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distribution.dist

Sometimes an administrator needs to delegate deployment of software to members of his staff or he may have one custom installation that he uses for most of his users. By modifying the distribution.dist file within the Office Installer.mpkg package, he can pre-select, deselect, disable or enforce default options for installation.

For example, both Communicator and Messenger are included in the volume license edition of Office for Mac 2011. However, each application can communicate with only one version of Office Communications Server (OCS). If an organization has not yet upgraded its OCS from 2007 to 2010 then it will need to continue using Messenger 7.0 and the administrator may want to prevent installation of Communicator.

The distribution.dist file is located within the Office Installer.mpkg package. To access it simply right-click or Control-click the Office Installer.mpkg file and select Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. Then navigate to:

Modifying the distribution.dist file

Note: While this procedure is relatively benign, it is neither endorsed nor supported by Microsoft.

Modifying the distribution.dist file will require a plain text editor such as TextEdit found in /Applications or BBEdit or a Terminal text editor such as VI. To modify the default installation, such as choosing the behavior for installing Office Fonts, copy the entire Office Installer.mpkg package to a writable location such as your Desktop.

  1. Locate the distribution.dist file above and open it in your text editor of choice.
  2. Scroll to and note the list of available choices. These choices correspond to the choices available when double-clicking the Office Installer.mpkg package and clicking the Customize button.
  3. Immediately below this section, locate the corresponding choice for each choice in the list. The choice for fonts is:
  4. Locate these three important properties and values in the choice:

    start_selected="true"
    start_enabled="true"
    start_visible="true"

    The start_selected property affects whether or not a choice is selected or deselected and the start_enabled property affects whether or not the choice can be modified. By setting the values of these properties to either true of false, four install combinations are possible. An option can be enabled and optional, enabled and enforced, disabled and optional, and disabled and enforced.

    fonts: enabled and selectable (enabled and optional)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = true and start_enabled = true (enabled and optional)

    fonts: enabled but not selectable (enabled and enforced)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = true and start_enabled = false (enabled and enforced)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = true and start_disabled = false (disabled and optional)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = false and start_disabled = true (disabled and optional)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = false and start_disabled = false (disabled and enforced)

    Office Fonts: start_selected = false and start_disabled = false (disabled and enforced)

  5. The third property start_visible with a value set to false will completely hide Office Fonts altogether:

    fonts: removed

    Fonts: removed

  6. Save the distribution.dist file and test the installer by double-clicking it and verifying the correct choices are enabled or enforced correctly.
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