Automatic Installation of Apache OpenOffice on Using the Windows Installer

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Documentation windows.png Windows related content

Documentation caution.png This document may no longer be completely valid for 3.x Also See: Create an unattended / silent install of 3 on the User Forum. Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010


Apache OpenOffice can be easily installed on a central location in a network. This How To shows which parameters and properties of the installation program can be used to cooperate with an existing corporate software distribution process. A re-packaging ("snapshot") is not required.

Documentation note.png Installation of Updates works correspondingly as long as the major version is the same (updating from 2.2 to 2.3, for example).

System Requirements

Apache OpenOffice 2.x distributes standard MSI files for installation on Windows platforms using the Windows Installer technology. Supported platforms are Windows 2000, Windows XP or Vista. It is strongly recommended to install the latest Service packs and all available Windows Updates before starting the installation.

Documentation note.png Some of the parameters mentioned below require Windows Installer version 3.0 or higher. If required, download this version from the Microsoft web pages.

Additionally, a software distribution program is needed to control the distribution of the software in the corporate environment. This is beyond the scope of this How To since their operation differs considerably from product to product. However, all of them can distribute MSI files in a network. The parameters required to control this will be described in this How To.

Documentation note.png If you are using a Terminal Server, you can install Apache OpenOffice using the same parameters as described below. Apache OpenOffice can be used by multiple users – provided the corresponding user profiles exist.

Downloading and Unpacking Apache OpenOffice

First step is to download the installation files for Apache OpenOffice. You can get them for free from Save the downloaded file in a folder of your choice. You will get one single executable file:


The actual file name may differ according to the selected language and software version.

This file contains the installation package in compressed format. It has to be unpacked first:

  1. Double-click the filename in the Explorer
  2. Click Next >
  3. Select the folder for unpacking, for instance, [/C:/OOo_Install C:\OOo_Install]
  4. Click Unpack
  5. Click Cancel to terminate the installation routine at this point.

If you would continue the installation routine, Apache OpenOffice would be installed for one user on this machine. However, the scope of this How To is a Silent or Unattended installation of Apache OpenOffice in a network. After unpacking you are safe to delete the downloaded exe file.

Unattended (Automatic) Installation

After unpacking, you will get a number of files, one of them being openofficeorg23.msi which is the central installation file. MSI files are installation programs that make use of the Windows Installer technology from Microsoft. There is a central installation utility called msiexec that manages the installation and can be controlled using parameters.

For a first test installation you should select a client that has no Apache OpenOffice installed:

Documentation note.png The user who starts the installation process must have administrator privileges.
  1. Open a command window (Start > Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt)
  2. Change to the folder with the unpacked installation files, for instance
    cd C:\OOo_Install
  3. To start an installation that requires no user interaction, issue the following command:
    start /wait msiexec /qn /norestart /i openofficeorg23.msi
Documentation note.png To view all parameters for msiexec issue the command: msiexec /?

The parameters used above are:

start /wait
Since installation will be performed in the background (no output on the screen) we do not know when the installation is completed and we can move on. By using start /wait in front of the msiexec command, the command line will pause any other task until the installation routine has finished. Then, the cursor will be visible again.
This is the Windows Installer utility
This parameter specifies that no user interface will be displayed during the installation: no progress bar, no dialog boxes, but also no error messages! Variations of this parameter are
/qb for a simple interface displaying only a progress bar in Windows Installer design
/qr for a reduced interface displaying only a progress bar in Apache OpenOffice design
Some installation programs attempt to reboot the system automatically after installation. This parameter avoids that. However, after installing new software under Windows it is generally recommended to reboot the system at the earliest convenience.
This is the parameter that starts the installation

After calling the command you either see a progress bar or nothing (depending on the /q parameter used). After the installation has finished, the cursor will reappear on the command line. Depending on the system this may take several minutes. We have just successfully performed our first unattended installation of Apache OpenOffice.

If you open the Windows start menu now, you will see an 2.0 entry in the Programs section, and you are ready to start This installation is for all users on that client. A separate user installation step is not required.

To deinstall Apache OpenOffice at a later time use the following command:

start /wait msiexec /qn /norestart /x openofficeorg20.msi

Using /x instead of /i starts the deinstallation process. After deinstallation you should reboot the system at the earliest convenience.

MSI Properties

This section might be invalid for OOo 3. See the Specification Document

The example installation above does not allow to change default settings like the installation path for Apache OpenOffice. To use other than the default settings you can use MSI properties that are specified when msiexec is called on the command line:

start /wait msiexec /qn /norestart /i openofficeorg20.msi PROPERTY1=Value1 PROPERTY2=Value2

The following overview lists the available properties.

Property Description and allowed values
SELECT_WORD Use Apache OpenOffice as default application for MS Word files?
  • 0: No
  • 1: Yes
SELECT_EXCEL Use Apache OpenOffice as default application for MS Excel files?
  • 0: No
  • 1: Yes
SELECT_POWERPOINT Use Apache OpenOffice as default application for MS Powerpoint files?
  • 0: No
  • 1: Yes
INSTALLLOCATION Installation path for Apache OpenOffice, enclosed in double quotes ("). If the path does not exist it will be created.
COMPANYNAME Name of the company that Apache OpenOffice should be registered to, enclosed in double quotes ("). Can stay empty.
USERNAME Name of the user that Apache OpenOffice should be registered to, enclosed in double quotes ("). Can stay empty.


This pair of properties controls which software components are to be installed.

ALL: Installs all Apache OpenOffice components (ADDLOCAL=ALL)

If ALL is not used, the core components have to be specified manually, as

ADDLOCAL=gm_Root, gm_Prg, gm_r_Files_2, gm_r_Files_3, gm_r_Files_4, gm_r_Files_5, gm_r_Files_6, gm_r_Files_7, gm_r_Files_8, gm_r_Files_9, gm_r_Fonts_OOo_Hidden

in addition to non-core modules that are to be installed.

The following list shows the components that need to be installed to install a given module:

gm_p_Wrt, gm_p_Wrt_Bin, gm_p_Wrt_Help
gm_p_Calc, gm_p_Calc_Bin, gm_p_Calc_Help, gm_p_Calc_Addins
gm_p_Draw, gm_p_Draw_Bin, gm_p_Draw_Help
gm_p_Impress, gm_p_Impress_Bin, gm_p_Impress_Help
gm_p_Base, gm_p_Base_Bin, gm_p_Base_Help
gm_p_Math, gm_p_Math_Bin, gm_p_Math_Help
Additional graphics filter
gm_Optional, gm_o_Grfflt
Test tool
gm_Optional, gm_o_Testtool
English language module
gm_Optional, gm_o_Oo_English
XSLT example filters
gm_Optional, gm_o_Xsltfiltersamples
Python UNO bridge
gm_Optional, gm_o_Pyuno
Email form letter
gm_Optional, gm_o_Pyuno, gm_o_Pymailmerge
Filter for mobile devices
gm_Optional, gm_o_Javafilter, gmo_jf_Palm, gmo_jf_Palm_Aportisdoc, gmo_jf_Pocketpc, gmo_jf_Pocketpc_Pocket_Word, gmo_jf_Pocketpc_Pocket_Excel
Quick starter
gm_Optional, gm_o_Quickstart
ActiveX control element
gm_Optional, gm_o_Activexcontrol
Windows Explorer Shell Extension
gm_Optional, gm_o_Winexplorerext
Documentation note.png The values must not be enclosed in quotes. If multiple components are listed they are separated by a comma (no spaces allowed). Note that the examples above contain spaces for screen layout reasons!

If multiple modules are installed that require a common component, the component only needs to be specified once, for example:

To install the Quick starter and ActiveX Control Element, the components would be:


and not


Always use ADDLOCAL=ALL and then specify the unwanted components using REMOVE to avoid missing required components.

Documentation note.png These parameters only need to be used on installation. Deinstallation works without these parameters.


Example 1

To install Apache OpenOffice with the following options

  • use Apache OpenOffice as the default application for DOC, XLS and PPT files (recommended if you want to open MS Office files with Apache OpenOffice seamlessly)
  • use C:\Open Office as the target installation folder
  • install all components except for the Database module (Base)

you have to issue the following command:

start /wait msiexec /qn /norestart /i openofficeorg20.msi SELECT_WORD=1 SELECT_EXCEL=1 SELECT_POWERPOINT=1 INSTALLLOCATION="C:\Open Office" ADDLOCAL=ALL REMOVE=gm_p_Base,gm_p_Base_Bin,gm_p_Base_Help

Example 2

To install Apache OpenOffice with the following options

  • do not use Apache OpenOffice as the default application for DOC, XLS and PPT files (for example, if you have MS Office already installed on your system)
  • use C:\OOo as the target installation folder
  • only install the Writer component

you have to issue the following command:

start /wait msiexec /qn /norestart /i openofficeorg20.msi SELECT_WORD=0 SELECT_EXCEL=0 SELECT_POWERPOINT=0 INSTALLLOCATION="C:\OOo" ADDLOCAL=gm_Root, gm_Prg, gm_r_Files_2, gm_r_Files_3, gm_r_Files_4, gm_r_Files_5, gm_r_Files_6, gm_r_Files_7, gm_r_Files_8, gm_r_Files_9, gm_r_Fonts_OOo_Hidden, gm_p_Wrt, gm_p_Wrt_Bin, gm_p_Wrt_Help

Documentation note.png Note that the example above contains spaces for screen layout reasons! The component list behind ADDLOCAL must be separated by commas only!
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