Office 2016 O365, Get Visio and Project MSI to work via Citrix


Office 2016 O365 uses click to run (C2R) deployment technology.  It is not possible to have Office 2016 C2R installed on a computer that also has 2016 MSI products on it, like Visio and Project.  Some customer want to be able to leverage an existing investment they have in 2016 MSI products by making them available via Citrix.  With Citrix the MSI application are not actually installed on the client system.

Office / SharePoint use protocol handers to open files since Visio and Project are not actually installed there is no handler present for them to use and the SharePoint web UI does nothing or gives an error when trying to open these file types from the SharePoint web UI.  Details about the protocol handler format can be found here:

The advantage of the protocol handers is that they do not require any browser add-ins so they work with all modern browsers.


The "right" solution would be to give users licenses to the O365 version of Visio and Project, your account manager can often make this financially equivalent.

If for some reason you must have the MSI version of Visio and Project available to some of your users you can use Azure RemoteApp or Citrix to provide access to the MSI applications with out actually having to install them on the users local computer.

The solution presented in this blog post creates a custom protocol hander that can point to any executable you want.  It basically routes the request from the web browser to whatever local exe can start the remote application.

**Warning, this blog post contains sample code, there are no warrantees, use at your own risk.

How to deploy and use this solution:

First download this zip file VisioHandler Visual Studio Solution

Unzip the file

Go to the VisioHandler\VisioHandler\bin\Debug folder and copy the VisioHandler.exe and VisioHandler.exe.config file to a location on users hard disk, record this location.

I am assuming that the exe that connects to the remote application is under the users AppData folder, like C:\Users\warren\AppData

The VisioHandler.exe needs to know where the exe that connects to the remote application is located, you can edit the VisioHandler.exe.config file and replace the value "\Citrix\SelfService\Visio2016.exe" with whatever subdirectory and exe under AppData where your exe that connects to the remote application lives.

You then need to build a registry file (.reg) to configure the protocol handler, here is a sample registry text:

**PATH_TO_HANDLER needs to be wherever you put the VisioHandler.exe

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Url:Visio Protocol"
"URL Protocol"=""




@="C:\\PATH_TO_HANDLER\\VisioHandler.exe \"%1\""

Once you save the .reg file, just double click it to have the data put into the registry.

What about project?

Download this Visual Studio project ProjectHelper

Then follow the same steps as the Visio protocol handler listed above, except in the .reg file you need to use ms-project instead of ms-visio in all places that it is used.


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