Creating an Office 2016 15.18.0 installer
Microsoft recently released a new software installer to help make the task of deploying updated copies of Office 2016 for Mac admins a lot easier. This new installer is available along with the latest Office 2016 volume license installer and is named Microsoft_Office_2016_VL_Serializer.pkg.
This installer is designed to do the following:
- Activate an unlicensed version of Office 2016 and set it to use the volume license.
- Convert an existing/activated version of Office 2016 for Mac to use the volume license.
- Fix the volume license on a machine where the volume license isn’t being recognized.
The installer package (which must be downloaded from Microsoft’s volume license site) makes it possible to install an unlicensed copy of the Microsoft Office 2016 full installer and then set up that copy of Office 2016 to use your shop’s volume license for Office 2016. This is advantageous for the following reasons:
- Microsoft usually releases unlicensed Office 2016 full installers much sooner than they release the volume licensed Office 2016 full installer via Microsoft’s volume license site.
- Unlicensed Office 2016 full installers can be downloaded from the internet without requiring access to Microsoft’s volume licensing site.
For example, as of January 14, 2016, the latest version of Office 2016 is Office 2016 15.18.0. Microsoft has released an unlicensed Office 2016 15.18.0 full installer for use with Office 365. Meanwhile, the Microsoft volume license site site has Office 2016 15.17.0 available for download.
Downloading an unlicensed Office 2016 full installer
- Go to http://macadmins.software (this site is run by Microsoft and is safe to download from.)
- Locate the O365/Retail download link (highlighted in bright green in the image below.)
- Download an unlicensed Office 2016 full installer which is up-to-date with the latest Office 2016 software
I have an existing process which can be used to build a combined Office 2016 installer using Packages, so I decided to apply the same process to building an Office 2016 15.8.0 installer. See below the jump for an example of using Packages to build a combined Office 2016 installer which includes both an unlicensed Office 2016 15.18.0 full installer and the Microsoft_Office_2016_VL_Serializer installer package.
- Microsoft_Office_2016_VL_Serializer installer package
- Unlicensed Office 2016 full installer package
1. Set up a new Packages project and select Raw Package.
2. In this case, I’m naming the project Microsoft Office 2016 15.18.0
3. Once the Packages project opens, click on the Project tab. You’ll want to make sure that the your information is correctly set here (if you don’t know what to put in, check the Help menu for the Packages User Guide. The information you need is in Chapter 4 – Configuring a project.)
In this example, I’m not changing any of the options from what is set by default.
4. Next, click on the Settings tab. In the case of my project, I want to install with root privileges and not require a logout, restart or shutdown.
To accomplish this, I’m choosing the following options in the Settings section:
- In the Post-Installation Behavior section, set On Success: to Do Nothing
- In the Options section, check the box for Require admin password for installation.
5. Click on the Scripts tab in your Packages project.
6. Select your installers and drag them into the Additional Resources section of your Packages project.
In the case of my example, I’m selecting the following installers:
- Microsoft_Office_2016_Installer.pkg (this is the unlicensed Office 2016 15.18.0 full installer)
7. The last piece is telling the installers to run. For this, you’ll need a postinstall script. Here’s the one I’m using:
Notice that $install_dir in the postinstall script refers to the path to the package’s working directory. That’s where Packages will be storing the installers, inside the Package-built installer’s embedded directory where it stores the items defined in the Additional Resources section.
The -target value is defined as “$3″ because some information is passed along by the Packages-built installer to its included scripts when those scripts are run by the installation process. (For more information, see the PackageMaker How-To available here and search on the page for $3)
In this case, -target being defined as “$3″ means that the postinstall script will install the two Office 2016 packages onto the desired drive.
The script also governs what order the installers run in, so the unlicensed Office 2016 installer runs first and the volume license serializer runs next after the first job finishes. The -dumplog and -verbose flags are to help you track the progress of installation if you’re looking at the installer log.
9. Once you’ve got the postinstall script built, run the following command to make the script executable:
sudo chmod a+x /path/to/postinstall
10. Once completed, add the postinstall script to your Packages project.
11. Last step, go ahead and build the package. (If you don’t know to build, check the Help menu for the Packages User Guide. The information you need is in Chapter 3 – Creating a raw package project and Chapter 10 – Building a project.)
Once you have the package built, you should be able to test it by installing it on a machine while the machine is logged out. Once installed, Office 2016 15.8.0 should be properly licensed and not prompt you for a product key.