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.

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.

First things first

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.

When you see (Unlicensed Product) or (Non-commercial use) (Unlicensed Product) in the title bar, you might see an error message, banner, or dialog box that describes the problem. You might also see error messages in the Office Activation Wizard when you activate Office.

Shows a specific error message about why Office is unlicensed

Do you see a specific error? Click the error in the list below for help with troubleshooting. If your error code isn't listed, continue on to the next section.

Note: Did the Unlicensed Product errors start after you downgraded from Office 2016 to Office 2013? If so, close the Office 2013 application and then open it again to fix the error.

Your users might need to update to the version of Office that comes with your new Office 365 for business subscription.

The table below shows what you can expect for your end users after you renew to a new plan.

What is your current plan?

What plan are you moving to?

End user experience for Office applications and Skype for Business

How-to guidance for end users

  • Office 365 Small Business

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium

  • Office 365 Midsize Business

Office 365 Business or Office 365 Business Premium

All of your Office users will be prompted to update or reinstall Office between 1-3 days after renewal.

Skype for Business users will need to sign in to the Office 365 portal and install the version of Skype for Business that comes with the new plan.

You can direct your end users to this article for a step-by-step walkthrough:

Reinstall Office and Skype for Business

  • Office 365 Small Business

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium

An enterprise plan (such as Office 365 Enterprise E3) or Office 365 ProPlus

All of your Office users should first uninstall their current version of Office before installing the new version from the Office 365 portal.

Skype for Business users will not have to reinstall it—it will be installed with the Office applications.

You can direct your end users to these articles for help:

Uninstall Office

Install Office using Office 365 for business

  • Office 365 Midsize Business

An enterprise plan (such as Office 365 Enterprise E3) or Office 365 ProPlus

Your end users won't have to do anything to continue using Office or Skype for Business.

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

If you have this Office product

Do this

A one-time purchase of Office

This refers to Office Home & Student, Office Home & Business, Office Professional, or individual 2016 or 2013 applications, such as Word, Excel, or Project.

See the options under Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business, Office Professional, or individual Office applications

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 own multiple one-time purchases of Office and are having trouble activating subsequent Office installs, see Change your Office product key.

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

Common fixes

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

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

Windows 10
  1. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  2. Select Date and time settings.

  3. 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.

  4. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
  1. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  2. Select Change date and time settings.

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

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

  5. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Windows 7
  1. In the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, select the date or time.

  2. Select Change date and time settings.

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

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

  5. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

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

Windows 10 video

  1. Close all Office programs.

  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.

  6. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Here's a video that illustrates how to run Office as administrator.

Search for Word, right-click its icon in the search results, and then select Run as administrator.

Windows 8.1 step-by-step

Windows 8.1 video

  1. Close all Office programs.

  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.

  6. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Here's a video that illustrates how to run Office as administrator.

Shows how to search for Word, right-click it, and run Word as administrator in Windows 8.1

Windows 8 step-by-step

Windows 8 video

  1. Close all Office programs.

  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.

  6. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Here's a video that illustrates how to run Office as administrator.

Shows how to search for Word, right click the icon, and click Run as administrator

Windows 7 step-by-step

Windows 7 video

  1. Close all Office programs.

  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.

  6. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Here's a video that illustrates how to run Office as administrator.

Shows how to search for Word, right-click it in search results, and then click Run as administrator.

Office might become unlicensed if you haven't signed in to Office, or if your computer has been disconnected from the Internet for awhile. You might also have signed in using an email address that's not associated with an Office 365 subscription. Did you use a different email address when you purchased the subscription? Try signing in to Office using that email address to see if that fixes the problem.

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

  2. In the top right corner, select Sign in.

    Shows the sign-in link in the upper-right hand corner of Office applications
  3. After you sign in, try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Note: Tip: If you see a name instead of Sign in, you're already signed in.

Can't sign in? Here's help:

The latest Office updates might contain fixes to activation issues. It might take awhile for the updates to finish installing.

Your browser does not support video. Install Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flash Player, or Internet Explorer 9.


  1. Open any Office application, like Word or Excel.

  2. Select File > Account.

  3. Under Product Information, select Update Options > Update Now.

    Update now

    Notes: If you don’t see Update Now, select Update Options >Enable Updates to turn on automatic updates. After that, select Update Options > Update Now.

    Click Update Options then Enable updates

  4. After you install updates, Office might activate automatically. If it doesn't, try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Check for connectivity issues

Temporarily disabling firewalls, antivirus software, and proxy settings might help activation succeed. If you change one of these settings, try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product. Be sure to turn these services back on when you're done.

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 Windows 7 Windows Vista

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.

Windows 10
  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.

Windows 8.1
  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 > 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.

Windows 7
  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. Click Network & Internet, click Internet options, and then click Settings to the right of Choose Settings to configure a proxy server for a connection.

  3. Clear the checkbox to turn off any proxy settings.

  4. Click OK.

Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11

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.

Let's make sure your subscription hasn't expired. If it has, you can renew your Office 365 subscription and then try to reactivate Office.

Office 365 for Home, Personal, or University
  1. Go to your Services & subscriptions page.

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

  3. Review the details under the Subscriptions heading.

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

  5. After you renew your subscription (if necessary), try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Office 365 for business
  1. 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.

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

  3. 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).

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

  5. After you renew your subscription (if necessary), try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

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.

  5. If you reinstall Office, it might activate automatically. If it doesn't, try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Let's make sure that you're licensed to use Office. If you get a new Office licensed assigned, or reinstall Office, you can try to reactivate Office.

  1. Sign in to the Office 365 portal.

  2. Go to Settings Click Settings > Office 365 (under My app settings) > Subscriptions.

  3. Under Licenses, 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

  4. After a license is assigned to you (if necessary), try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

Repair Office

Repairing Office might fix corruption issues that cause activation failures.

If you’ve updated Office but you’re still getting prompted to activate, run an online repair of Office. It might take awhile for the repair to finish. After you repair Office, Office might activate automatically. If it doesn't, try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

If you’ve tried all of the other solutions but you’re still getting prompted to activate, 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.

  5. Try to reactivate Office by selecting the Reactivate button (if shown in a banner) or go to File > Account > Activate Product.

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.

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