Office 365 Shortcut Name Change

A client firm experienced an issue with a broken Start Menu after updating Office 365 clients. The firm had several Office applications such as Word, Excel, and OneNote pinned to the Start Menu and Taskbar.

After looking into the issue, I found that the new Office365 ProPlus version changed the shortcut names from Excel 2016.lnk to Excel.lnk. That is, the shortcut names don’t have year numbers anymore. Except OneNote, where 2016.lnk still exists, all other apps have been updated. This applies at least to Office 365 version 1803.

Why would Microsoft do that? We can’t answer that question here, other than “because Microsoft,” but we can help you update your environment to accommodate the new names.

Here are new shortcut names below. Notice OneNote still has 2016 in the name!

<start:Group Name=”Office Applications”>
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”2″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Excel.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”2″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\OneNote 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”4″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Outlook.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”4″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PowerPoint.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”0″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Skype for Business.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”0″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Word.lnk” />
</start:Group>

Old syntax was:

<start:Group Name=”Office Applications”>
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”2″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Excel 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”2″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\OneNote 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”4″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Outlook 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”4″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\PowerPoint 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”0″ Row=”2″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Skype for Business 2016.lnk” />
<start:DesktopApplicationTile Size=”2×2″ Column=”0″ Row=”0″ DesktopApplicationLinkPath=”%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Word 2016.lnk” />
</start:Group>

If you haven’t deployed a custom Start Menu before, it’s a pretty simple process. First pin all the applications to the Start Menu and run the below command line in PowerShell to export the layout and then deploy with SCCM or Group Policy:

Export-StartLayout -path C:\Windows\Temp\StartMenuLayout.xml

Testing these updates will need to be part of an ongoing process to make sure Microsoft has not changed anything related to the shortcuts with each new release.

Shortcuts have to reside in this location in order to call it from a custom Start Menu layout xml file:
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

This location within Event Viewer is a good place to start troubleshooting Start Menu layout issues:
Event Viewer –> Application and Services Logs –> Microsoft –> Windows –> ShellCommon-StartLayoutPopulation –> Operational