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Conversion with Microsoft 365 – Local installations in times of online services

In this Article
    One problem that companies often face concerns the long-term use and archiving of MS Office documents. Our Office conversion offers a tailor-made solution for documents with long-term relevance. Conversion into formats such as PDF, PDF/A, TIFF, JPEG preview images and XPS (from 2007) not only guarantees the consistency of documents, but also ensures their long-term use and archiving. This makes our conversion server an indispensable hub for the efficiency and long-term integrity of company documents.

    We require a local installation of the latest Office package for our conversion servers. This is a challenge in times of rental models and online services. Although Office 365 was initially only a licensing method, it now has its own versioning due to regular updates. In the past, we distinguished between fine-grained Office 365 versions and coarser versioned Office packages. The latter were not constantly updated – ideal for use on our conversion servers.

    Windows und Office Support Matrix
    Now many of these Office packages will no longer be available. Microsoft has already discontinued support or will do so shortly. It seems that our servers can no longer be equipped with Office. What is behind this and how do we deal with it?


    What actually is …


    Logo Microsoft 365
    Microsoft 365 is the rental model from Microsoft that combines all important applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and much more. The subscription model always guarantees the latest updates and security features. As a user, you must allow these regular updates, otherwise the installation will stop running at some point. A Microsoft 365 license also allows you to work with Office apps in the cloud – OneDrive, Teams, SharePoint.


    Logo Office 365 (bis 2019)
    Office 365 is still often referred to as Office 365. Office 365 was the predecessor to Microsoft 365. Since April 2020, Microsoft has expanded this package to a total of around 50 applications under the name Microsoft 365.


    And now to the server …

    In the early days of Office 365, the frequent updates made it difficult for customers to use it on a server. They tried to stick with a classic, local installation.

    There are certain licenses from Microsoft for this:

    1. Office LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel):

    There are currently 2019 and 2021 versions. LTSC versions are functionally stable over a longer period of time and compatible with a wider range of Office 365 versions. Security updates are of course still necessary (usually once a month).

    This packaging is the ideal equipment for our conversion servers.

    2. KMS activation (Microsoft Key Management Service):

    Industrial customers do not buy individual licenses, but volume licenses. They can activate or deactivate licenses via KMS. Office LTSC (server licenses) can also be activated via KMS.

    3. Office E3 – Unattended License:

    Even if there are LTSC licenses that at least guarantee constant software for a few months or even years, it is not said that these can be used for Office automation of all kinds. Licenses could be saved this way. There are unattended licenses for the automation of Office (without supervision).

    4. Office 2019 and 2021:

    Yes, they still exist: pure single-user licenses. But they are not available to industrial customers as volume licenses.


    Which license should our customer use on the server?

    We advise you to start with Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) licenses! With regular, usually monthly, security updates, these packages are very suitable for our conversion servers.

    As far as we know, such a license can also be activated within a company volume license.


    What comes after Office 2021 LTSC?

    Support for Office LTSC 2021 will end in October 2026 at the latest. But there will be a follow-up version after that!

    Further information can be found here. As soon as there is news from Microsoft, we will of course take a closer look again.

    Screenshot Microsoft Support

    An alternative: Microsoft Office Online Converter

    SEAL Systems’ online converter for Microsoft Office: OneDrive provides a service for converting Office files in the cloud. Conversion servers from SEAL Systems can use this service – even without a local installation of an Office package on the computer.


    Further questions?

    Do you have further questions converting Office documents? Feel free to send us your questions!