Deploy Office 2007 with custom Quick Access Toolbar commands

Receiving some complaints that users can’t find the Open, New etc. commands in the new Office 2007 interface, I had a task to customize Quick Access Toolbar so that all users can have these commands installed by default.

Office 2007 applications (Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word) use a Quick Access Toolbar setting file (.qat). Every application has its own .qat file (Access.qat, Excel,qat, Outlook.qat, PowerPoint.qat and Word.qat). In order to customize and deploy these files using Office Customization Tool, we must add a registry entry to enable roaming user profiles to access the .qat file during deployment. This is because, by default, qat files are not saved in a roaming location.

I did this using the OCT:

  1. Open or create a new setup customization file (.msp) for Microsoft Office 2007.
  2. Under Additional content, select Add registry entries and click Add.
  3. Select HKEY_CURRENT_USER in the “Root” select box.
  4. Select REG_DWORD in the “Data type” select box.
  5. Enter Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\Toolbars in the “Key” input box.
  6. Enter QuickAccessToolbarRoaming as a “Value name”.
  7. Enter 1 as a “Value data”.
    Add/Modify Registry Entry
  8. Click OK.

After this, the default folder for .qat files will be: %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Office.

Now log in to any computer that has this modification and customize the Quick Access Toolbar for every Office 2007 application as you want. When you’re done, navigate to “%appdata%\Microsoft\Office” folder and copy all .qat files from there to a USB media for example.

QAT files

Now you have two methods of distributing these files: copy these files to all computers manually/using a script or use OCT. It depends on your needs… I will use OCT to have these files copied during the installation of Office 2007.

To do this, open the same office customization file (.msp) as earlier and do the following modifications:

  1. Under Additional content, select Add files and click Add.
  2. In the Add Files to MSP File dialog box, open the folder that contains your *.qat files, select the Excel.qat file (for example) and then click Add.
  3. In the File Destination Path dialog box, select the path [AppDataFolder]\Microsoft\Office for the “Destination path on the user’s computer”.
    File Destination Path
  4. Click OK.

Next time when you will install Office 2007, Quick Access Toolbar in every application will have the commands you set. In my case, Excel’s Quick Access Toolbar looks like this:

Quick Access Toolbar commands

Using Group Policy to deploy Office 2007

Last week I tested how Office 2007 installs via Group Policy.

I created a software installation package and it worked successful; except the fact that it is not fully installed when a user logs on and that it will not upgrade (or remove) the existing version of Office even if I added the Office 2003 package that should be upgraded. After the Office 2007 installs, the users will have both version of Office – 2007 and 2003.

This is because Microsoft changed a little the way Office 2007 installs; and here they explain why they did this. Bellow are some considerations from that article:

  • Difficulties with scheduling installation, consistently managing network bandwidth, and providing feedback on the status of the installation.
  • Limited ability to customize features or user settings before installation of the 2007 Office system. You cannot use Office Customization Tool to create an .msp file. All customizations have to be made in the Config.xml file.

So, the best way to install Office 2007 in a medium organization is to use System Center Essentials or Configuration Manager in a large organization. Using these tools you can know exactly what features to install, when to install and how to install or upgrade Office 2007 suite.