Quick tips for the Office Customization Tool (OCT)

For those of you not familiar with the Office Customization Tool (OCT), it is your main tool for unified setup, customization, and maintenance of the Office 2007 system. It’s free and comes with the volume licensed version of the 2007 Office system. It’s not in the Office Resource Kit…because the 2007 Office Resource Kit is a document library and not a downloadable set of tools. But you knew that, right?! Right?

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to download the newest version of the OCT at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=102314.

When you save your customizations in the OCT, it produces an .MSP file.

Here are a few quick tips when working with the OCT:

·         Put your PID here! The Config.xml file isn’t encrypted. If you put your PID there, it’ll be stored in clear text. Not a good idea! So use the OCT for PIDs instead.

·         Pick one! If you have conflicting settings between the .MSP file you created in OCT and your Config.xml file, the Config.xml file settings will win. If you don’t specify something in Config.xml, it’ll take the corresponding settings in the OCT. So decide what tool you’ll use for what and consistently use those tools for that purpose.

·         Keep it quiet! Accept the Microsoft Software License Terms on behalf of your users and suppress the dialogs with Display level =None, especially when doing an enterprise deployment.

·         Don’t be confused! There are some settings in the OCT that may mystify – e.g., “disable auto republish”. Do you select the disable checkbox to enable or the enable checkbox to disable? Think of the checkboxes instead as enable checkbox = true and disable checkbox = false. So if I want auto republish to be disabled, I’m going to select the checkbox that indicates that “disable auto republish” is a true statement (which is the enable checkbox). Additionally, the explain text on some options might not help make you make the right choices – which leads us to the next point.

·         Test everything!! Verify all your settings will deploy as expected in a pre-production/test environment before you deploy to your users.

·         You wouldn’t name your dog “dog”! Name your .MSP files so you can identify them! For example, 1_Ofc-2007-Ent-APAC-v2-initial.msp could tell you that this is an Office Enterprise 2007 patch for the Asia Pacific region at your company, version 2, and for initial installs (the first one used in the Updates folder).

·         Be exact! If you have multiple .MSP files, setup will apply the first OCT MSP file in Windows sort order. Then after the install, setup will apply the remaining MSP files based on the Windows Installer patch sequencing rules. So, to get the expected results for new installs where you just want to apply one OCT MSP file, you should use the setup /adminfile command to point to the specific .MSP file you want when deploying. For example: setup.exe /adminfile \serversharemychangesmycustom.msp. Alternatively, if you want to apply multiple OCT MSP files with setup, name the primary OCT MSP file so it’ll be loaded first (for example, start the file name with “1_”). Keep in mind that the first MSP file in Windows sort order should have all the major setup information (PID, setup display settings, applications to install, etc.).

·         Make it work! If you have an existing installation of the 2007 Office system and you try to add some customizations using the original .MSP file, you may get unexpected results. To make it work for existing installations, create a new .MSP file with just your new customizations. Deploy this new .MSP file via your deployment tool of choice to the existing installations. This could be as simple as having your users double-click the .MSP file manually to have it applied. For new installations, update your existing .MSP file with the new customizations – but keep in mind the next bullet….

·         Keep it fresh! MSP files can get corrupted if you update them several times (like 20 to 30 times). Bad news! So best practice is to refine your customizations in a separate pre-production/test .MSP file. Once that’s final and ready for prime time, create a new .MSP file to deploy with your final customizations.

·         What are my customizations?! Unfortunately, there isn’t a super handy way to get a copy, print out, or report of what your customizations are but…there is a script that helps! See the article View XML content from Office Customization Tool customization files (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179027.aspx). After running the script, you can review the resultant XML by right clicking it in Internet Explorer and choosing the Export to Excel option.

For more information about the OCT, see Office Customization Tool in the 2007 Office system (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179097.aspx).

– Cat Watson


Comments (13)

  1. Anonymous says:

    For those of you deploying Office 2007 using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), there is a great blog

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Josh,

    You have to have the volume license version of Office 2007 in order to access OCT.  If you bought Office 2007 off the shelf retail, it won’t include OCT.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    In response to Brad,  there is a handy Excel file that comes with the download of the admin template files.  If you search that file with the setting name (or registry key), you can get the path to where the setting is in the OCT or GP.

    For 2010, get the files from here: Office 2010 Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool (go.microsoft.com/fwlink).

    For 2007, get the files from here: 2007 Office system (SP2) Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool


    I did a specific search of that string and didn’t find it.  But I’m guessing you need to be looking in Group Policy under Security Settings > Trust Center…It’s probaby not a setting that’s in OCT.    

  4. Anonymous says:

    Light – Yes, you’d need separate MSPs. Each OCT MSP only works for one product.

    There is a TechNet article about sequentially installing multiple products of the 2007 Office system using chaining (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179200.aspx).  However, the chaining method isn’t recommended as it’s not reliable.  

  5. Anonymous says:


    I just found this blog and it couldn’t be better timing.  Our organization has been deploying Office 2007 for the last 6-8 months manually.  I was able to create an MSP file that we have been using since that time.  Now the organization wants to finish upgrading using newly installed SCCM.  This is great, so I went to make a few changes to my MSP file.  I tied pulling it up using the “setup /admin” command from my installation folder.  I get the following error: “Failed to load Setup Customization file.  The specified file may not be a valid Setup Customization file or may have been created by a different version of this tool.”  I have spent the afternoon searching for a resolution to this but have found nothing other than there is a new version of OCT which I tried and that didn’t work either.  Any suggestions would be appreciated as I really don’t know where to go from here.  Thanks


  6. Anonymous says:

    Chall – I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to do. Select the Office suite you’re trying to customize instead of the language pack.  Have a look at this article for what you can do in the OCT and how:  Customize language settings for the 2007 Office system http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179091.aspx

    Look at this article for info on how to do the setup & deploy piece:

    Customize and deploy multiple language versions of the 2007 Office system http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd162397.aspx

    Hope that helps!!

  7. Josh says:

    SOrry to be a pain but when I type in setup.exe /admin in the command line, I get the following error message "please go to control panel to install and configure system components"

    which system components do i need to install or configure? i have so far downloaded and copied the admin folder into the default settings and just simply want to run OCT

    any help will be greatly appreciated

  8. Me says:

    Josh: Are you in the command prompt where your Office 07 setup file resides?

  9. light says:

    I’m deploying Office Enterprise 2007 and also want to deploy Visio Pro and Project Pro to all systems at the same time.  Do I just create separate MSP’s for Project and Visio and run them after the Office Enterprise install or is there is a way to streamline all this into one MSP?  

    I read something about the config.xml file but it was not much help…


  10. chall says:

    I’m trying to use OCT to customize a new MSP file but whenever I select a language pack (example: French) an error window pops up that says, “Failed to get available product info.”  Can someone please enlighten me on this!?!

  11. brad says:

    On the Office Customization tool, under Modify user settings, I can not seem to find the setting to "enable macros without notification".

    Can anyone help guide me to the setting to configure it?



  12. Raju' says:

    when i try to type a command in run, its not opening "OCT Tool", whats happening?

    Once i type a command in run, its not finding a windows. can you help me?

  13. Victor says:

    How do I use OCt for a new Office 2013 Installation?