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How to deploy Office 365 Applications with Microsoft Intune

Organizations that deploy Office 365 applications with Intune can set various configurations, such as what versions of the deployed apps and how the apps receive updates.

Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise -- previously known as Office 365 ProPlus -- contains the Office desktop apps in a subscription form that is always up to date and that can receive new features on a monthly basis.

One common method organizations use to deploy and update the Office desktop apps is the Microsoft Endpoint Manager console, which includes Microsoft Intune's applications management and deployment capabilities.

What are the options for deploying Office 365 via Intune?

When deploying Microsoft 365 Apps with Intune, IT administrators can choose between using XML data and Configuration Designer. The XML data option enables administrators to create a custom configuration by using Office Customization Tool. This option gives the admins more control over the Office suite, applications, languages and preferences that Intune installs.

The Configuration Designer option is more straightforward and provides admins with the standard configuration options that are available directly via Microsoft Intune. If possible, IT pros should use Configuration Designer for deploying the Office desktop apps via Microsoft Intune because it's more straightforward and less likely to cause issues.

If possible, IT pros should use Configuration Designer for deploying the Office desktop apps via Microsoft Intune because it's more straightforward and less likely to cause issues.

What are the steps to deploy Office 365 desktop apps with Intune?

Intune admins should keep it simple when it comes to deploying the desktop Office apps. The following steps walk through the configuration of the Microsoft 365 applications when using Intune's Configuration Designer.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal, and navigate to Apps > Windows to open the Windows | Windows apps
  2. On the Windows | Windows apps pane, click Add to open the Select app type
  3. On the Select app type pane, click Windows 10 in the Microsoft 365 Apps section, and click Select to open the Add Microsoft 365 Apps
  4. On the App suite information page, verify and adjust the prefilled information if needed, and click
  5. On the Configure app suite page, configure the following settings (Figure 1) based on your deployment's needs, and click
    • Configuration settings format. This setting enables admins to configure the method for configuring the Office desktop apps settings. Select Configuration designer to configure the standard options for this Office desktop apps assignment. If administrators need to use the XML data format, they should select the XML data option here.
    • Select Office apps. This setting enables admins to select the standard desktop Office applications that should be part of the deployment. Select the standard Office desktop apps by choosing from the list of Access, Excel, OneDrive (Groove), OneDrive Desktop, OneNote 2016, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Skype for Business, Teams and Word.
    • Select other apps (license required). This setting enables admins to select additional Office applications that should be part of the deployment. Select the additional Office desktop apps by choosing from the list of Project Online Desktop Client and Visio Online Plan 2. Make sure to only select any of these apps when the required licenses are available.
    • Architecture. This setting enables admins to select the architecture of the Office desktop apps in this assignment. Select the architecture by choosing between 32-bit and 64-bit. Generally, desktop administrators should use the 64-bit architecture. They should only use the 32-bit architecture when there are specific requirements, such as 32-bit controls or Component Object Model add-ins.
    • Update channel. This setting enables admins to configure the update channel of the Office desktop apps in this assignment. Select the update channel by choosing between Monthly, Monthly (Targeted), Semi-Annual and Semi-Annual (Targeted). Administrators should be prepared for the upcoming changes and features with each release and set the update channel based on their capabilities.
      • Remove other versions. This setting enables IT pros to determine whether old versions of the Office desktop apps should be removed before installing the new Office applications. They should use this setting to remove any previously Microsoft Windows Installer (MSI)-based installed versions of the Office desktop apps to prevent installation failures of the new versions.
      • Version to install. This setting enables the IT administrators to configure the version of the Office applications of this assignment. Select the version by choosing between Latest and Specific.
      • Specific version. This setting enables the IT admins to configure the specific version of the Office desktop apps in this assignment. This setting is only available if they chose Specific in the previous setting and the available values depend on the chosen update channel.
    • Use shared computer activation. This setting enables administrators to configure the Office applications to use a shared computer activation. IT pros should only use this setting when the Office applications are assigned to devices with multiple users.
    • Accept the Microsoft Software License Terms on behalf of users. This setting enables the IT administrator to accept the license agreement on behalf of the user.
    • Languages. This setting enables IT to add additional languages that should be installed with the Office desktop apps in this assignment. Keep in mind that, by default, the Office desktop apps are already installed in any of the supported languages of Windows that are currently installed on an end user's device.
  1. On the Scope tags page, configure any applicable Scope tags, and click Next.
  2. On the Assignments page, configure the Assignments for the Office 365 suite, and click Next.
  3. On the Review + create page, verify the Summary, and click Create.
Intune Office app configurations
The various configurations that admins can set to the end user's Office applications.

Pro tips on deploying Office 365 applications with Intune

When deploying Microsoft 365 Apps via Microsoft Intune, there are a few additional tips that Intune admins should know:

  • The installation of the additional Office desktop apps requires specific licenses for the selected products.
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise licenses are required to activate the Office desktop apps.
  • Admins can only install the 64-bit versions of these applications on a 64-bit version of Windows.
  • It's not possible to combine Office desktop apps of different bit versions.
  • Devices must be running the Windows 10 Creators Update or a newer version.
  • The installation will fail if there is an existing Office MSI-based installation on the device.
  • Only a single Microsoft 365 Apps deployment is currently supported for a single device.
  • The installation may fail if the user has any Office desktop apps open during the installation.

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