Additional Microsoft 365 Apps Deployment Tools


Even though Intune offers a simple and easy approach for installing Microsoft 365 Apps on Windows and macOS devices other deployment options may be needed depending on your requirements.

If you need complete control of the Microsoft 365 Apps deployment, you can choose what deployment tool to use and whether to install the Office files directly from the cloud or from a local source on your network. You have the following options for preparing and deploying Microsoft 365:

  • Configuration Manager
  • The Office Deployment Tool
  • The Office Customization Tool
  • End-user installation

Configuration Manager

Configuration Manager is usually a good choice for organizations that already use it to distribute and manage software. Configuration Manager scales for large environments; enables extensive control over installation, updates, and settings; and has built-in features for deploying and managing Office.

Use the Office Deployment Tool

For organizations that don't have Configuration Manager but still want to manage their deployment, the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) can be used. You can use the ODT as a standalone tool or you can use it to download installation files that can be deployed using Intune or a third-party software deployment tool. In either case, the ODT provides rich control over installation, updates, and settings.

Use the Office Customization Tool

Another option is to use the Office Customization Tool. With this new web-based tool you can easily customize the deployment of Microsoft 365 Apps and other Select-to-Run managed Office products using a simple, intuitive, and web-based interface. The tool is an Azure-based cloud service which allows you to create XML configuration files that are used with the Office Deployment Tool. In the past, you needed to create the configuration files in Notepad or another text editor. The Office Customization Tool makes this part of the deployment process easier and less likely to introduce errors.

This tool provides a simple experience which allows you to create a configuration file for use with the Office Deployment Tool, for scenarios where you need to customize the installation of Microsoft 365 Apps. Common scenarios include:

  • Initial installation of Microsoft 365 Apps as well as Office 2019 suites, with the ability to include standalone products such as Visio and Project and various language packs.
  • Adding additional products after the initial installation of the Office suite.
  • Adding additional language packs by configuring a ‘Language Only’ configuration after the installation of the Office suite or standalone products
  • Standalone installation of Microsoft 365 Access Runtime.
  • Installation of volume licensed products with automatic KMS and MAK activation.
  • Automatic removal of previous MSI based Office products.

You can also use the Office Customization Tool to make changes to existing configuration files. This tool is useful when you need to modify the configuration of Office on devices that are already installed and configured or if you’re creating a second or third configuration and you want to use your own baseline. Simply use the Import option and select the configuration file you wish to modify, make the desired changes, and use the Export option to generate a new configuration file.

End-user installation

You can have your users install Microsoft 365 Apps on their client devices directly from the Microsoft 365 portal. This method requires the least amount of administrative setup, but gives you less control over the deployment. You can, however, still define how frequently your users receive feature updates. This option requires that your users have local administrative rights on their client devices.