Introduction of Microsoft Office 2019

Microsoft Office 2010, and if required Visio 2010 and Project 2010, are the standards at DESY with regard to office software under Windows. After almost a decade of stable and cost efficient use of this software, DESY will transition to the new generation of MS Office products in fall 2020. The background for this is primarily that the manufacturer Microsoft will no longer support the old 2010 versions, but also to use products that are adequate to the changes of the time.

Current Status (28.10.2020): DESY-wide release for manual installations as given below

- FS: 26.10. (not CFEL and ZM) - done

- V:  28.10.

- FH: 29.10.

- M:   3.11.

- AP:  4.11.

Current Status (03.08.2020): Desy-wide pilot phase

  • Goal: Product tests for functionality and compatibility of existing documents, macros, formulas ...
  • Activation of 2019 products in DSM (Windows software distribution) for interested parties with the computer name via UCO
  • No prior financial approval is required in the pilot phase.
  • IMPORTANT: The products installed during the pilot phase will probably have to be uninstalled later and replaced by the final DSM packages.
  • Anticipated general release: September 2020.
  • Important: Sharing delayed due to problems in the interaction between Outlook, Zimbra Connector and Zimbra Server.
  • Then with prior financial approval (procedure to be agreed).
Who can I contact in case of any questions?

Please feel free to contact the UCO with all questions, suggestions and comments.

What are the known problems? (Status: 11.06.2020)

Zimbra Connector für Outlook (ZCO)

When changing individual appointments of a serial appointment in html format via the Zimbra Web Interface (, the html formatting of the appointment is lost when synchronizing to Outlook and the appointment is converted to "plain text" format.

Zimbra has not yet been able to specify a date when this behavior can be expected to be corrected.


open old xls files

When opening old xls files (probably older than 2010) cell formats may not be transferred; cell contents are preserved.

- Open xls files with Excel 2010 before switching to Office 2019 and save as xlsx file
- Open xls-files with LibreOffice if necessary and save them as xlsx-file - but ATTENTION: The contents of these files may change if special features are used.

Why is it necessary to transition?

The reason for the upcoming change is the discontinuation of support for Office 2010 and the associated products Project 2010 and Visio 2010 by the manufacturer Microsoft.

By when must the change be made?

On 13.10.2020 the support of Office 2010 by Microsoft ends. Until then all 2010 installations must be replaced by 2019 products.

What packages will there be and what will they cost?

The costs listed below are one-time purchase prices, i.e. explicitly no annual rent to be paid.

package content cost
MS Office Standard 2019 Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint ~ 240,-
MS Office Professional 2019 Wie "Standard" plus Access (Database)1 ~ 330,-
MS Project 2019   ~ 370,-
MS Visio 2019 Standard   ~ 165,-
MS Visio 2019 Professional   ~ 315,-


1Note: There are further differences in the features of the editions, but these are essentially not relevant in the DESY environment; for a product comparison of the Office editions and other minor differences in detail, please refer to the corresponding Microsoft-page. In principle, it is possible that minor differences will only become apparent when the Office versions are used, since Microsoft does not list all details on its above-mentioned page either.

Can I still install Office, Project and Visio 2019 via DSM?

Yes - but as before, only after applying for cost approval and the associated activation via Asset Management System (AMS).


Why can't I see MS Office in DSM?

MS Office as a package may not be immediately visible and installable in DSM because it requires a prior application for cost approval and the associated activation via Asset Management System (AMS).

Why do I have to apply for Office 2019 via AMS?

Unfortunately, Microsoft raised the costs of its products some time ago for non-university institutions significantly - for Office Professional from about 80 euros per installation to about 330 euros. For DESY it is therefore essential for cost reasons to depart from the previous generous installation policy in order to avoid unnecessary license costs in the high six-figure range.

What installable alternatives are available?
package alternative note cost
MS Office Standard 2019

LibreOffice (DSM-package)

OnlyOffice (see next FAQ entry)

no outlook-equivalent-> Thunderbird (DSM-package) -
MS Office Professional 2019

LibreOffice (DSM-package)

OnlyOffice (see next FAQ entry)

no outlook-equivalent-> Thunderbird (DSM-package) -
MS Project 2019 ProjectLibre (DSM-package) - -
MS Visio 2019 LibreOffice, (DSM-package) - -

Note: If 100% compatibility with MS Office products is required, MS Office products should generally be used.

What online alternatives are there?

In the DESY storage cloud - Sync and Share - you can also edit documents, tables and presentations with the integrated OnlyOffice. Please note that you must first be unlocked to use "Sync and Share", the necessary steps are described on Sync and Share.

What should I use: Microsoft, Libre or Only Office?

As usual, the question of which of the three office products is used depends on the requirements - therefore only some comparatively general information can be given here.

Microsoft Office is recommended under the following conditions:

  • 100% compatibility with regard to the document format is required, for example, because documents from other institutions have to be processed, which in turn use Microsoft Office native document formats.
  • Other applications only work with Microsoft Office.
  • You use many / extensive macros under MS Office or program in VBA.
  • You use Outlook to a considerable extent - for example, as a hub for e-mail, calendars and tasks, or to coordinate several people.
  • You use PowerPoint to a considerable extent - for example for elaborate presentations in a scientific environment.
  • You use Excel to a considerable extent - for example for complex tables, conditional formatting, ...
  • If you use Word with an external formula editor.
  • You work in workgroups using the tracking feature in MS Office.
  • You work with NX (CAD) and exchange data with Excel.
  • You work with TeamCenter and use its requirements management module (output in Word).

Libre Office is recommended under the following conditions:

  • Cost aspect.
  • You want to give Open Source Software a chance.
  • You are using other programs for E-Mail & Calendar than Outook.
  • You rarely or never exchange documents with others using MS Office, even if only simple documents.

Only Office is recommended under the following conditions:

  • You want to work with several people at the same time on a document, a table or a presentation.
  • You want to have browser-based access to the current document without problems and, if necessary, always with other people.
Can I have Office 2010 and Office 2019 installed at the same time?

No - with the change to Office 2019, we are also changing to the so-called 64-bit version of Office, following a recommendation by Microsoft and the general trend - this in turn cannot be installed together with the old 32-bit Office 2010 version.

If necessary, DSM will ask you to uninstall the old Office 2010.

What about the other 2010 products (Project, Visio)?

The 2010 versions of Microsoft Project and Visio must also be uninstalled - DSM will prompt you to do this if necessary.

Are Office 2010 documents compatible to Office 2019?

The document formats - docx, xlsx, pptx - themselves have remained the same, so there should be no problems when using Office 2010 documents in Office 2019.

Conversely, however, problems can occur if a document created with Office 2019 contains new functionality that is only available in Office 2019 and that cannot be displayed in Office 2010.

It has been observed, however, that when using very old files from before 2010, in this case Excel files of format xls, errors occurred when transferring the format (see also the section "Known Problems" at the bottom of the page).

Is Office 2019 compatible with other programs?

The cooperation with other programs depends on both programs: Office as well as the other programs - new versions of the other programs may have to be used (and obtained).

This is especially true if so-called "add-ins" are used, which "hook" directly into Office, i.e. can be used directly from Office applications. These add-ins must a) be basically compatible with Office 2019 and b) be in the so-called 64-bit format. The first way to solve problems would be to ask the manufacturer about a possible new version of his add-in in these two points.

Do I need Office for Skype?

Skype can still be used free of charge via download from the Skype-Website - only if "Skype for Business" is needed would you would have to use Office 2019 Professional. However, this should not be necessary at DESY or in the DESY environment, because the need for "Skype for Business" is not apparent, see a comparison of the two Skype versions here.

Will my Outlook data be transferred?

Yes - Outlook 2010 content is preserved on the computer where Office 2019 is installed, so there is no need to resynchronize the mailbox.

What about Office for Apple computers?

Office 2019 is also available for Mac's (Apple computers with at least macOS 10.14), at DESY in the "Office Mac Standard" edition - i.e. with the applications Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint (corresponds to "Microsoft Office 2019 Standard" under Windows).


This software also has to be purchased via the AMS and approved by the cost center managers first. After activation, the software is then installed via the new Mac software distribution Munki, in contrast to the previous installation procedure.