Customising Office 2013
If your aim is to have a well-managed deployment of Office 2013 with a great user experience then I would suggest that you spend some time customizing Office 2013 prior to deployment. If you plan to use the standard Windows based installer then you’ll need to use the Office Customization Tool.
It’s worthwhile noting down any user setting which may conflict with the out of the box, Office experience. Planning wisely and effectively will mean that you stand a better chance of getting it right first time and sometimes you only get one chance.
Preferences not Policies
Within Office 2013, user setting can be set as either preferences or as default. The difference between these 2 are, preferences are only applied during the initial start of an application and Policies on the other hand are applied at every login whether or not the application(s) are launched. The key issue is that preferences only need to be set once and is only applied when the application runs for the first time. Policies on the other hand are processed at every logon. In virtual desktop environments where user profiles can be managed by 3rd party solutions, excessive GPO processing can have a large negative effect on user logins times.
Because fast login times are now critical to the success of any desktop or application deployment, I would urge everyone to only use GPOs to enforce settings when only absolutely necessary.
Note: If you’re intending to deploy Office 2013 with Click-to-Run (App-V), then the following levels of user settings won’t be possible.
The deployment & customising of Office 2013 is really well documented on TechNet and we don’t aim to compete with that. In this article we will merely highlight and recommend some areas where we think you should pay particular attention to Office 2013 customization and deployment
To create an Office Setup Customization, first download the Office 2013 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool.
The extracting the Tool and copying it to the Admin folder in your Office 2013 setup folder. Then to create a new Setup Customization File for Office 2013, first run:
After which the Office Customization Tool will launch:
Go with the default file types:
Next set the licensing options and the display level. Based on whether you’re using KMS or MAK licensing the options may change:
The next area you want to focus on is the ‘user settings’ page. This section is where the administrator can alter the default users’ experience:
Recommended User Settings
The featured list below highlights a number of recommended user settings within Office 2013. These are just a small number of user settings that we would look at, but we would consider these to be the most important.
Please note: each setting will vary according to your environment so please remember to examine the options against your own environment and only use our list as a guide.