Deploying Custom Registry Settings for Office 2010

If you are planning to customize your Office 2010 deployment significantly, then at some point, you will more than likely need to make changes to the registry. Perhaps you wrote a custom add-in that you need to define (In “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Office\Word\Addins”), or maybe you want to tweak the status bar in more detail than OCT or Group Policy allows (In “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\StatusBar”). Whatever the case, you are probably going to find yourself wondering what is the best way to effect these changes.

In this post, I would like to describe a robust and efficient way to control Office 2010 registry settings, using a combination of the Microsoft Office Customization Tool (OCT) and a little known feature in Office 2010 (and Office 2007 for that matter) best described as HKLM –> HKCU Propagation.

Let’s try to understand a little more about why changing these settings can be difficult.

Firstly, registry settings for Office are applied by default, at various stages during the deployment process. These stages include:

  • During the Office installation
  • After the Office installation
  • When the user who installed Office first launches an Office application
  • When a different user first launches an Office application
  • When settings are changed by the user at some other point in time

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