Upgrading to Office 2010 can be a big deal. This tool can help ease the process with customized installations.
Everybody works a bit differently. A quick look at how each employee has his or her computer configured will support that assertion. Moving from the familiar to the new can be somewhat traumatic, so if you’re eyeing a rollout of Office 2010, you should consider using the Microsoft Office Customization Tool (OCT). This free utility helps you create and configure personalized Office installations you can deploy to your users.
The OCT is included with Office 2010, but only volume-licensed editions, like Professional Plus and Enterprise. It doesn’t come with the retail versions. You can easily tell if your copy of Office qualifies by checking the installation disk or source folders. If you see a folder named Admin, then you've got a volume-license edition and can proceed with the OCT setup.
Microsoft first introduced the OCT with Office 2007. It replaced the Custom Installation Wizard, which was the customization tool for previous editions of Office. The OCT generates an MSP—a Windows Installer Patch file—that holds all of the options and settings that you specify.
Before running the OCT, you need to set up a network installation point for Office. Create a source folder for Office on a network share from which you typically deploy software (for example: \\server\share\office2010). Then copy the Office folders and files to that new folder.
To run OCT, open a command prompt to the new folder and type the command: setup.exe /admin. The Office Customization Tool will launch and ask you to create a new setup customization file or open an existing one. Choose to create a new one. From there, the tool will lead you screen by screen through a series of steps in which you select the various options for your Office install.
OCT breaks down the configuration into four distinct categories: Setup, Features, Additional Content, and Outlook. Setup offers the following subcategories:
Under Features, you’ll find the following subcategories:
Figure 1 The Office Customization Tool lets you create own your personalized Office installation.
Additional Content offers the following subcategories:
Finally, the Outlook category offers the following subcategories:
After you've customized the settings for each category, click on File | Save to save your settings as an MSP file. Then store it in the Updates subfolder of your Office 2010 folder on the network installation point.
If you need to tweak your settings before deployment, you can open the OCT using the setup.exe/admin command and point it to your existing MSP file. You can also create more than one installation of Office using the OCT and simply import the settings from one to the other. This can be useful if you need to create two different, but similar, installations.
After you've created your first MSP, open OCT and choose the option to create a new customization file. Click on File | Import and select your existing MSP. You can now tweak any settings and save your customizations as a new MSP file.
After you've tested the installation from your MSP file, you can deploy your customized copy of Office 2010 using whatever deployment tool you normally use. You don't need to point to the MSP file specifically. The Office setup will look for any patch files in the Update folder and apply those during the installation.
To learn more about using the OCT and see a detailed list of all available settings, check out Microsoft's Office Customization Tool TechNet web page.