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Tweaking Microsoft Office

Created: 14 Dec 2007 • Updated: 26 Dec 2007 | 4 comments
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For some companies and individuals Microsoft Office is the tool that helps them get work done. It helps them communicate with their co-workers and the rest of the world. Being able to tweak Office has helped me save a lot of time and money. There are a few things that I do to make my life easier. Here they are:

Service Packs:

As many of you probably heard, Microsoft has finally come out with service packs for their Office products. Service Packs are very beneficial and make deploying and installing Microsoft products much easier. First, service packs contain all of the program updates that have been come out since the software's release in one package. Next, Microsoft increases security. One thing to keep in mind is that service packs contain all previous updates and service packs. For instance, In September, Office 2003 SP3 (Service Pack 3) was released. This service pack contains SP1 and SP2.

Office 2003 SP3:

As I mentioned above, Office 2003 SP3 was released. Click here to download this service pack. To find out what changes this service pack makes to Office, check this link out: Description of Office 2003 Service Pack 3. To make sure that Office 2003 works as well as it possibly can you should update to the latest service pack. Also, to make this software more secure, you should update to SP3.

There are several different ways you can deploy this service pack. Here is a helpful Microsoft web page that goes through some of your options: Distributing Office 2003 Product Updates. If you are like me, you will have to update computers that already have Office installed, and you will have to make sure computers that are set up in the future. Luckily there are several ways to do both (using Altiris goodness of course).

Updating through Deployment Console:

The first thing that you will need to do is download the service pack using the link above. Now, make sure that you have access to that file from your Deployment Console. We are going to create a new job, using the following steps:

  1. In Deployment Console, right click in the "Jobs" pane like the picture below shows:
  2. Click on "New Job"
  3. Name the job "Office 2003 SP3 Update" like is shown below:
  4. In the left pane, we can start to create the job. Click the "Add >>" button to get started. The following will appear:
  5. Go to "Copy File to...", we are going to copy the service pack to the local computer. The following wizard will appear:
  6. Now, click on the folder (with the red circle around it), and navigate to your file. Then click "Open"...
  7. Change the "Destination Path" to C:\ like is shown below:
  8. Click on the "Finish" button. Now, when this job is run it will copy Office SP3 to the local computer.
  9. Now, click on the "Add" button again. Then click on "Run Script"
  10. The following window will appear:
  11. Type in the following script (into the "Run this script" text box):
    "Office2003SP3-KB923618-FullFile-ENU.exe /Q"
  12. Now click on "Next >", "Next >" and Finish

Now we have a job that will copy the service pack file to the local computer and then run a script to install that important update. If you want to get really fancy you can add more scripting in to delete the copied file.

Integrating Office 2003 w/ Service Pack 3:

Now we can update Office using Deployment Console we need to have a way to install the most current service pack on new computers. Here is how:

I was about to explain how to do this, and I found a great link that walks you through how to slipstream the update right into your current Office 2003 CD. Check out this link: Office System (2003) SP3 Slipstreaming. Basically you have to do the following:

  1. Copy the Office 2003 CD to your computer
  2. Extract SP3 into a temporary folder
  3. Run the following script:
    msiexec /p D:\Office2003SP3\OWC11SP3.msp /a D:\Office2003CD\OWC11.MSI shortfilenames=true /qb

That should take care of the integration or slipstream. It does the integration without any prompts, so just sit back and relax.

Office 2007 SP1

The big announcement this week is that Office 2007 SP1 was released. This service pack contains security and speed updates. I have heard that Excel in particular runs much faster, and I imagine that it adds all of your numbers correctly now. To learn more information about SP1, check out this link:Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office suites Service Pack 1. To download the service pack, check out his link: The 2007 Microsoft Office Suite Service Pack 1 (SP1).

Deploying SP1 through Deployment Console is almost the same as we deployed Office 2003 SP3. The only change you need to make (besides the name of the job) is the script. Here is the script you should run:

"office2007sp1-kb936982-fullfile-en-us.exe /quiet"

Integrating Office 2007 w/ Service Pack 1

This step is very different from the method discussed above for Office 2003. Part of the rework of Office 2007 was updating the software. To include Office 2007 SP1 as part of the install, do the following:

  1. Copy your Microsoft Office 2007 CD to your computer (to "C:\Office2007CD" to make things easy)
  2. Download the service pack using the link above (download it to root of C:\ to keep things simple)
  3. Extract the service pack file using the following script:
    C:\office2007sp1-kb936982-fullfile-en-us.exe /extract:C:\Office2007CD\Updates\

Thats it! Pretty simple huh? If you look on your Microsoft Office 2007 CD you will see a folder named "Update". With the steps above we copied all of the service pack files into that folder. When Office installs, it installs all of the updates in that folder. It does not take any extra scripting. You can make sure that every time you install Office 2007 it is up to date. All you have to do is include all of the update files in the "Update" folder.

Administrative Install:

When I install Office I don't like to spend lots of time go through lots of settings to make Office work the way that I want. Using the Administrative Install function that comes with Office, you can take a lot of the tedious work out of installing office. For instance I use the Administrative install to add in our serial number and to make Office install on its down (or do a silent install). It has helped me a ton.

Here is a great resource for Office 2003: Administrative Install Point

To do this same thing in Office 2007, type in the following script in the command prompt:

setup.exe /adminfile off2007admin.msp

Pretty simple huh? Take some time and dig through the menus. You will find some amazing tools to help make things much easier. I bumped into the Administrative Install because I wanted to make Office 2007 install silently. Here is a useful link if you want to do that: Office 2007, Unattended Setup & Fine-tuning, its very easy & simple!

Some Sweet Registry Keys:

There are a few registry keys that I run after Office 2007 has installed. Here they are:

Developer Tab:

I was asked to include the Developer Tab in Word. This tab helps you make marcos.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


I like to include our users drive (the G:\ drive) in the open window in Office.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\Open Find\Places\UserDefinedPlaces]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\Open Find\Places\UserDefinedPlaces\Place0]

Now, when you open a file (or save a file) you can click on the G:\ drive on the left Save in: location.


There are many things that system admins can do to make their lives easier. If you couple some creativity with the most used applications in your organization you can really make a difference.

If you can push out Office service packs through Deployment Console you can make sure that your operation computers can stay up to date. And, if you integrate the service packs with your Office CDs you can make sure that all future computers will have everything they need for an up-to-date system.

And, with a few registry keys and a simple Administrator Install you can easily configure Office to do what you want it to from day one without lifting a finger. Pretty sweet huh?

Comments 4 CommentsJump to latest comment

riva11's picture

Great document really helpful and full of interesting links and tips. Thanks!

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JoeMama's picture

Very good & quick write-up. Concise, without sacrificing the screenshots.

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gbromage's picture

It's tips and articles like this (and the people willing take the time to share them) that keep me coming back here.

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Andrey Shipov's picture

This document is good, but I think it is slightly misleading.
This method will work fine and if you do not have Notification Server in your environment this is the only method to deploy application or updates using Altiris.

Disadvantages of the Deployment solutions are:
• Cannot have dynamic collections of PCs for target software delivery
• No feedback on installation status
• No reports facilities.

If you have Notification Server, you should utilise Software Delivery and Patch Management Solutions. These solutions will give you flexibility of deployment and provide reports. You can also automate software delivery process by running custom inventories, creating dynamic collections based on inventory results and deliver software only to PCs that need it.


Andrey Shipov
IS Infrastructure Senior Engineer
Manchester, UK

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