Office 365 ProPlus, Click-to-run and Add-ins

ProPlus, the new Professional Plus

Office 365 ProPlus offers a subscription based license for Office 2013 Desktop Software including Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you want Office 2013 at home, that’s your option. Enterprises can also buy the software outright like you may be used to be able to do for home use. That license model is called Office 2013 Professional Plus.

Here’s how Microsoft describes it in the ProPlus FAQ

Both Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus deliver the same application experiences. However, Office Professional Plus 2013 is a traditional Office installation that is tied to the computers it is installed on, and it is available through volume licensing only. A user-based service, Office 365 ProPlus is available as a subscription.- from What is the difference between Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013?


One other difference, besides license model, between ProPlus and Professional Plus is the default install technology. For ProPlus, the default is a method called Click-to-Run. For Professional Plus the default is what you may be used to, a Windows Installer Package. Again, here’s how Microsoft describes that difference

Office Professional Plus 2013 uses Windows Installer Package (MSI)-based installation. Office 365 ProPlus uses Click-to-Run installation and software update management. – from Why would I choose Office 365 ProPlus over Office Professional Plus 2013?

On another page meant for IT Professionals in Businesses Microsoft states it another, very similar way:

Click-to-Run is an alternative to the traditional Windows Installer-based (MSI) method of installing and updating Office – Overview of Click-to-Run

Click-to-Run is meant to get the software started more quickly and keep you up to date. The traditional method requires that the full install completes before you can run Word and the others. The new technology “streams” the bits in the background similar to how YouTube streams a video so it can start playing immediately. It’s really a neat idea – streamed software!

Click-to-Run Office 365 ProPlus Only

The traditional MSI install may not be available to Office 365 ProPlus subscribers. Here’s part of a response to How do we Install Office 365 Pro Plus using MSI package? on the support forums:

Office 365 doesn’t provide the MSI installation package at present.

On the other hand it appears that Click-to-Run is not exclusive to Office 365 ProPlus. As described on the same Overview of Click-to-Run for IT Pros referred to above:

Click-to-Run is also available for the following retail products:

  • Office Professional 2013

However, I’m not 100% sure this document is correct. First of all, it states “Office Professional 2013” which is a slight variation on the “Office Professional Plus 2013” product name used on

Add-in Support for Click-to-Run

Why do you care what install method is used? The end product you get is slightly different. According to Click-to-Run: Known issues:

Many add-ins might not function as expected when used with Click-to-Run. You might see error messages stating that an add-in failed to load or couldn’t be found.

How to Tell If You’re Running ProPlus

Not sure if you’re running Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2013 Professional Plus? Check the About box in your Office Client. Here’s what my About boxes look like in Word 2013 for the two different installation types.



Click-to-Run: Known issues, Support, retrieved 4/4/2014


Overview of Click-to-Run, Microsoft TechNet, publish date listed July 16, 2012

OverViewOfClickToRun jj219427

Office 365 ProPlus, Products, retrieved 4/4/2014

Office365ProPlus sales FAQ

How do we Install Office 365 Pro Plus using MSI package?, microsoft Office 365 community forums, retreived 4/4/2014


Deployment methods for Office 2013, Microsoft TechNet, displayed publish date October 23, 2012

DeploymentMethods ee624360

How To Check Your Version of Office 2013,, January 2013

  1. Didn’t realize there were so many limitations with the click-to-run version. Great to know, thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks, Adam.
    I wanted to document the installation method because it’s pretty subtle. Also, I’m working with the Jive product team on our Outlook and Office add-ins and I wanted to double check the support statement on the two install methods.
    By the way, I think Click-to-run is really cool, in case it isn’t clear in the post above. I love how it starts immediately and downloads in the background. I don’t know of any other significant desktop software that provides such an efficient download and install experience. I also like how you’re always running the latest version like Chrome and Spotify, but without the notifications.

    • One of my frustrations with Office 365 is the lack of an ISO for those of us out in the boonies with intermittent or unreliable internet connections.

      It ONLY took three hours for my copy of Office 365 to install when my satellite was …misbehaving, but Microsoft ASSUMES that everyone has a reliable, high speed internet connection.

      I’ve also found that a number of the Office Apps are internet dependent, so they are useless to me because if the satellite isn’t working properly, then the Office Apps don’t work.

      It seems that Microsoft wants everyone to run a thin client machine, and then charge us for the privilege.

      If I wasn’t dependent on some 3rd party plugins for my business, I would have gleefully switched to LibreOffice years ago.

  3. Hi all,

    We have developed a .Net class library which can be called through an Excel vba code using the general method by registering my DLL and TLB with the COM component through MSI package. This Is working fine for Office 2013 professional. But when I try to run in Office 365 pro plus (installed version) its giving me error like this “ActiveX component can’t create object” on the time of call managed code in the VBA. Can you help me out to identify the solution? Will it work with office 365 pro plus?


  4. The blog post quotes “Click-to-Run: Known Issues” as saying “Many add-ins might not function as expected when used with Click-to-Run.”

    Yes, it says that. But that article specifically refers to Office 2010 CTR, not Office 2013. I have not seen any clear statement whether add-ins work in all versions of CTR Office 2013, or only some versions. I do know from my job that some customers with CTR Office 2013 successfully use our add-ins.

  5. Hi Stan,
    I expect some add-ins do work with Office 2010 and Office 2013 click-to-run versions. In fact, I haven’t come across any that don’t, personally. However, while explaining the concept, I wanted to share the Microsoft warning on the 2010 CTR products.

  6. I’ve been trying to work if “Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013” is available in “Click to Run” form

    OR if that is now ONLY available in “traditional” (.MSI) format.

    From what I’ve read I “think” that the “click to run” variant is now branded as “Office 365 ProPlus”.

    This is quite a confusing picture becase Click to Run used to be a deployment option – but not seems tied to the “365” branding.

    You post suggested you had a similar dilema on this :

    “Click-to-Run is also available for the following retail products:
    •Office Professional 2013
    However, I’m not 100% sure this document is correct. First of all, it states “Office Professional 2013″ which is a slight variation on the “Office Professional Plus 2013″ product name used on”

    >> Were you ever able to claify that point?

    • Al,
      I agree, the naming and licensing is very confusing. Licensing changes constantly. The only real answer comes from your Microsoft Sales Associate, often through a partner like Dell, CDW, Zones or another.

  7. Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Going through
    this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this.
    I will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good
    read. Thanks for sharing!

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