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Customizing Microsoft Office installation

I’ve installed the Microsoft Office suite on different machines over the years. But one thing had always bugged me: the default Office installer installs a lot of applications that I never use (looking at you, OneNote and Skype). I wanted a way to cherry-pick only the Office apps that I needed to use and exclude everything else from the installation. It turns out there is a way to accomplish this.

Download the Office Deployment Tool

The Office Deployment Tool is a command-line tool provided by Microsoft to download and deploy Microsoft Office on a computer. It’s mainly targeted at enterprise users but can be used for personal installations as well.

Download the installer (the exe file). When launched, it asks for a folder to extract its content. Say, you choose D://ODT/. After extraction, you can find a setup.exe file in the selected folder. This is the Office Deployment Tool.

Mounting the Office installation

This step is needed only if you’ve downloaded the Office installation as an img file. If you have an iso file, extract it in a folder (say, G:).

Right-click the Office installation img file and select Mount.

Mounting Office installer
Mounting Office installer

This mounts the file as a drive (say G:).

Mounted Office installer
Mounted Office installer

Generate install configuration with the Office Customization Tool

The Office Deployment Tool requires a configuration file that describes which applications from the Office suite need to be installed. You can generate this configuration file using the Office Customization Tool.

Open the browser and launch the Office Customization Tool. Choose the architecture, the Office version, etc. At the bottom of the Products and releases section, you’d find a list of applications that you can toggle for installation. Pick and choose what you want and complete the rest of the configuration.

Selecting Apps with Office Customization Tool
Selecting Apps with Office Customization Tool

After you’re done with your configuration, hit the Export button to download the configuration file. This is an XML file. Copy this file in the folder where the Office Deployment Tool was extracted (that’s, D://ODT/). Open the file in an editor. A sample configuration file for Office Professional Plus would look like this.

<Configuration ID="fc113a98-bff0-4eda-8928-41de78dcac57">
	<Add OfficeClientEdition="64" SourcePath="G:">
		<Product ID="ProPlus2021Retail" PIDKEY="<product_id_for_activation>">
			<Language ID="en-us" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="Access" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="Lync" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="OneDrive" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="OneNote" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="Publisher" />
			<ExcludeApp ID="Teams" />

Ensure that

Deploy the Office suite

Open PowerShell as the administrator at the location where the Office Deployment Tool was extracted (that’s, D://ODT/) and execute the following command.

./setup.exe /configure ./Configuration.xml

This command launches the customized install.

Installing Office with selected applications
Installing Office with selected applications

And that’s how you can do a clean install of the Office suite ensuring you install only what you need.