professional 2013.

How will Volume License customers get the Click-to-Run media? Don’t they need to sign-in to the Volume Licensing Service Center portal?
The Office Deployment Tool is a free download and can be run in /download mode to download the Office Click-to-Run media locally. Once you have downloaded the Click-to-Run media, you can then convert it into an App-V package using packager mode for the Office edition you want.

Can I use this approach without App-V to install Office Professional Plus 2013 or other Volume Licensing editions using Click-to-Run?
No, in order to install a Volume License version of Office, you can only use the Windows Installer Package (MSI) or the App-V approach described in this blog. Standalone Click-to-Run installation of VL Office editions is not supported, nor does it technically work.

Who really gets to benefit from this?
We are offering this capability for existing Office Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance for Windows and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). These organizations may use their App-V environments or System Center Configuration Manager 2012 with SP1 to deploy Volume License editions of Office. Some organizations, such as military or certain law enforcement agencies, may not be able take advantage of cloud-based Organizational IDs required to implement the best client productivity option – Office 365 ProPlus. In those cases, organizations can get a subset of the deployment benefits of Click-to-Run, but give up most of the premium experience, user-based licensing benefits and ability to roam between devices included with Office 365 ProPlus.

Will this method work also for other remote or virtualization solutions, such as Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or Citrix XenApp?
Yes, App-V may be used with RDS. There is also upside for Office 365 customers who use Click-to-Run with Office 365 ProPlus along with RDS or Citrix XenApp, as they will only need to support one base package with shared software updating routines. So you do not need to validate both monthly Click-to-Run builds and MSP updates.

Can I use App-V to select only critical MSP software updates so I can delay non-critical updates until an Office Service Pack releases?
No, App-V uses the Click-to-Run cumulative update process and will consume those builds. Updates are typically released on a monthly basis in alignment with Patch Tuesday. MSP servicing does not apply to this process and there is no way to separate critical from non-critical updates. All cumulative update builds containing at least one critical update are cumulatively-defined as critical updates.

If I use the App-V approach with Volume License packages, do the support terms from the Volume License media apply or are do support terms from Office 365 ProPlus apply?
The support terms will remain consistent based on the Office edition you have purchased. For VL editions of Office, the VL terms will apply. When Office 365 ProPlus is used, Office 365 ProPlus terms will apply. When future versions of Office are available, Office 2013 Click-to-Run packages will continue to receive updates. Remember all perpetual consumer versions of Office all use Click-to-Run, so Office 2013 Click-to-Run installs will continue to be serviced.

I am a subscriber to Office 365 ProPlus and use the Volume Licensing exception now to deploy Office Professional Plus 2013 to valid subscribers using Office via Remote Desktop Services (RDS). Can I use App-V for this?
Yes, as long as you have the rights to use App-V and the consuming users are valid Office 365 ProPlus subscribers, you may use this approach to deliver Office Professional Plus 2013 to RDS servers. It accounts for one of the Office 365 ProPlus user’s five permitted installs. To qualify for this temporary exception as documented in the Product Use Rights, your organization will have had purchased Office 365 ProPlus through Volume Licensing.

By using the Click-to-Run media to convert to an App-V package for Office deployment, do you get the same benefits as Office 365 ProPlus? What are some of the differences?
Office 365 ProPlus is designed to give users optimized Office experiences on all of their devices of choice and connect users to their content and personalized settings wherever they sign in – across PCs, phones and browsers. Office 365 ProPlus is the premier version of Office and will also entitle users to exclusive capabilities and technologies not included in Office Professional Plus 2013. The gap between features available to Office 365 ProPlus users and the lower Office Professional Plus 2013 edition will also continue to widen in the future. The following table represents a short list of benefits for Office 2013 VL delivery using App-V compared Office 365 ProPlus benefits.

Feature

Office 2013 VL with App-V

Office 365 ProPlus with App-V

Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run

5 installs per user on PCs or Macs

No

Yes

Yes

Roaming Settings and links to recent files when moving between devices

No

Yes

Yes

Rights to activate Office Mobile for iPhone and Office Mobile for Android Phones

No

 

Yes

Yes

Side-by-side installation with previous versions of Office

Yes

Yes

Yes

Includes rights to upgrades to future Office versions

No (requires Software Assurance)

Yes

Yes

Ability to de-select components from the Office suite, such as Access or InfoPath

Yes

Yes

No

May be used with or without persistent connection to the Internet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Full-featured Office with integration with other applications, add-ins, and Windows

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ability to extend Office with locally-installed add-ins and dependent apps

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ability to deploy add-ins and other dependent components using App-V with Connection Groups

Yes

Yes

No

Exclusive Office 365 ProPlus features, such as Office Mobile and Power Map for Excel

No

Yes

Yes

Requires App-V or System Center Config Mgr infrastructure

Yes

Yes

No

May be used with enterprise software distribution to perform push deployment

Yes

Yes

Yes

User-based activation tied to Office 365 – requires once per month connection to the Internet

No

Yes

Yes

Volume Licensing support and ability to perform offline activation with KMS and AD-based activation or online using Multiple Activation Keys (MAK)

Yes

No

No