Microsoft Office 2016, released to Volume License customers yesterday, includes the familiar Office Customization Tool. As with previous versions, the tool allows you to customize some Office 2016 settings at the time of install. This might save IT or the users time and helps provide a consistent experience to users.
To access the Office Customization Tool, extract your .iso file using 7-Zip or copy the contents of your Office installer CD to a local hard drive. Open up Command Prompt and navigate to the Office folder you created. Once there, you run setup.exe /admin
This will launch the tool and ask you if you want to create a new setup file or open an existing one. Create a new one for your Office 2016 product.
You now have access to the tool’s full capabilities. Go through each section listed in the left pane and configure the settings on the right to your specifications such as organization name, product key, trusted locations, shortcuts, and much more. When you are all done, save the configuration to a .msp file. If you include it in the ‘updates’ folder of your extracted installer, the settings will be read and applied when you run setup.exe.
There is still no simple setting in the OCT to prevent forced reboots or auto-activation, so you can put entries in the ‘Modify Setup properties’ section. The properties seem to be the same as Office 2013 or at least newer documentation has not been produced yet.
To prevent Office 2016 from automatically rebooting after setup is complete, add a property named SETUP_REBOOT with a value of ‘Never’.
To automatically activate Office 2016 with a MAK product key, add a property named AUTO_ACTIVATE with a value of ‘1’. You must enter your product key in the Licensing and user interface section (without any hyphens) for this to succeed. (Actually, AUTO_ACTIVATE is not holding up to testing. The documentation points to the same properties of Office 2013 where it did work.)
Group Policy ADMX Templates
Another means to configure Office 2016 is through Group Policy ADMX Templates. You can download the new templates directly from Microsoft and use them locally to configure Group Policy settings for Office 2016 or copy the .admx and .adml files to your Central Store.
The download also includes the Office Customization Tool (OPAX/OPAL) files for Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 and Office 365 ProPlus 2016 apps in case your installer did not include it or this is easier.