Until today, Windows desktop administrators would use notepad or an equivalent text editor to compile various XML statements to define the Office edition, feature update frequency, version, language and other number of available settings. This somewhat tedious task, in most cases, would result in installation errors from fouled up manual entries or copy-and-paste actions into the text editor.
With the new Office Customization Tool, desktop admins can leverage the rich user interface that intuitively shows all available options to build the desired Office configurations. The configuration tool groups the commonly used settings in the following categories:
software & language
installation & update
licensing & display
Each of these areas provide admins with options to help meet their security and regulatory needs.
One of our favorite additions, is the configuration builder. Desktop admins can quickly see a list of all configuration settings being chosen on the right-hand side of the screen, giving the desktop admin a quick and easy way to see the result of their selections without jumping through multiple screens.
When all the desired settings have been selected, desktop admins are provided with the option to download the resulting configuration.xml file which is to be used in conjunction with the Office Deployment Tool for the settings to take affect during installation time of the Office 365 client.
Desktop Admin also have an option to upload any previously configured XML files to the configuration tool and modify them with new or existing settings.
For those of you who are familiar with the old Win32 Office Customization Tool which came with your perpetual (MS Installer) bits, you’ll notice the new customization tool has a lack of install-time user preferences. Over the next several months we will be enhancing the tool to enable desktop admins to select many configurable user preferences that are currently being offered with the perpetual counterpart. We encourage you to try out the new Office Customization Tool which is available in preview today, by clicking on the link or typing http://config.office.com in your browser. Send us feedback and let us know what you think by using the send a smile feature, located on the top right of the web application.