Home > Mac administration, Mac OS X, macOS, Office 2016 > Enabling automatic download and installation of Microsoft Office 2016 updates

Enabling automatic download and installation of Microsoft Office 2016 updates

As part of releasing Microsoft Office 2016 15.27, Microsoft has also updated Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) to include an interesting new feature: Automatically Download and Install. In MAU 3.8 and later, this feature will automatically download updates for Office 2016 applications and do the following:

  • If an Office application is not running – Automatically install and update the application
  • If an Office application is running – Prompt the customer and give them the option of updating later or restarting the application. If the customer chooses to restart their application, the application will be closed, updated and then re-opened

Pasted image at 2016 09 15 05 09 PM

To enable the automated download and install option, open the Microsoft AutoUpdate application and set the Automatically Download and Install option.

Screen Shot 2016 10 12 at 9 58 42 AM

For more information on this new feature, please see the following link:

What’s New in Microsoft AutoUpdate 3.8http://macadmins.software/docs/MAU_38.pdf

To enable the automated download and install option via the command line for Microsoft AutoUpdate 3.8, the following defaults command can run by the logged-in user:

defaults write com.microsoft.autoupdate2 HowToCheck AutomaticDownload

Microsoft is planning to move the MAU preferences to /Library/Preferences as part of an upcoming Microsoft AutoUpdate release, so the following defaults command can be run with root privileges to enable the automated download and install option for those future versions of Microsoft AutoUpdate:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.autoupdate2 HowToCheck AutomaticDownload

For those who want to enable the automated download and install option using management profiles, I’ve created a .mobileconfig file and posted it here on Github:


  1. October 12, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Do the notifications respect DND?

  2. October 12, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Nice, internal caching server option for MAU stuff.

  3. JoshW
    October 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Does the logged-in user need admin privs, or does it run from a root-level LaunchDaemon?

    • Lee Meinecke
      November 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      I’m not seeing it offered to my machines either. While I know I can download it manually and push this out to my managed machines I was trying to avoid that and let users update to this on their own. Apparently MS is not offering it to machines still running MAU 3.6?

    • Jesse F
      November 29, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Yeah, that’s what I wanna know… I just noticed this on 3.8.1 on my machine (my day to day user is not admin) and it appeared to install, but I was kinda of spacey this AM. Would like to confirm on another machine…

      • Jesse F
        December 2, 2016 at 9:40 pm

        I have been able to use this method to enable non-admin end users to self-update via 3.8.1. Updater only appears to check for apps that the given user has launched, though.

  4. Rich T
    October 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Am I going crazy or does this 3.8.0 version not exist for anyone else?

  5. EmAre
    November 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Any idea how to manually kick off the download/install of updates via CLI?

  6. Kip Sanborn
    March 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    We have used your script to change the settings for the Microsoft Automatic Updater but we were curious if you happen to know how often/when the Microsoft AutoUpdater will perform the automatic download and installation?

  7. Marc Monaro
    October 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Lets say we wanted to Disable it? Would we just change the ‘HowToCheck” string to ‘Manual”?

  8. June 25, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    No direct download of the mobileconfig file so I copied it ( the Raw) into TextWrangler, saved it as a .plist file, and then bounced it through MCX to Profile to create a proper profile that could be dragged and dropped into Filewave MDM. just FYI…..

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