Organizations use a widening array of tools to connect applications and processes together, including frameworks that automate other applications. To complement this, we are pleased to announce a new license option will be coming soon for Office applications to support these kinds of scenarios: the Microsoft 365 E3 – Unattended License. This license permits usage of Office client applications with service or other non-user accounts, which is common for automation process execution. These automation processes may be unattended during their operation, where leveraging traditional user accounts is not best practice. Administrators deploying new or existing solutions that leverage this license can choose to use updating Office applications, within the semi-annual or monthly channel of updates. This new license is now available – for pricing and availability information, contact your reseller or Microsoft sales representative.
It is important to note that this license for unattended use does not change the behavior or functionality of Office applications. Office applications have been generally designed to operate as end-user applications – and will have known limitations in unattended use cases. For example, the Office user experience may occasionally feature new updates to its user interface that can change the behavior of broader automation processes. As we work to improve overall accessibility of the products, the ordering and behavior of accessibility capabilities may change in ways that impact broader usage in automation workflows. These various updates and changes are part of improving the product for a broad audience, but may at times inhibit fully predictable unattended automation of Office applications.
In addition, Office applications have not been specifically designed for unattended usage at scale. For more details, see this article on the support guidelines for unattended use cases. If you are considering building new unattended processes, consider these factors and guidelines for Office products that are highlighted in the linked article.
Where possible, we recommend that automation processes leverage product APIs like Microsoft Graph to drive products wherever possible. Microsoft Graph features hundreds of APIs for accessing relevant organizational data, including files, mail, calendars, and much more. For example, extensive APIs with Microsoft Excel allow for the use of workbook models and calculations with custom cell inputs in broader applications.
The new Microsoft 365 E3 – Unattended License provides new flexibility for a growing number of scenarios involving processes, and is now available. As you consider new scenarios for unattended automation, this license can provide a new option for working with productivity data and tools, and we hope you explore the broader capabilities and limitations that Office within this scenario can provide.