I've searched here and all over support.microsoft.com without success to find the answer to the following question:

I am looking to purchase Office 2011 from either Amazon or directly from MS. With either the downloadable or disc version of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac (e.g., Home and Student edition), can I selectively install only Word and Excel? I do not want/need Outlook, PowerPoint, Messenger, or Remote Desktop (all of which are included with all editions of Office for Mac according to the descriptions). I know this is possible with the Windows version of the same, but I wanted to verify for the Mac version as I've never used it.

Furthermore, I don't want to enter my admin password to install Office (the implication is that with the password it isn't an isolated installation as a .DMG, for example, but that it is installing components throughout the system). I do not want any extraneous MS processes, applications, or components running on my laptop (Macbook Pro Retina 2012, running Mavericks). Does the installation require an admin password?

2 Answers 2


You can customize the Office installation, but I do not recall if that includes the ability to not install specific applications or not. Look for the "Customize..." button in the installer.

The installer does require your admin password because it writes to specific system folders (as appropriate) which require administrator access. There is no avoiding that.

However, there is good news: Office for Mac does not store your password, and will not install any background processes that would slow down your computer. Despite its reputation and many people's inherent dislike of anything Microsoft, Office for Mac is a relatively good "citizen" of the Mac community.

  • I'm encouraged that you say no background processes are installed. Is this from first-hand experience or can you point me to the discussion on it?
    – jjwebster
    Nov 6, 2013 at 18:49
  • My own experience using Office since around 2004. You can easily check this for yourself by looking in your System Preferences » User & Groups » Login Items plus checking in the launchd folders: /Library/LaunchAgents/, /Library/LaunchDaemons/, and ~/Library/LaunchAgents/. The only Microsoft entry is /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist which runs once when one of the Office apps launches to check that it is licensed, and then exits. You might also find this helpful to tame Word's UI clutter tuaw.com/2012/02/13/reduce-visual-clutter-in-microsoft-word
    – TJ Luoma
    Nov 7, 2013 at 19:18
  • Based on your comments, I purchased and downloaded Ofice for Mac. The installer allows for reasonable customization and although it does as for a password, I believe you are absolutely right that it behaves well. Also, excellent Tuaw article. Thanks. Those tips definitely helped Word look more "Mac-like".
    – jjwebster
    Nov 8, 2013 at 13:39
  • @TJLuoma is correct because I just did this this afternoon. In the 4th step of the installation process, "Installation Type", you can click the "Custom Install" button on the lower left and then select which applications you want to install.
    – Jim
    Dec 17, 2016 at 2:18

During installation, you can choose to install specific applications. Click on the "Customize" button in the installer. I always go for custom installations when I can; for Office:Mac, I don't install the Microsoft Document Connection since I don't use Sharepoint.

The administrator password is required to install Office, as with pretty much any modern Mac application, because Office:Mac writes to /Library. The days of drag-and-drop Mac installers are all but gone except for the most trivial of applications. This is a system dialog and not an Office:Mac dialog, so the installer or the individual applications within Office:Mac never see your administrator password. In the future, if you want to fully delete Office:Mac 2011, this article explains exactly what gets stored where and how to delete it.

Outlook is not included with all editions of Office:Mac 2011. It is only included with the Home & Business Edition, not the Home & Student Edition. (I realize that you don't want it; I'm including this information here for others who might read this question and get confused.)

After installation has completed, you will be asked if you want Microsoft to check for updates automatically. If you do this, you will have one process that runs on your Mac: "Microsoft AUDaemon". If you prefer not to let the auto-updater do its job, Microsoft generally issues updates on the second Tuesday of every month, and you can check for updates manually by going to Help -> Check for Updates in any Office:Mac application.

  • Thanks for the answer. I should point out that Outlook is included in all editions; you just need the appropriate license key to use it. This is according to Microsoft's website: support.microsoft.com/kb/2458999 See below the chart comparing the versions. I believe it will permit you to run Outlook with a 30-day free trial (which I read on a different website that I cannot locate right now). This is unverified by me, however, as I purchased The Home & Business edition.
    – jjwebster
    Nov 8, 2013 at 13:38

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