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Unlicensed Product and activation errors in Office

This article is for PC users. Got a Mac? See Troubleshoot Mac issues.

Office periodically checks to make sure that your Office installation is licensed correctly. This process is called activation. If activation is successful, you can continue to use Office with all features enabled.

If activation fails, Office eventually enters reduced functionality mode and displays (Unlicensed Product) or (Non-commercial use) (Unlicensed Product) in the title bar, and most buttons and features are disabled (grayed out). Reduced functionality mode helps prevent software piracy while still allowing you to view and print your Office files.

My product key stopped working

Tip: Do you need to edit Office documents immediately? You can use online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for free at Office.com. To learn more, see Get started at Office.com.

Common fixes

Here are some simple steps that can often fix activation issues.

Select a heading below to expand it and view the steps.

If these settings aren't correct, Office activation might fail. Follow the steps below for your operating system.

Windows 10
  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  3. Select Date and time settings.

  4. Select Set time automatically and, if shown, Set time zone automatically. If you don't have the option to set the time zone automatically, make sure your local time zone is shown in Time zone.

  5. Restart any Office app.

Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  3. Select Change date and time settings.

  4. If the date or time is wrong, select Change date and time and correct the date and time settings.

  5. If the time zone is wrong, select Change time zone and select your local time zone.

  6. Restart any Office app.

Windows 7
  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  3. Select Change date and time settings.

  4. If the date or time is wrong, select Change date and time and correct the date and time settings.

  5. If the time zone is wrong, select Change time zone and select your local time zone.

  6. Restart any Office app.

Tip: In Windows 7, you can synchronize your computer clock with an Internet time server to keep the computer clock up to date. To do this, select the date or time in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, and then select Change date and time settings. Select the Internet Time tab, select Change settings, select Synchronize with an Internet time server, and then select Update now.

Running Office as administrator helps fix permission issues that might cause Office activation to fail. Follow the steps below for your operating system.

Windows 10 step-by-step

  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. Press the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen.

  3. Type an application name, like Word. The Word program icon appears in the search results.

  4. Right-click the Word icon, and select Run as administrator.

  5. Select Yes to allow Office to run as administrator.

Windows 8.1 step-by-step

  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. In Windows 8.1, right-click the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen, and then select Search.

  3. Type an application name, like Word. The Word program icon appears in the search results.

  4. Right-click the Word icon, and select Run as administrator.

  5. Select Yes to allow Office to run as administrator.

Windows 8 step-by-step

  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. In Windows 8, move your mouse to the upper-right corner of your screen to open the charms bar, and then select the Search icon.

  3. Type an application name, like Word. The Word program icon appears in the search results.

  4. Right-click the Word icon, and select Run as administrator.

  5. Select Yes to allow Office to run as administrator.

Windows 7 step-by-step

  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. Press the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen.

  3. In the Search programs and files box, type an application name, like Word. The Word program icon appears in the search results.

  4. Right-click the Excel icon, and select Run as administrator.

  5. If prompted, select Yes to allow Office to run as administrator.

Sometimes Office prompts you to activate by signing in using an email address or phone number. If you don't sign in, or if you sign in using an email address that's not associated with your Office 365 subscription or Office product, Office might become unlicensed. Did you use a different email address when you purchased Office? Try signing in to Office using that email address to see if that fixes the problem. If you're at work, try signing in with your work or school account instead of your Microsoft account.

We can help if you can't remember the Microsoft account or password you use with Office.

Sign in to Office
  1. Open any current Office application, like Word or Excel.

  2. In the top right corner, select Sign in and enter the Microsoft account or work or school account that you use with Office.

    Shows the sign-in link in the upper-right hand corner of Office applications

    Note: Tip: If you see a name instead of Sign in, you're already signed in. Select your name to view the email address that was used to sign in. If this isn't the email address that you use with Office, you can add another account by selecting your name then selecting Switch account > Add Account.

Can't sign in? Here's help:

The latest Office updates might contain fixes to activation issues. To learn how to update Office, see Install Office updates.

Check for connectivity issues

Temporarily disabling firewalls, antivirus software, and proxy settings might help activation succeed. Close all Office apps before you continue, and then restart them after you're done.

Select a heading below to expand it and view the steps.

If you're using a firewall from another manufacturer, visit the manufacturer's website for information about how to temporarily disable the firewall. For Windows Firewall, please see below.

Windows 10 Windows 8.1 and 7

For information about how to turn off your antivirus software, check your antivirus manufacturer's website. Uninstalling your antivirus software may also help. Don't forget to reinstall it after Office is finished installing and if you turned it off, be sure to turn it on again.

If you're not sure which antivirus software you have, use the following instructions to get to Control Panel to find the name of your antivirus software.

Tip: Windows 10 comes with default antivirus software, Windows Defender. If you determine that you're using it, select the Start button > Settings > Update & Security, and then select Windows Defender on the left. Slide the button to Off. Remember to turn it On again.

  1. Go to Control Panel by right-clicking the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choosing Control Panel.

    Options and commands list see after pressing Windows logo key + X

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In Category view, select System and Security > Security and Maintenance, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

    • In Large icons or Small icons view, select Security and Maintenance, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it's listed under Virus protection.

  1. Go to the Control Panel by right-clicking the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choosing Control Panel.

    Options and commands list see after pressing Windows logo key + X

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In Category view, select System and Security > Action Center, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

    • In Large icons or Small icons view, select Action Center, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it's listed under Virus protection.

  1. Go to Control Panel by choosing the Start button Windows 7 Start button (lower-left corner), and choosing Control Panel.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In Category view, select System and Security > Action Center, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

    • In Large icons or Small icons view, select Action Center, and then select the down arrow next to Security.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it's listed under Virus protection.

If you use your device both at home and at work, try turning off the proxy settings in Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer before you install Office. If you’re using a different browser, check their help to find out how to turn off proxy settings.

Microsoft Edge
  1. Click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choose Settings.

  2. Select Network & Internet, go to the bottom of the selections on the left side, and click Proxy.

  3. In Automatic proxy setup, automatically detect settings or use setup script, by sliding to On or Off.

  4. In Manual proxy setup, you can choose to use a proxy server. Generally, it will be off and if you slide it to On, be sure to select Save. And if it was off by default before you turned it on, be sure to slide back to Off when you've finished using it.

Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11
  1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools (upper-right corner) > Internet options.

  2. Click the Connections tab, and then click the LAN settings button.

  3. Under Proxy server, clear the option "Use a proxy server for your LAN (These settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections)."

  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes. Restart your computer.

Note: There might be more proxy settings that you need to bypass. If this doesn't work, and you’re installing Office from work or school, check with your IT department for more information. For IT administrators, please see Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges.

Common Office 365 subscription issues

If there are problems with your Office 365 subscription, Office might become unlicensed. You can skip this section if you made a one-time purchase of Office.

Select a heading below to expand it and view the steps.

As an Office 365 for business user, you can download Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 to help you fix activation issues. If that tool doesn’t resolve your issue, continue with the instructions in this article.

While you don’t need to be online at all times to use Office, you do need to connect to the Internet intermittently so Office can verify that your subscription is still active. If Office can’t check the status of your subscription for an extended period of time (usually around 30 days), you’ll see the Couldn’t Verify Subscription message, and Office will eventually go into reduced functionality mode. To fix this, reconnect to the Internet, and then choose Retry.

Let's make sure your subscription hasn't expired.

Office 365 for Home, Personal, or University
  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. Go to your Services & subscriptions page.

  3. If prompted, choose Sign in and enter the Microsoft account email and password associated with your Office 365 subscription.

  4. Review the details under the Subscriptions heading.

    Screenshot showing the Services & subscriptions page
  5. If your subscription has expired, you can renew it by following the steps in Renew Office 365 for home.

  6. After you renew your subscription, you can restart your Office apps as needed.

Office 365 for business
  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account as a global admin. Learn how to sign in. If you aren't a global admin, ask your administrator to perform this procedure.

  3. Select the app launcher icon App launcher button in the upper-left and then choose Admin.

  4. Go to the Subscriptions page:

    • Choose Billing > Subscriptions, or

    • Under billing, choose View and edit subscriptions (for Office 365 small and midsized business subscriptions that were purchased through a partner).

  5. Review the status of your subscription. If it has expired, you can renew it by following the steps in Renew Office 365 for business.

  6. After you renew your subscription, you can restart your Office apps as needed.

Let's make sure you have the right version of Office installed.

  1. Sign in to your account page.

  2. On the My Account page, select Install >.

  3. Check to see if your computer is listed under Install Information.

    The Install Information section lists the computers where you have installed Office from this account. If you have not installed Office from this account, you'll see "You haven't used any installs."

  4. If your computer isn't listed, select Install to install Office and get a current license for this account.

Let's make sure that you're licensed to use Office.

  1. Close all Office apps.

  2. Sign in to the Office 365 portal.

  3. Go to Settings Click Settings > Office 365 (under Your app settings) > Subscriptions.

  4. Under User unique identifier and license status, look for The latest desktop version of Office. If you don't see The latest desktop version of Office listed, this means you don't have a license for Office. Ask your Office 365 administrator to assign an Office license to you, or assign one to yourself if you're an Office 365 admin for your organization. Here's how: Assign or unassign a license for one user

    The latest desktop version of Office

  5. After a license is assigned to you (if necessary), you can restart your Office apps as needed.

If you exceeded the maximum number of installs that your Office 365 plan supports, you can't activate additional installs until take one of these actions:

If you have this Office product

Do this

Office 365 Home, Personal, or University

Deactivate an Office install
  1. Go to http://www.office.com/myaccount.

    If prompted, sign in with the email address and password associated with your copy of Office.

  2. Select Install.

    Shows the number of installations and the Install button
  3. Under Install Information, select Deactivate Install to deactivate the Office installs that you no longer use.

    Shows the Deactivate Install link

    Note: If you subscribe to Office 365 Personal and need more installs, you can switch to an Office 365 Home subscription.

Office 365 for business, education, or government

This refers to Office 365 subscriptions like Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise E3.

Deactivate an Office install
  1. Go to https://portal.office.com/Account.

  2. Select Manage installs.

  3. Under Install status, select Deactivate to deactivate the Office installs that you no longer use.

    Screen shot of Deactivate for O365 business install

If you installed Office on a PC as part of your Office 365 for business subscription, and your organization switches to a different Office 365 for business plan, you might have to install the version of Office that comes with your new plan. Office lets you know this by displaying the following message in Office in 1-3 days after your plan changes:

“Account Notice. Your Office 365 subscription has a pending change. To keep using your applications without interruption, please sign in now.”

If you don't update or reinstall Office, you might see this message:

Update required. Your Office 365 subscription has a pending change. Please apply the change now to keep using your applications."

You can stop the account notice by either updating Office (if you have Office 2016), or reinstalling Office (if you have Office 2013). For help, see “Account Notice” appears in Office after switching Office 365 plans.

Repair Office

Repairing Office might fix corruption issues that cause activation failures.

Select a heading below to expand it and view the steps.

If you’ve updated Office but you’re still getting prompted to activate, try running an online repair. To learn how, see Repair an Office application.

If you’ve tried all of the other solutions but you’re still getting prompted to activate Office 2013, uninstall your product key and then sign in to activate Office.

  1. Select this easy fix to uninstall your product key in Office 2013.

    Easy fix download button indicating an automated fix is available

  2. At the bottom of your browser, select Open.

    Click Open

  3. After the easy fix tool is done, open any Office application, like Word or Excel.

  4. When you’re prompted, sign in with the email and password that are associated with Office.

Uninstall and reinstall Office

If you've tried all the other solutions and still can't activate Office, you can uninstall Office and then reinstall it.

Follow the instructions in Uninstall Office 2013, Office 2016, or Office 365 from a PC and then follow the instructions in Download and install or reinstall Office 365, Office 2016, or Office 2013 on your PC.

My product key stopped working

If your Office product key doesn’t work, or has stopped working, you should contact the seller and request a refund. If you bought a product key separate from the software, it’s very possible the product key was stolen or otherwise fraudulently obtained, and subsequently blocked for use. Unfortunately, there are many dishonest sellers who offer stolen, abused, or otherwise unauthorized Microsoft product keys for sale. Sometimes these product keys are printed on counterfeit labels or cards with a download link to Microsoft software, and sometimes they’re distributed with software media that is unauthorized for resale, such as promotional media, original equipment manufacturer reinstallation media, or other Microsoft program-specific media.

Still need help? Contact Support

If you’ve tried everything in this article and still need help, you can contact Office support.

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