Office Clients

Last updated: August 15, 2022

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Overview: Office 365 ProPlus (Subscription) vs. Office LTSC 2021 (Volume-Licensed)

There are two versions of Microsoft Office available for use at the UW:

The recommended version to install is situational, as each version comes with unique pros and cons. That said, when at all possible, we recommend Office 365 ProPlus as it will always be the most up-to-date version of Office, including the latest features and accessibility improvements.

Using Shared UW NetIDs to Activate Office 365 ProPlus

UW Shared NetIDs should NEVER be used to activate Office 365 ProPlus in order to work around user license limitations. This can cause unintentional exposures of personal or protected data. Intentionally operating as a Shared UW NetID is allowed, but not when the intention is mainly to access personal or access-controlled data for another account and for which others with access to the Shared UW NetID should not have access to that data.

Support Expectations

When evaluating which version of Office to use, it may be helpful to understand that there is a spectrum of support provided depending on the selected version of Office and deployment channel for Office 365 ProPlus.

Support Levels (most to least)

  • Office 365 ProPlus – Monthly Channel
  • Office 365 ProPlus – Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)
  • Office 365 ProPlus – Semi-Annual Channel
  • Office LTSC 2021
  • Office 365 ProPlus – Monthly Channel (Targeted) aka Insider

Individual Deployments

Self-Supported Dedicated Workstation

When workstations are owned by the UW and self-supported, Office 365 ProPlus should be used. This is true for Macs and PCs.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

When workstations are not owned by the University of Washington, users should only use software they personally own or Office 365 ProPlus. It is a violation of terms to use Office LTSC 2021 on workstations not owned by the UW. This is true for Macs and PCs.

Departmental IT Deployments

Dedicated Workstations

When workstations are frequently accessed by one person on a consistent basis and a profile remains persistent, Office 365 ProPlus should be used. This is true for Macs and PCs.

Shared PC Workstations

When workstations are used by UW employees and students and profiles remain persistent (e.g. help desks, reception desks, studios, and research labs) we recommend using Office 365 ProPlus, installed using the Shared Computer Activation method. Although more complicated to deploy, this method has the advantage of not consuming any of a user’s five allowed Office installs.

Deployment Instructions

Shared Mac Workstations

When workstations are shared Mac workstations, we recommend Office LTSC 2021, activated via UW KMS, as Microsoft does not currently provide Shared Computer Activation for Macs. In some situations, Office 365 ProPlus may work but this should be evaluated based on a user’s specific needs.

Deployment Instructions

High Opportunity Cost Workstations

When workstations are in classrooms, teaching labs, and conference rooms where delays or failures in activation may have impacts to education or operations, we recommend using Office LTSC 2021 activated via UW KMS.

Activation Instructions

Mac Deployment

PC Deployment

Field Workstations

When workstations are anywhere where access to the UW network may be unavailable (e.g. ships, forests, in remote regions, or in regions where the Internet is heavily controlled by a country), we recommend using Office LTSC 2021 activated via UW MAK.

Activation Instructions

Mac Deployment

PC Deployment

Public Access Workstations

When workstations are owned by the UW but are not used exclusively by UW employees and students, such as those in libraries, these workstations MUST use Office LTSC 2021 activated via UW KMS.

Activation Instructions

Mac Deployment

PC Deployment

Remote Desktop Services

When workstations are used by UW employees and students, and profiles remain persistent, we recommend using Office 365 ProPlus. Although more complicated to deploy, this method has the advantage of not consuming any of a user’s five allowed Office installs.

Deployment Instructions