PolicyPak for Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016

Is there a more widely used application suite in the business world than Microsoft Office?

This means you need to manage and enforce the configuration settings for these applications because if everyone in your organization is using them, that’s a lot of potential helpdesk calls if Microsoft Office applications don’t operate as expected when users meddle in the application’s configuration settings.

That’s where PolicyPak comes in. We enforce the optimum setting values that you, the administrator, want them to have. PolicyPak sets and remediates your users’ applications’ settings, so that they get the same experience, every time they launch it, especially for ubiquitous application such as this.

Keep your Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016 configuration settings delivered, enforced and automatically remediated with PolicyPak. Check out this video to see how it’s done:

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Let’s start with Excel 2013 or 2016. Our PolicyPak software snaps-in to the Group Policy Editor and gives you the same user interface as Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2016 itself. A spreadsheet is all about formulas, which is why there are so many configuration settings based around them. You can use PolicyPak to configure the “Error checking rules” such as “Cells containing formulas that result in an error” to ensure that the spreadsheets your users are creating are accurate.

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Now let’s look at Microsoft Word 2013 or 2016. Not only do you users constantly create Word files, they also download them as well, many times from the Internet. Make sure that “Enable Protected view for files originating from the Internet” is enabled.

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So you think you can manage “Formulas” settings for Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2016 using Group Policy and the ADMX files alone. Think again. The ADMX files only allot you a single setting configuration option. PolicyPak covers all of them.

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And of course there is Outlook, your business communication lifeline that needs to work properly every time it is launched. Security for this application is. Use PolicyPak to configure the “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML email messages or RSS items.”

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PowerPoint doesn’t seem like a security minded application, but like all of the Office 2013 and 2016 Suite applications, you can configure the “Privacy Options” and opt out of the “Customer Experience Improvement Program.”

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With PolicyPak, you’re the one in control.

Besides, once you’re using PolicyPak to manage Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016, you’ll also get to manage all your other enterprise desktop applications the same way: Flash, Lync, Java, Firefox, and any custom applications you have. They’re 100% included – absolutely free.

It’s all included when you’re a PolicyPak Professional customer.

PolicyPak was designed by Group Policy MVP Jeremy Moskowitz – who “wrote the book” on Group Policy, runs GPanswers.com, and lives and breathes Group Policy and enterprise software deployments and desktop lockdown.

When you’re ready to get serious about managing Microsoft Office 2013 and 2016, PolicyPak is ready for you.

Lockdown Microsoft Office Suite 2013 and 2016 Video Transcript

Hi, this is Jeremy Moskowitz, Group Policy MVP and Founder of PolicyPak Software. In this video, we’re going to learn how to configure some of the Office 2013 and 2016 applications using PolicyPak.

Before you get started you want to point out a resource that is also helpful in conjunction with this video. Our free whitepaper

What Office 2010 & Office 2013 or 2016 Admins don’t know about Application Management

Which can be found in our Whitepapers section on the website.

Inside the whitepaper you’ll learn where PolicyPak fills in the desktop management gaps where Microsoft’s ADM and ADMX coverage doesn’t.

We’ll cover some of those here in this video, but the whitepaper is very very detailed.

So in this example, you’ve already got Office 2013 or 2016 installed on my computer, and you’re just a regular user here. As you can see, you’re logged on as a guy called “eastsalesuser4.”

As the user, you can see what happens when he opens up Outlook then goes to Options. Lets examine the configuration settings a user has access to.

As a network administrator, you should be interested AutoArchive Settings and some of the “Trust Center Settings” such as “Macro Settings.”

If you open up Microsoft Word and review my “Trust Center Settings” you’ll see some more tabs that are important to this application as well such as “Protected View“ and “Privacy Options.”

Finally, if you open up Microsoft Excel, we have some “Trust Center Settings” here that are common to many of the Office 2013 and 2016 applications such as “Protected View” and “ActiveX Settings.” 

While we’re at it, let’s pretend that eastsalesuser4 is a registry savvy – the kind of person you wouldn’t want poking around in the registry itself. 

To speed things along, I already have the registry location already open for the “Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet” to show you. 

Now, as the user, let’s change the registry value of this setting.  Here, you can see that the user can simply circumvent your desired settings.

Let’s see how we can ensure compliance and perform desktop management of settings quickly using PolicyPak. I’ll go ahead and switch over to my Management Station computer.

We’ll go ahead and right click over our “East Sales Users”, “Create a GPO” and we’re going to call it “Lockdown Office 2013 and 2016.” So this GPO is now associated with the “East Sales Users.” you’ll right click over it. You’ll click “Edit…” you’ll dive down under “User Configuration,” “PolicyPak/Applications/New/Application.” There it is, “PolicyPak for Microsoft Outlook 2013 and 2016” along with other applications like “Java,” “Flash” “Firefox,” “Skype” and lots of other important desktop applications that your users utilize every day (and you want to make more secure).

Let’s start with Outlook once again. Let’s go to “Advanced,” click “AutoArchive” and let’s configure the “Run AutoArchive every” setting for 10 days.  Then let’s make sure that “Delete expired items” as well as “Show archive folder” are always checked.  Notice how when you manipulate these using PolicyPak, that the text becomes underlined.  This means that these setting values will be delivered and automatically enforced by PolicyPak.

Let’s next move to “Automatic Downloads” and let’s make sure that “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items” is always checked.  Then we’ll ensure that “Permit downloads in e-mail messages from Safe Senders and Recipients,” is checked and enabled. 

Now let’s go back to our GPO and let’s add the application, Microsoft Word 2013 and 2016 which will give us the interface we need to manage that application. Your users frequently download Word files so you want to ensure that for “Protected View” that “Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet” is always checked  Now let’s right click on our desired setting and select “Perform ACL Lockdown” which will lock this setting down even within the registry itself.  While we’re at it, let go to “Add-ins” and ensure that “Require Application Add-ins to be signed by Trusted Publisher” is enabled and that “Sign up for the Customer Experience Improvement Program” is unchecked at all times.  We will Perform ACL Lockdown for it as well. This prevents users from possibly working around our settings at all. 

Finally, let’s add one last application for now, Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2016.  As you can see, PolicyPak has PAKs for all of the applications in Office Professional 2013 and 2016 including OneNote and Access. 

You want to make sure that your users have error checking enabled so that their formulas are always precise and produce accurate financial information.  You’ll  want to select “Check cells containing formulas that result in an error,” and “Inconsistent calculated column formula in tables” also set to be enabled at all times.

Now you will go back to my client machine, we’ll get a command prompt and run “gpupdate.”  Now you could envision the user logging on for the very first time, using a Terminal Services or Citrix machine, using a VDI session, changing job roles, or getting a new computer.  I just happen to be using gpupdate.

Now that that’s done, let’s go ahead and reopen Outlook.  If we return to the “AutoArchive” settings, we can see that PolicyPak has delivered “Run AutoArchive” and set it to 10 days as we wanted, “Delete expired items (email folders only), and “Show archive folder in folder list”. Additionally see that within Automatic Download that “Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML e-mail messages or RSS items” are also delivered via PolicyPak. 

Now, let’s logoff as this current user and log back on as a user called eastsalesuser5 and demonstrate that PolicyPak enforces settings for all designated users.  Now let’s open up Word and look at our “Protected View” settings and we see that “Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet” has been enforced with the settings you want.  Next we’ll go to “Add-ins” and confirm that “Require Application Add-ins to be signed by Trusted Publishers” took effect as well. 

Now let’s try to alter the “Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet” and we’ll see that this attempt has been thwarted by PolicyPak and ACL Lockdown.

Now let’s wrap things up with Microsoft Excel.  We’ll start in “Formulas” and confirm that our two error checking settings are properly enabled. Those settings are “Cells containing formulas that result in an error” and “Inconsistent calculated column formula in tables.”

And we are done. That is how incredibly easy it is for you to use PolicyPak to manage the Office 2013 and 2016 suite as well as tons of other desktop applications.

If you’re looking for a trial of PolicyPak, just click on the “Webinar / Download” button on the right.

Thanks so much for watching, and get in touch with us if you’re looking to get started. Talk to you soon.