Updated: June 4, 2013
Summary: Provides deployment planning information for Office 365 ProPlus, including a comparison of Office 365 portal and on-premises deployment methods.
Applies to: Office 365 ProPlus
Audience: IT Professionals
There are two basic ways that you can deploy Office 365 ProPlus in your organization:
A. Have users install Office 365 ProPlus directly from the Office 365 portal.
B. Download the Office 365 ProPlus software to your local network and then deploy it to your users.
Which deployment method you use depends on what's most important for your organization. For example, to install from the Office 365 portal requires the least amount of administrative setup, but gives you less control over the deployment.
If you want more control over your deployment, download the Office 365 ProPlus software to an on-premises location, such as a local network share. You can then control the following:
Where on the network Office 365 ProPlus is installed from.
How Office 365 ProPlus is updated after it is installed.
Which computers Office 365 ProPlus is installed on.
Which users, if any, get the 64-bit version of Office 365 ProPlus.
Which languages are available to install.
Also, by downloading Office 365 ProPlus to your local network, you can use many of the same tools that you already use to deploy and configure other versions of Office. For example, you can use System Center Configuration Manager to deploy Office 365 ProPlus. For more information about the different ways that you can deploy Office 365 ProPlus, see Deployment methods for Office 2013.
Whichever deployment method you use, Office 365 ProPlus is installed and runs locally on the user's computer. Office 365 ProPlus is not a web-based version of Office. Users don't have to be connected to the Internet all the time to use it.
This article is part of the Content roadmap for deploying Office 365 ProPlus. Use the roadmap as a starting point for articles, downloads, and videos that help you deploy Office 365 ProPlus in your organization.
Are you looking for help with installing Office with Office 365? If you are looking for help on how to install and use Office 365 on your computer, phone, or tablet, see Get started with Office 365 and Install Office with Office 365.
Install Office 365 ProPlus from the Office 365 portal
Users can install Office 365 ProPlus for themselves directly from the Office 365 portal.
Users must be local administrators on their computers to install Office 365 ProPlus.
Users sign in to Office 365, and then browse to the software page. As shown in the following illustration, users can then select whether to install the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office 365 ProPlus and which language they want to install.
When a user selects Install, Office 365 ProPlus is streamed down from the Internet and installed on the user's local computer. The user has to remain connected to the Internet during the installation. When the installation is complete, the user doesn't have to remain connected to the Internet or signed in to the Office 365 portal.
You can point your users to Get started with Office 365 for assistance on how to install from the Office 365 portal.
If users install from the Office 365 portal, Office 365 ProPlus installs updates from Office 365 automatically in the background from the Internet. You can't change this behavior.
Also, if users install from the Office 365 portal, you can't control which computers they install Office 365 ProPlus on.
If you'd rather deploy Office 365 ProPlus only from an on-premises location, you can prevent users from installing Office 365 ProPlus from the Office 365 portal.
Deploy Office 365 ProPlus from an on-premises location
To deploy Office 365 ProPlus from an on-premises location, such as a local network share, you'll have to use the Office Deployment Tool to download the Office 365 ProPlus software from Office 365. The Office Deployment Tool is available on the Microsoft Download Center.
The Office Deployment Tool makes use of a Configuration.xml file. This file contains the instructions for what Office software to download from Office 365. For example, in the Configuration.xml file, you can specify which language files to download or that you want to download the 64-bit version of Office 365 ProPlus. For more information, see Download Click-to-Run for Office 365 products by using the Office Deployment Tool.
After the Office 365 ProPlus software is downloaded to your network, you can deploy Office 365 ProPlus to your users in many ways. For example, if you are already using Group Policy computer startup scripts to deploy Office, you can use them to deploy Office 365 ProPlus. For information about the different ways that you can deploy Office 365 ProPlus, see Deployment methods for Office 2013.
Whichever deployment method you use, you also use the Office Deployment Tool and a Configuration.xml file to do the installations. The Configuration.xml file is used to specify information needed to install Office 365 ProPlus on the user's computer. For example, you specify such things as the following:
Where the Office 365 ProPlus software is located on your network — for example, a network file share.
How Office 365 ProPlus is updated after it is installed — for example, automatically from a location on your network.
Which version of Office 365 ProPlus to install — for example, the 32-bit version.
Which languages to install — for example, English and Spanish.
For a list of all configuration options, see Reference for Click-to-Run configuration.xml file.
For more information, see Deploy Click-to-Run for Office 365 products by using the Office Deployment Tool.
Additional planning information for Office 365 ProPlus deployments
Whichever deployment method you use, the following information can help you plan your Office 365 ProPlus deployment:
32-bit versus 64-bit version
Other Office products
System requirements for Office 365 ProPlus
Make sure that the computers on which Office 365 ProPlus is being installed meet the supported system requirements. Office 365 ProPlus can be installed only on the following operating systems:
Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server 2012 R2
32-bit versus 64-bit version of Office 365 ProPlus
Office 365 ProPlus is available in a 32-bit and a 64-bit version. We recommend that you deploy the 32-bit version, even on computers that have 64-bit operating systems. If you think you need the 64-bit version, carefully review the information about 64-bit editions of Office 2013 before you deploy.
If users install from the Office 365 portal, be sure to tell them which version to install.
Licensing for Office 365 ProPlus
Each user has to have a user account and password with which to sign in to Office 365. To install Office 365 ProPlus, users must also be assigned an Office 365 license.
You can deploy Office 365 ProPlus on up to five different computers with a single Office 365 license. An Office 365 license is assigned to a specific user. For example, with a single Office 365 license, a user can have Office 365 ProPlus installed on a computer in the office, on a laptop to use when traveling, and on a home computer.
For more information, see Overview of licensing and activation in Office 365 ProPlus.
Activation of Office 365 ProPlus
Activation occurs automatically the first time a user runs Office 365 ProPlus. Activation requires Internet connectivity.
Users don’t need to be connected to the Internet all the time to use Office 365 ProPlus. However, users must connect to the Internet at least once every 30 days. This is so the status of their Office 365 subscriptions can be checked. If users don’t connect within 30 days, Office 365 ProPlus goes into reduced functionality mode. After users connect to the Internet and their subscription status is verified, all the features of Office 365 ProPlus are available again.
For more information, see Overview of licensing and activation in Office 365 ProPlus.
Group Policy with Office 365 ProPlus
You can use Office-specific Group Policy settings to create and enforce standard configurations for your Office 365 ProPlus installation. These settings can be applied to users and computers that are in an Active Directory domain. For Office 365 ProPlus, you can use the same Group Policy settings that you use with other versions of Office. These Group Policy settings apply whether Office 365 ProPlus is deployed from the Office 365 portal or from an on-premises location.
For more information, see Overview of Group Policy for Office 2013.
Click-to-Run and Office 365 ProPlus
Office 365 ProPlus uses a new technology called Click-to-Run to install Office. Click-to-Run provides a significantly faster installation, so users can be up and running Office 365 ProPlus in a matter of minutes. Whichever deployment method you use, Click-to-Run technology installs Office 365 ProPlus on the local computer.
Virtualization deployments of Office 365 ProPlus
You can deploy Office 365 ProPlus to a virtual desktop, but the virtual desktop must be assigned to a single user.
To use Remote Desktop Services, you must use a volume license version of Office Professional Plus 2013, which is available on the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). The Office programs that are included with Office Professional Plus 2013 are the same programs that are included with Office 365 ProPlus. For more information, see Microsoft Volume Licensing Product Use Rights.
Other Office products in Office 365
Project, Visio, and SharePoint Designer are not included with Office 365 ProPlus, but are available in some Office 365 subscriptions. If those programs are part of your Office 365 subscription, you can use the same deployment methods discussed in this article.
June 04, 2013
Revised and updated with new art.
July 16, 2012