FAQ: Group Policy (Office 2010)


Applies to: Office 2010

Topic Last Modified: 2011-08-05

Banner stating end of support date for Office 2010 with link to more info

Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Group Policy and Microsoft Office 2010.

Q: When should I use Group Policy instead of Office Configuration Tool (OCT)?

A: Although both Group Policy and the OCT can be used to customize user configurations for the Microsoft Office 2010 applications, each is used for a specific configuration scenario.

  • Group Policy is recommended for settings that you want to enforce. Group Policy is used to configure Office 2010 policy settings that are contained in Administrative Templates. The operating system enforces those policy settings. Many settings have system access control list (SACL) restrictions that prevent non-administrator users from changing them. In some cases, the settings can be changed by users. See True policies vs. user preferences for more information.

  • OCT is recommended for preferred or default settings only. The OCT is used to create a Setup customization file (.msp file). Administrators can use the OCT to customize features and configure user settings. Users can configure most of the settings after the installation.

Q: Where can I download the Office 2010 Group Policy administrative template files?

A: The administrative template files are available for download on the Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool download page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=189156).

Q: Is there a separate download for different language versions of the administrative template files?

A: All supported language versions are included in a single download package. The supported languages are as follows: Chinese Simplified (People’s Republic of China), Chinese (Hong Kong SAR), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. You install the localized files by using the procedures that are described in the question “Q: How do I install the Office 2010 Group Policy templates?” later in this article.

Q: Where can I find a list of Group Policies that are available for Office 2010?

A: Refer to the Microsoft Excel 2010 workbook Office2010GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings_Reference.xls, which is available in the Files in this Download section on the Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool download page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=189156).

You can download Group Policy-related documentation from the Group Policy for Microsoft Office 2010 download page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=204009).

Q: What is the difference between the two workbooks Office2010GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings_Reference.xls and Office2010GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings.xls?

A: Always use Office2010GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings_Reference.xls. This workbook is more up-to-date and is available for separate download on the Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool download page (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=189156).

The workbook Office2010GroupPolicyAndOCTSettings.xls is integrated into the Group Policy templates download package and is now out-of-date.

Q: What is the difference between .adm, .admx, and .adml administrative template files?

A: These files are designed for use with specific operating systems on the computer that you use to manage Group Policy settings.

  • The .adm files can be used by administrative computers that are running any Windows operating system.

  • The .admx and .adml files can be used by administrative computers that are running at least Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008. The .adml files are the language-specific versions of .admx files. The .admx files hold the settings, and the .adml files apply the settings for the specific language.

You can find more information about .admx files in the Managing Group Policy ADMX Files Step-by-Step Guide. (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=164569)

Q: Do the Office 2010 .admx template files work with the 2007 Office system? Or must I download the 2007 Office system template files separately?

A: You must use the template files that match the version of Office that you are deploying. We do not recommend that you use the Office 2010 template files to configure the 2007 Office system.

Q: How do I install the Office 2010 Group Policy templates?

A: Step-by-step instructions for starting Policy Management Console (GPMC), creating a Group Policy Object (GPO), and loading Office 2010 Administrative Templates to a GPO are provided in the topic Use Group Policy to enforce Office 2010 settings. The topic describes two locations for storing Group Policy templates:

  • In an Administrative Templates central store in the Sysvol folder of the domain controller

  • In the PolicyDefinitions folder in the local computer

You can find more detailed information about creating a central store in Scenario 2: Editing Domain-Based GPOs Using ADMX Files (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=207184).

If you want to take a quick look at the templates on your local computer, follow these steps after you download the template files:

To view the .admx and .adml template files on a computer that runs Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2

  1. Copy the .admx and .adml files to the PolicyDefinitions folder in the local computer as follows:

    1. Copy the .admx (language-neutral) files to this location: %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions (for example, C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions)

    2. Copy the language subfolders that contain the .adml (localized) files to this location: %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions\. For example, to use the French version of the administrative templates, copy the fr-fr folder to %systemroot%\PolicyDefinitions.)

  2. Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc, and then click OK.

  3. Expand Administrative Templates (under Computer Configuration and User Configuration) to view the Office 2010 policies.

To view the .adm template files on a computer that is running any Windows operating system

  1. Open the gpedit.msc console, right-click Administrative Templates in the Computer Configuration or User Configuration node, and then select Add/Remove Templates.

  2. Click Add and locate the folder on your computer where you stored the .adm files.

  3. Select the templates that you want in the language of your choice, click Open, and then click Close. The .adm files are displayed under the respective Administrate Templates nodes in a subnode called Classic Administrative Templates (ADM).

Q: How can I map a specific UI element in Office 2010 to a Group Policy setting?

A: Although it has not been updated for Office 2010, a list of 2007 Office system Group Policy settings and associated user interface settings is available as a downloadable workbook. The workbook also provides the associated registry key information for user interface options that are managed by Group Policy settings, and indicates the locations of the Office 2003 user interface elements (such as toolbars and menus) in the 2007 Office system user interface for Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Click the following link to view and download the Office2007PolicySettingsAndUIOptions.xlsx workbook: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=106122.

Q: How can I use Group Policy to disable commands and menu items?

A: You can use Group Policy settings to disable commands and menu items for Office 2010 applications by specifying the toolbar control ID (TCID) for the Office 2010 controls. You can also disable keyboard shortcuts by setting the Custom | Disable shortcut keys policy setting and adding the virtual key code and modifier for the shortcut. A virtual key code is a hardware-independent number that uniquely identifies a key on the keyboard. A modifier is the value for a modifier key, such as ALT, CONTROL, or SHIFT.

To download a list the control IDs for built-in controls in all applications that use the Ribbon, visit Office 2010 Help Files: Office Fluent User Interface Control Identifiers.

For more information, see Disable user interface items and shortcut keys in Office 2010

Q: Why does Microsoft not support the use of Group Policy Software Installation to deploy Office 2010?

A: Using the Software Installation extension of Group Policy is not supported in Office 2010 because of changes to the Office setup architecture and customization model. If you have an Active Directory environment, you can use a Group Policy computer startup script as an alternative. Group Policy computer startup scripts provide solutions for organizations that need an automated way to deploy Office_2nd_CurrentVer to many computers but who do not have desktop management applications, such as Microsoft System Center Essentials or System Center Configuration Manager or a third-party software management tool.

For more information, see Deploy Office 2010 by using Group Policy computer startup scripts. For information about all Office deployment methods, see Deploy Office 2010.

Q: What are the advantages and limitations of deploying Office 2010 using Group Policy computer startup scripts?


  • A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer. Windows Script Host-supported languages, such as VBScript and JScript, and command files are the most common.

  • Scripts take advantage of Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Group Policy infrastructure.

  • AD DS handles the elevation of rights that are required for application installation.

  • Administrators can use a similar scripting process to apply updates and service packs for each computer in the domain or organizational unit.

  • A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer, such as VBScript and JScript, provided they are Windows Script Host-supported languages.


  • Group Policy invokes the script and has limited awareness of the installation status afterward.

  • Product uninstalls and installs for multiple computers have to be done by using a command-line script or batch file.

  • It might be difficult to determine exactly which updates and service packs were applied to each client computer.