Overview of Click-to-Run


Applies to: Office 365 ProPlus

Topic Last Modified: 2016-08-25

Summary: Provides an overview of and benefits of Click-to-Run, a streaming and virtualization technology that is used to install Office products.

Audience: IT Professionals

Click-to-Run is a Microsoft streaming and virtualization technology that reduces the time that is required to install Office and helps you run multiple versions of Office on the same computer. The streaming technology enables you to download and begin to use an Office product before the whole product is installed on your computer. The virtualization technology provides an isolated environment for Office to run on your computer. This isolated environment allows you to run the latest version of Office side-by-side with an earlier version of Office that is already installed on your computer.

This article is part of the Getting started guide for deploying Office 365 ProPlus for IT Professionals. Use the roadmap as a starting point for articles that help you deploy Office 365 ProPlus in your organization.
Are you looking for help with installing Office with Office 365? You may be looking for Get started with Office 365 and Install Office with Office 365, which will help you learn how to set up and use Office 365 on your computer, phone, and tablet.

In this article:

Click-to-Run is a Microsoft streaming and virtualization technology that you can use to install and update Office products. These streaming and virtualization capabilities are based on technologies in Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V). In Office 2010, Click-to-Run was available to consumer users only. In this new release, Click-to-Run supports large enterprise deployments.

Click-to-Run is an alternative to the traditional Windows Installer-based (MSI) method of installing and updating Office. If you install Office by using MSI, you have to wait until the whole Office product is installed before you can open and start to use the product. But with the streaming capabilities in Click-to-Run, you can open and start to use the product before the whole product is installed. While you are using the product, the rest of the product is being downloaded in the background. If you try to use a feature that is not yet downloaded and installed, Click-to-Run immediately downloads and installs that feature. This streaming capability resembles how you watch videos from the Internet. You can start to watch the first part of the video before the whole video downloads to your computer. For more information about the Click-to-Run setup process, see Overview of Click-to-Run for Office 365 setup architecture.

Click-to-Run products that you download and install from Microsoft are up-to-date from the start. You won’t have to download and apply any updates or service packs immediately after you install the Office product. By default, Click-to-Run products are configured to be updated automatically over time. Users don't have to download or install updates. The Click-to-Run product seamlessly updates itself in the background. You can view the update status of a Click-to-Run product in the Backstage view of the program.

After the product is completely downloaded and installed, users can disconnect from the network or Internet and continue to use the Office product. This is because the Office product is installed on the local computer. The Office product is not running from a server on the Internet or from a server on your local network.

Click-to-Run uses virtualization technology to run an Office product in a self-contained, virtual environment on the local computer. This isolated environment provides a separate location for the Office product files and settings to be stored so that they don’t change other applications that are already installed on the computer. This enables you to run the latest version of an Office product on the same computer as an earlier version of an Office product. For example, you can run Word 2013 and Word 2010 on the same computer. This capability can help you test the new version of an Office product without having to uninstall your existing Office product.

The following are some considerations about side-by-side installations:
  • As a best practice, you should only have one version of Office installed on a computer. For migration scenarios, we realize there might be a need to have multiple versions of Office on the same computer for a short period of time. We recommend that you uninstall the earlier version of Office as soon as possible after you’ve migrated to the latest version of Office.

  • The earlier version of Office that is already installed on the computer must be either Office 2010 or Office 2007.

  • The versions of Office that you install must be the same edition. For example, both installations of Office are the 32-bit edition.

Even though the Office product runs in a self-contained environment, the Office product can interact with the other applications that are installed on the computer. Macros, in-document automation, and cross-Office product interoperability will work. Click-to-Run is also designed to allow locally-installed add-ins and dependent applications to work with it. However, there is the possibility that some add-ins or other integration points with Office might behave differently or might not work when you are using Click-to-Run.

The following are some advantages to using Click-to-Run versions of Office products:

  • Faster to download and install. Start using a product before it has finished installing.

  • Up-to-date from the start and kept up-to-date automatically. No need to download and install updates manually.

  • Run different versions of Office products side-by-side on the same computer.

You can also use common software management tools and practices to manage and maintain Office products that use Click-to-Run. For example, you can do the following:

  • Download Office product and language files to an on-premises location and then deploy those products and languages to users by using a software distribution product, such as Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

  • Use Office-specific Group Policy settings to create and enforce standard configurations for users and computers. The Click-to-Run and MSI versions of Office products use the same set of Group Policy settings.

For more information about how to deploy Office from an on-premises location, see Determine the deployment method to use for Office 365 ProPlus.

Click-to-Run is available for the following products from Office 365:

  • Office 365 ProPlus

  • Visio Pro for Office 365

  • Project Online Desktop Client

  • SharePoint Designer 2013

  • Lync 2013

  • Lync 2013 Basic

The products that are available to you depend on your Office 365 subscription.

Click-to-Run is also available for the following retail products:

  • Office Professional 2013

  • Office Home and Business 2013

  • Office Home and Student 2013