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Organizations use a wide array of tools to connect apps and processes together, including frameworks that automate other apps. To support these kinds of scenarios, we are pleased to announce the availability of the Microsoft 365 E3: Unattended License! This is a new license option for Office apps, which allows usage of Office client apps with service accounts or other non-user accounts, which is common for when executing automation processes. These processes may be unattended during their operation; whereas, leveraging traditional user accounts when running automation processes while unattended is not recommended.  IT admins deploying new or existing solutions that leverage this new license can choose to use update Office apps via the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel or Monthly Enterprise Channel updates. For pricing and availability information, contact a Microsoft sales representative or your reseller. 


It is important to note that this license for unattended use does not change the behavior or functionality of Office apps. They are generally designed to operate as end-user apps 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 apps. 


Additionally, Office apps are not specifically designed for unattended usage at scale. For more details, check out this helpful support article about unattended automation of Office. If you are considering building new unattended processes, consider these factors and guidelines for Office products outlined in the article. 


Where possible, we recommend that automation processes leverage product Application Programming Interfaces (API), such as 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 apps. 


The new Microsoft 365 E3: Unattended License provides new flexibility for a growing number of scenarios involving automation processes. 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 that Office within this scenario can provide. 


Requirements for using Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise with unattended RPA


These are the requirements for using Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise with unattended RPA:

  • The account running an RPA unattended task must have a license for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (unattended). The account can be a regular user account, a system/service account, or a robot account.

  • It’s only available for Office Apps for Windows.

  • It requires Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise version 2009 or later.


Enabling robotic process automation (RPA) scenarios 

For steps on how to enable RPA, check out this helpful Microsoft Docs article.  


What does it look like? 


Once you’ve activated the license, you can verify this directly from any Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise app by going to File > Account. Here’s a screenshot of an example:


M365 Apps for enterprise Subscription Product.png


Or, you can you find it under, “%LocalAppData%MicrosoftOfficeLicenses5Unattended.” 


Assigning licenses to devices in the Microsoft 365 admin center


To deploy the Microsoft 365 E3: Unattended License to devices, you simply purchase the required number of Microsoft 365 licenses and assign a license to a user in the Microsoft 365 admin center. To enable this functionality on a device, use the group policy

for currently installed devices or the applicable command in the command prompt window.


If user is signed in, but there is no RPA entitlement (license) associated with an account, the user will see the following message in the Office app: 


RPA license required screenshot.png


To learn more about unattended RPA with Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, click here.


Continue the conversation by joining us in the Microsoft 365 Tech Community! Whether you have product questions or just want to stay informed with the latest updates on new releases, tools, and blogs, Microsoft 365 Tech Community is your go-to resource to stay connected!

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

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