Welcome Mac Admins!

The Office-Reset tool was designed to work in both consumer and commercial environments. At its most basic level, Office-Reset is simply a collection of payload-less packages that run a series of Terminal commands via zsh. All of these are wrapped into a distribution package which is both signed and notarized.

Download options

The standard download package is designed to run interactively via the installer GUI. This is a good option for first line technicians that are remoted directly into the users' desktop. If you're looking for a version of the tool to publish in your Self Service catalog, you have a number of options. Typically, you would want to advertise the Factory Reset Package and/or Complete Removal Package. If you need something more granular, you can download app-level reset packages from this page. The scripts are identical across all packages, but the Distribution.xml has been modified so that the appropriate checkboxes are pre-selected for command-line execution via sudo installer. If you have a specific customization need, you can use the -applyChoiceChangesXML method, or modify the Distribution.xml and re-package.

Factory Reset vs. Complete Removal

Factory Reset removes all user-preferences, group and per-app containers. It removes temporary caches, keychain entries and mailbox content. Essentially, it just leaves behind the app bundles in /Applications and supporting tools such as MAU and computer-level agents. Complete Removal goes one step further by also removing apps, launch agents/daemons, and MAU. It is designed for scenarios where you want to completely remove every trace of Office from a Mac, such as a lab computer where you're performing version and UI behavior testing. Use https://macadmins.software to find specific builds of Office.

Automatic generation detection

The tool has automatic detection for Office 2016, 2019, and 2021 generations - which also includes Office 365 support. The tool understands both CDN and Mac App Store-based installs. If the tool detects that the Mac is running an ancient build such as 16.9, it will automatically update it to the latest 16.16 build, which is of the same 2016 generation. Alternatively, a Mac running Office 16.24 will be updated to the latest modern generation build. in other words, the tool won't invalidate a license by downloading the wrong Office generation.

Plug-ins and templates

One of the largest causes of Office problems is outdated third-party plugs-ins and templates. For this reason, the Office-Reset tool will automatically remove these in an attempt to restore Office back to a good working state. This includes Cisco WebEx and Zoom plug-ins (Outlook), Adobe's PDF Maker plug-in (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and user-created templates.

Behind the scenes

The scripts use nscurl to download the packages from the Microsoft CDN (via officecdnmac.microsoft.com). If the network setup doesn't allow the machine to access the CDN, a warning will be logged in /var/log/install.log and the tool will proceed to the next command. Downloaded update packages are stored in /Users/Shared/OnDemandInstaller. To prevent tampering, the scripts verify that the downloaded PKGs are wholesome through two mechanisms 1) exact byte size match between what the CDN advertises versus the file on disk 2) the package is signed with the official Microsoft developer certificate.

If you need to understand more about how Office-Reset works, feel free to review the preinstall and postinstall scripts with a tool such as Pacifist or Suspicious Package.