Back in May, the Microsoft Office team announced that they would be adding Shared Computer support to the Office 365 Pro Plus suite (Link). Today they announced that this feature is now available for everyone. (Link).

By providing shared computer support, Microsoft has now lifted a barrier that previously prevented customers from deploying the Office Click-to-Run package in shared environment’s such as VDI or session based remote desktop scenarios. This is a common configuration in hospitals, calls centers or other environments where you might find a “hot desking” scenario.

An important distinction of the shared activation process is that it does not count against a user’s 5-copy-limit of available full MS Office installations. This can avoid any the inconvenience needing to consume one of the 5 locally installable copies.

To configure Office Pro Plus in shared computer mode, the process is pretty simple:

  • The computer must have an internet connection.  This is required so that MS Office can connect to the Office 365 activation servers.
  • Office must be deployed via the Office Deployment Tool to add additional customizations to the deployment XML which are required.

Once those prerequisites are met, the following lines must be added to the configuration.xml file to enable the shared computer activation:

<Display Level=”None” AcceptEULA=”True” />
<Property Name=”SharedComputerLicensing” Value=”1″ />

You can find more information on the details behind the shared activation feature here (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn782860(v=office.15).aspx)

With Shared Computer support, Microsoft has showing that it is continuing to remove barriers to ensuring that you have the best experience regardless of the device or environment in use.