Office 365 has a new administrative feature to help organization manage and deploy Office add-ins.

Until then, it was up to the individual users to get the Office add-ins they wanted/needed (except Outlook as this was already possible to push add-ins from the Exchange Admin control panel).

Now, Office 365 administrators can define the add-ins which need to be pushed and installed to Office client.

To take advantage of this feature you need to run a compatible version of Office (Office 2016 build 16.0.8067 or later on Windows, or Office build 15.34.17051500 or later on Mac), be federated with Office 365 (ADFS) and the mailbox must be enabled for OAuth.

These are quite some requirements and there is also lot of limitation as the centralized deployment does not support DCOM or VSTO add-ins.

To validate your environment before starting using the centralized deployment you can use the compatibility checker.

Download and deploy the MSI package of the readiness tool available https://aka.ms/officeaddindeploymentorgcompatibilitychecker

Once installed, use a PowerShell command prompt to invoke the Invoke-CompatibilityCheck command and gather the information.

Before running the command, you need to connect to Exchange Online first or the command will fail testing OAuth configuration; despite it says it connects to Exchange Online, obviously this is not the case

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Do not forget if you have enabled MFE, use the Exchange Online PowerShell supporting MFA (available at http://aka.ms/exopspreview)

The report is save in your user profile (C:\Users\<username>) and is called output.csv

Obviously this readiness tool still need some work you are not asked for the report name and location (minor but this is always better when you can name and define the location) AND more importantly is not able to correctly connect to Exchange Online.

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Once you have validated you are ready to use centralized deployment, connect to Office 365 admin portal with your global admin and start deploying your add-ins

Go to the Settings\Services & add-ins section

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Click on Upload Add-in, you will then be reminded about the requirement and will get the different links to run the readiness tool; as you havbe already validated your clients, just click Next

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Select the option you want to use for the new add-in deployment, either select an add-in from the store (this post), upload an XML manifest or a link to the XML manifest (these last 2 options may be useful for your own add-ins you have internally developed but not published to the Office store)

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As I’m deploying an add-in from the store, I’m searching for it or can select one of the proposed ones

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Once you have selected the add-in from the store you will get a summary about the add-in – from there the steps are the same as if you have selected to upload or use an URL to define the manifest

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At this step, you can define if the add-in is enabled or not (default is off course enabled) and which users need to have it (who has access)

To define who need to have the add-in just click on the Edit link for the Who has access? you will get the choice to deploy the add-in to everyone, you only or a specific groups or group of users

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Once you have defined who will get the add-in, click Save

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Then the system is adding the add-in

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Once the add-in has been added to your portal, you can manage it; enabling/disabling/uninstalling it or change who will get it.

The portal shows to which Office application it will be available and if the add-in is enabled (on) or disabled (off)

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