Category Archives: Profiles

What’s New? New “What’s New” Office 2016 Suppression Key

• Notification that one setting can suppress What’s New for the entire Office suite
• Changed to reflect new 15.34 key to suppress What’s New dialogs by a boolean
• Update to OneNote now using the same OUIWhatsNewShonItemIds key instead of its own ONWhatsNewShownItemIds key

My previous post, Not much, what’s new with you?, showed how to suppress the “What’s New” banners on updated software versions of the Office 2016 Suite.  While it worked, it _was_ work to get the specific preference key value to block the latest banner from appearing.  Due to the nature of how the values were dynamically created at build time it wasn’t known what those values were until the software was downloaded, installed, launched, then examine the preference file for the new value of OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink.  Blah.

Our good friends at Microsoft recognized the madness and worked on a way to make the suppression easier and more predictable for us admins.  As of version 15.32 there is a new key that takes an array of ints that can be added to the mobileconfig profile —  OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds.  The previous key OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink is still needed to suppress the What’s New dialogs prior to 15.32.

Good News, Bad News, Better News, Best News, and Bestest News

The Good News is that the values of OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds are predictable. It starts at 1 and increases by 1 for every new feature that is to be listed in a What’s New dialog box.  The Bad News is that each application can have its own number of new features to display, so knowing how many values isn’t known ahead of time. The Better News is that there is a bug (VSO #1476177 – Give admins a better way to turn off the What’s New dialog for O365 users) reported by our same Microsoft friends to recognize a boolean to “Don’t show me any more What’s New dialogs for any new versions ever.”  The Bestest News is that the new boolean value coming in version 15.34 can be set in the key ShowWhatsNewOnLaunch to be -bool false in the domain for the entire suite.  No need for individual application domain settings to suppress What’s New dialogs. That feature is on track to be part of the 15.34 release on May 16th.

So, until May 16th, you can add a list of values to the OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds key to suppress dialogs until the boolean value is respected.  The array must be a complete list meaning you can’t just add a value of 10 and have that mean block all values 1-10.

Each application domain (,,,, and will need the values added for OUIWhatsNewShownItemIds. The easiest way would be to add these values to the existing mobileconfig profiles from Not much, what’s new with you? and modify it like this example for Word. But come version 15.34 just use the new key in the domain and call it a night.

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Office 2016 Mac admin resource links

Below is a gathering of all the discoveries fellow Mac admins have documented regarding Office 2016 for Mac; both Office 365 and Volume License varieties.  This post will be updated as new issues are made known.

Discussion and discovery on these topics and all things Microsoft Office are on-going on the Macadmins Slack team in channel #microsoft-office.  You can get an invite to join us on Slack by going to

Office 2016 Direct Download links – Straight from the source and curated by Paul Bowden at Microsoft, this lists all downloads and updates since the first non-preview release on 7/9. The red table lists latest versions available, the green table lists all the permalinks, and the black table has links to all releases and KB articles, plus extra information like build date.

Demystify Office 2016 for Mac – in Slack/Twitter @clburlison – use this excellent guide to distinguish the different installation/license/upgrade options for Office 2016.

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac serialization changes – in Slack @macmule

Suppressing first launch “What’s New” for Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, Word & OneNote, and Outlook’s account setup: – in Slack @tvsutton – in Slack @eholtam

Volume License installer issues: – being addressed in the December release – in Slack @tvsutton – @tvsutton

Outlook 2016 setup script: – in Slack @talkingmoose – My fork addressing running the setup script on first launch of Outlook.

Office 2016 Packaging: – in Slack @franton

Suppress Microsoft AutoUpdate launch warning – needs to be run per-user – in Slack @erik

Remove Office 2011 script (and some shared 2016 bits like license, MAU, etc.) – in Slack @talkingmoose

Administering Office 2016 for Mac presentations by @talkingmoose – PSU 2015 – University of Utah 2015 (QT) – University of Utah 2015 (Streaming)

Fun with Microsoft Office 2016 – in Slack @hunty

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Not much, what’s new with you?

Update: See this post for new information on changes to suppressing What’s New dialogs starting with 15.34.

Update: As expected the `OUIWhatsNewLastShowLink` key is being incremented to display new features on subsequent releases. The profiles below will contain the latest values for the currently released versions.

Profiles for Office 2016 version 15.31

Office 2016 offers to show users “What’s New” on first launch.  Tim Sutton has a writeup on how to suppress the initial dialogs on his blog.  However, with version 15.14 of the Office apps there’s new “What’s New”s for Outlook and Powerpoint that sets a key not mentioned in the aforementioned post to suppress the new dialog.  This only affects Powerpoint and Outlook for this version.  Word and Excel didn’t present new prompts on launch this time around.

Along with the “What’s New” keys there are some others of interest:

kSubUIAppCompletedFirstRunSetup1507 – boolean – Controls the original “What’s New” dialog and Office 365 activation prompt on first launch

OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink – string – Controls the “What’s New” dialog on first launch for new prompts offered in subsequent version.

FirstRunExperienceCompletedO15 – boolean – Controls offer to import mailbox or setup an email account. (That’s a cap o15, not zero15)

SendAllTelemetryEnabledboolean – Control the offer to send crash reports to Microsoft

ONWhatsNewShownItemIds – array – Specific to OneNote this value is an array of integers that appears to increment haphazardly.  For just OneNote, this replaces the OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink value.

OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink values

Below are profiles that will suppress the “What’s New” and disable crash reports prompts. These examples are set to “Force” the setting as attempts using Set-Once with a timestamp didn’t seem to be effective.

Outlook – suppress “What’s New” only (see below for suppressing Inbox migration)
Outlook – suppress “What’s New” and mailbox setup*





*There is also a key for Outlook that will suppress the dialog to offer to migrate or setup an email account.  That key is a boolean FirstRunExperienceCompletedO15.  That’s a captial o, not a zero at the end of the key.

 FirstRunExperienceCompletedO15 suppresses this

To extract the values of the OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink I have a script that I run after installing and running each new application.  That script is at OUIWhatsNewLastShownLink Script

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Profile Behavior Changes in Yosemite

Forced. Often. Once. If you’ve used MCX and/or Profiles before you’re familiar with those terms and what they mean when a Profile is installed on a system.

I thought I did, too, until I stumbled upon a fundamental change of the rules in how Yosemite now behaves in the case of Often. Granted, anything besides “Forced” isn’t necessarily supported by Apple as their own Profile Manager tool only spits out Force management frequency profiles. Previously, adjustments could be made to Profiles to allow for a less heavy handed frequency of management. It appears our grace period for one type of manual change is over.  A tool to help create custom Profiles is called mcxToProfile.  Check out Tim Sutton’s documentation and tool — mcxToProfile as we’ll be using it later in this example.

See for yourself
As an easily observable example lets use a simple preference structure.
First, create a plist file with the keys you want to manage.

 defaults write setting1 -string foobar
 defaults write setting2 -bool false
 defaults read
 setting1 = foobar;
 setting2 = 0;

Use Tim’s mcxToProfile tool to create a Profile to manage the domain “often”. --plist ~/Library/Preferences/ --identifier MyGreatApp --manage Often

Copy the profile to a test machine or VM running Yosemite and install it.

sudo profiles -IF MyGreatApp.mobileconfig

You can see the preferences have been applied by running

defaults read

Make some preference changes after the Profile was installed:

 defaults write setting3 -string Chickens
 defaults write setting4 -int 42
 defaults read
  setting1 = foobar;
  setting2 = 0;
  setting3 = Chickens;
  setting4 = 42;

Log out and back into OS X and read the plist again.

 defaults read
  setting1 = foobar;
  setting2 = 0;

The user’s settings have been eradicated even though they aren’t the keys being managed.

For a real world example lets look at how it works when we manage the Dock with a profile.

First, create a plist file with the keys you want to manage. This example sets the Dock to anchor to the right side of the screen.

defaults write ~/Desktop/ orientation -string right

That will result in a plist that only has the key specified in the defaults command:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

Create a Profile to manage the domain “often”. --plist ~/Desktop/ --identifier MyDockSettings --manage Often

The payload content in the resulting .mobileconfig is


Copy the profile to a test machine or VM running Yosemite and install it.

sudo profiles -IF MyDockSettings.mobileconfig

When the Profile payload applies you will see the Dock quit and reappear pinned to the right of the screen. Now make a manual change to the Dock, for instance, drag and drop a couple apps to the Dock. Log out and back into OS X. The apps you added are gone. The Dock has reverted to the way it was when the Profile was installed. This will happen every time you log out and back into OS X.

So now what?
An informal survey in the IRC channel ##osx-server on Freenode showed that the Often management frequency isn’t used that..well..often. The only admins in the know of that frequency would be those that use Tim’s mcxToProfile tool or hand craft their own. But if you happen to have that frequency there are a couple options.

  • Change the frequency. Set-Once with a timestamp still appears to function correctly (for now). And Forced should work as long as the application you’re trying to manage uses the OS’s APIs for reading preferences.
  • Use a different tool. Use outset to run scripts to make the change on the frequency you need. LaunchAgents or LaunchDaemons are viable as well.

tl;dr – Don’t use Often in Yosemite. Profiles set to apply “Often” reset setting changes made after the profile was installed every “often” time it is applied. If a plist didn’t exist before the Profile was installed the resulting plist contains only the keys that are in the profile — collateral damaged keys be damned.

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