Hardening Microsoft Office 2016

Download ACSC Protect Hardening Microsoft Office 2016 (330K PDF), updated December 2017
First published 2016; updated December 2017


Workstations are often targeted by adversaries using malicious webpages, malicious email attachments and removable media with malicious content in an attempt to extract sensitive information. Hardening applications on workstations is an important part of reducing this risk.

This document provides guidance on hardening Microsoft Office 2016 – specifically Microsoft Excel 2016, Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 and Microsoft Word 2016. Before implementing the recommendations in this document, testing should be undertaken to ensure the potential for unintended negative impacts on business processes is reduced as much as possible.

This document is intended for information technology and information security professionals within organisations looking to undertake risk assessments or vulnerability assessments as well as those wishing to develop a hardened standard operating environment for workstations.

The Group Policy Administrative Templates for Microsoft Office 2016 referenced in this document can be obtained from Microsoft's TechNet. Once downloaded, the ADMX and association ADML files can be placed in C:\Windows\SYSVOL\domain\Policies\PolicyDefinitions on the Domain Controller and they will automatically be loaded in the Group Policy Management Editor. As Group Policy Administrative Templates for Microsoft Office are periodically updated by Microsoft, care should be taken to ensure the latest version is always used.

Table of contents


Australian government customers with questions regarding this advice can contact ASD Advice and Assistance.

Australian businesses and other private sector organisations seeking further information should contact CERT Australia.