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Overview of Office Telemetry

Office 2013

Published: November 27, 2012

Summary: Learn about Office Telemetry, the new compatibility monitoring framework that works with Office 2013, Office 2007, and Office 2003.

Applies to:  Office 365 ProPlus | Office 2013 

Audience: IT Professionals

Office Telemetry is a new compatibility monitoring framework that can speed up Office deployments by helping you discover business-critical Office documents and solutions in your organization. In this article, you can learn more about the tools that work with Office Telemetry, the kinds of documents and solutions that are monitored, and how telemetry data is collected. You can also learn about navigating the dashboard and managing add-ins and privacy settings.

Many of the sections in this article are based on the Telemetry in Office 2013 poster, which you can view online or download from the Download Center.

Thumbnail image of the Office Telemetry poster
Important Important:

This article is part of the Content roadmap for Office 2013 compatibility. Use the roadmap as a starting point for articles, downloads, scripts, and videos that help you assess Office 2013 compatibility.


Are you looking for compatibility information about individual Office 2013 applications? You can find this information by searching for "2013 compatibility" on Office.com.

In this article:

What is Office Telemetry?

Office Telemetry is a new compatibility monitoring framework that replaces the Office 2010 compatibility tools Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM), Office Code Compatibility Inspector (OCCI), and Office Environment Assessment Tool (OEAT). When you use Office Telemetry as part of the modern Office compatibility process, which is described in the Assess Office 2013 compatibility, it helps you minimize the time that you spend assessing Office compatibility. It also reduces the risks of an Office upgrade.

Office Telemetry in Office 2013 works as follows: When an Office document or solution is loaded, used, closed, or raises an error in certain Office 2013 applications, the application adds a record about the event to a local data store. Each record includes a description of the problem and a link to more information. Inventory and usage data is also tracked.

How does Office Telemetry work in earlier versions of Office? Office Telemetry is new for Office 2013, so it’s not built into Office 2003, Office 2007, and Office 2010. For those clients, you deploy an agent that collects information about the installed add-ins and the most recently used documents. You won’t get application event data for these clients like you do with Office 2013 clients, but you'll get inventory and usage data that helps you discover what is being used and likely important to your business.

If you have questions about how to use Telemetry Dashboard, you can submit your questions in the Office 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus - Planning, Deployment, and Compatibility forum on TechNet. You can read blog posts about Telemetry Dashboard in the Office IT Pro blog.

Office Telemetry tools and components

You can view telemetry data by using two new tools: Telemetry Dashboard for Office 2013 and Telemetry Log for Office 2013. The following table describes these tools:

Office Telemetry tools

Tool Description
This icon represents the Telemetry Dashboard.

Telemetry Dashboard:

  • Shows IT Pros a combined view of inventory and telemetry data

  • Requires Excel 2013

  • Is installed with Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus

  • Connects to the telemetry database

  • Can be viewed by multiple IT Pros

This icon represents the Telemetry Log.

Telemetry Log:

  • Helps developers and experienced users diagnose compatibility issues that occur on an Office 2013 client

  • Requires Excel 2013

  • Is installed with Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus

  • Connects to the local data store on the client


The following table describes the components of Office Telemetry. The first two components shown below are required for both Telemetry Log and Telemetry Dashboard. The remaining components that are listed are applicable only to Telemetry Dashboard. These components collect telemetry data from across an organization so that you can view it by using Telemetry Dashboard. To learn how to deploy these components, see Deploy Telemetry Dashboard and Plan for Telemetry Dashboard topology and hardware.

Office Telemetry components

Component Description
This icon represents Telemetry Logging.

Telemetry logging:

  • Monitors events for (and is built into) Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, and Outlook 2013

  • Is disabled by default

  • Is enabled by using Group Policy, registry settings, or by selecting the Enable Logging button in Telemetry Log

  • The resulting telemetry data can be viewed on the local computer by using Telemetry Log

This icon represents the Telemetry Agent.

Telemetry Agent:

  • Reports usage and inventory data for all Office clients

  • Reports application event data for Office 2013 clients

  • Must be deployed to Office 2003, Office 2007, and Office 2010 clients

  • Is built into Office 2013 clients

  • Must be enabled using Group Policy or the registry

  • Runs as a scheduled task, except on Windows XP

  • Requires domain membership

  • Periodically uploads data to a shared folder

This icon represents Group Policy settings.

Group Policy settings:

  • Enable and configure the Telemetry Agent on each client

  • Are part of Office15.admx and Office15.adml

  • Are located under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office 2013\Telemetry Dashboard

  • Can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center

This icon represents Shared Folders in Office Telemetry.

Shared folder:

  • Stores telemetry data that is uploaded by Telemetry Agents

  • Must be on premises (no cloud support)

  • Can be located on the same computer as other telemetry components

  • Is configured when you install the Telemetry Processor

This icon represents the Telemetry Processor.

Telemetry Processor:

  • Uploads data from the shared folder to the telemetry database

  • Runs as a Windows service named “Office Telemetry Processor”

  • Is supported on Windows Server 2008 and later versions

  • Can be run on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 in test or small environments

  • Can be run on the same computer as other telemetry components

  • Can be installed on multiple computers for large deployments

  • Requires domain membership unless a workaround is used

This icon represents the Telemetry Database.

Telemetry database:

  • Provides a data source for Telemetry Dashboard

  • Requires SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, or SQL Server 2012

  • Can be run on SQL Express editions in test or small environments

  • Can be run on the same computer as other telemetry components

Document and solution types that Office Telemetry monitors in Office 2013

The following table lists the document and solutions that Office Telemetry monitors in Office 2013.

Document and solution types that are monitored in Office 2013

Type Office Applications Description

Active Documents

Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013

Active documents are any Office document files that are not included in the other solution types that are listed in this table. This can include the following:

  • Office binary format files (.doc, .ppt, .pps, .xls)

  • Office OpenXML format files (.docx, .pptx, .ppsx, .xlsx)

  • Macro-enabled files that contain VBA code (.docm, .dotm, .pptm, .potm, .xlsm, .xltm)

  • Files that contain ActiveX controls

  • Files that have External Data Connections

COM add-ins

Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013, Outlook 2013

COM add-ins include Microsoft Office development tools in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 application-level add-ins.

Excel Automation add-ins

Excel 2013

This solution type includes earlier versions of Excel-supported Automation add-ins, which are built upon COM add-ins. Functions in Automation add-ins can be called from formulas in Excel worksheets.

Excel XLL add-ins

Excel 2013

XLL add-ins (.xll) are specific to Excel and are built with any compiler that supports building DLLs (dynamic-link libraries). They do not have to be installed or registered. XLL add-ins also include DLLs that contain user-defined commands and functions.

Excel XLS RTD add-ins

Excel 2013

XLS real-time data (RTD) add-ins are Excel worksheets that use the RealTimeData worksheet function to call an Automation server to retrieve data in real-time.

Word WLL add-ins

Word 2013

WLL (.wll) add-ins are specific to Word and built with any compiler that supports building DLLs.

Application add-ins

Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2013

Application add-ins are application-specific files that contain VBA code. These include macro-enabled Word templates (.dotm), Excel add-ins (.xla, .xlam), and PowerPoint add-ins (.ppa, .ppam).

Templates

Word 2013

Templates include document (.dot, .dotx), worksheet (.xlt, .xltx), or presentation (.pot, .potx) templates that are attached to an Office file.

apps for Office

PowerPoint 2013 Excel 2013, Word 2013, Outlook 2013

These are apps for Office that are hosted in a task pane, content, or email within the client application. To learn more, see Overview of apps for Office 2013.

How telemetry data is collected

The following table describes and illustrates how data collection is triggered and the flow of data between the Telemetry Agents and Telemetry Dashboard. You can view a more detailed diagram in the Office Telemetry poster.

Steps in the data collection process

Step Description

Users log on and trigger the Telemetry Agent scheduled task

Users log on and trigger the agent.

Users log on and trigger the scheduled task that uploads telemetry data. The agent waits 10 minutes for logon processes to complete, and then the agent waits for a random number of minutes, up to 4 hours, before it starts the upload process.

After the initial upload, the agent uploads telemetry data every 8 hours. Mobile or offline clients upload data when users log on when the connection is restored.

To learn how to configure the upload interval for Telemetry Agents, see Enabling and configuring Telemetry Agent.

Telemetry Agents send data to the shared folder

Telemetry agents send data to the shared folder

In this image, Telemetry Agents for all versions of Office collect the following data to upload to the shared folder:

  • Most recently used documents

  • Registered add-ins

  • System and user information

Telemetry Agents for Office 2013 also collect the following data for certain Office 2013 applications:

  • Application events

  • Add-in performance

Here are the approximate data upload sizes (in KB) for Telemetry Agents. These sizes can vary.

  • Office 2003, Office 2007, and Office 2010: 50 KB per upload

  • Office 2013: 64 KB per upload

To learn more about the kinds of data that are uploaded and how to manage user privacy for this data, see Manage privacy settings in Telemetry Dashboard.

Telemetry data is processed to the database

Data is processed to the database

After the agents upload data to the shared folder, the Telemetry Processor imports the data to the telemetry database.

The shared folder, Telemetry Processor, and telemetry database can run on the same computer or on different computers. You can find more information in Plan for Telemetry Dashboard topology and hardware.

IT Pros access telemetry data by using Telemetry Dashboard

IT Pros access data by using Telemetry Dashboard

IT Pros who are granted permissions to the telemetry database can use Telemetry Dashboard to view the combined data. To learn more, see To grant other administrators permission to access the telemetry database.

Navigating in Telemetry Dashboard

After all components are deployed and you connect Telemetry Dashboard to the telemetry database, new worksheets are added to display telemetry information about documents, solutions, and other information. The navigation pane on the left side of the Telemetry Dashboard window is the primary way to navigate through the worksheets in the dashboard. You can also use the navigation pane to change the data range and label filters. The following video shows how to navigate in the dashboard.

Short video about Telemetry Dashboard navigation

Video (play button) icon


To learn more about the worksheets in Telemetry Dashboard, visit these resources:

Managing add-ins by using Telemetry Dashboard

If an add-in is crashing or takes a long time to load, you can disable the add-in for all Office 2013 clients. Use the Add-in management worksheet to generate a Group Policy Object script that sets the configuration state of add-ins that are used with Office 2013. The following screen shot displays the Add-in Management worksheet.

User interface for managing add-ins in Telemetry Dashboard

This screenshot displays the Add-in Management worksheet from the Office Telemetry Dashboard.


By using the Group Policy Administrative Templates, you can also create lists of managed add-ins and optionally block any add-in that isn’t on the list. Users can’t override these settings unless you allow them to.

For more information about how to manage Office add-ins by using Telemetry Dashboard, see Let’s manage add-ins using Telemetry Dashboard.

Managing privacy settings in Telemetry Dashboard

Telemetry Dashboard displays the file names and titles of documents in each user’s Most Recently Used list, which might reveal personal or confidential information about the user or organization. The names of add-ins and other solutions that are used by Office are also displayed. In Manage privacy settings in Telemetry Dashboard, you can learn about Telemetry Dashboard settings that help you protect user privacy by disguising file names and titles or by preventing data for selected applications or solutions from being reported.

The following image provides a quick overview of the three methods that Telemetry Dashboard provides to help you protect user privacy.

Three ways to configure privacy settings in Telemetry Dashboard

This diagram illustrates the 3 methods offered by the Office Telemetry Dashboard to protect user privacy.
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