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How to Activate Microsoft Office on Windows PC or Mac

This article teaches you how to activate Microsoft Office for Windows PC or macOS.

How to Activate Microsoft Office on Windows PC or Mac

If you have Microsoft 365 subscription, you won’t need to activate Office—sign in with the Microsoft account you used to associate with your subscription. If you purchased Microsoft Office from a retail store, you must first add the 25-character product key on the receipt or product card to your Microsoft account.

Tip: The instructions in this article apply to Office 2019, Office 2019 for Mac, Office 2021, Office 2021 for Mac, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft 365 for Mac.

Method #1: Registering a Microsoft 365 Product Key

Go to https://setup.office.com in a web browser.

1. Go to setup.office.com in a web browser. If you purchased Microsoft 365 product card or ordered the software from an online store, your card or receipt will have a 25-character product key (in the form of XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX) on it. In this case, use this method to connect the product key to your Microsoft account.

Click the blue Sign In button. It's under the first step.

2. Click the blue Sign In button. It’s under the first step.

  • If you don’t already have a Microsoft account, select Create a new account button instead. You must provide an email address and create a password for a new Microsoft account.
Sign in to your Microsoft account.

3. Sign in to your Microsoft account. Enter your Microsoft account’s email address, click Next, and follow the on-screen instructions to validate your password.

Enter your Microsoft account password and click Sign In.
Enter your MS Account Password to Sign In.
Type the 25-character product key and click Next.

4. Type the 25-character product key and click Next. Step 4 will expand on the page once your product key is confirmed. Look for your Office product key printed on a product card with your purchase or the receipt.

Product key is validated. Click Next.
  • Once your product key is validated, you will no longer require it because it’s linked to your Microsoft account.
Click Next/Confirm.

5. Click Next/Confirm. It will take you to your Microsoft Account web page, where you can download and install Microsoft Office.

Click Install Now on the Office Account Page.

6. Click Install Office on the Office Account Page. It is in the upper right-hand corner of the page. It downloads the Office installer to your computer.

Click Install.

7. Click Install. Click the blue install button at the bottom of the “Download and install Office” window.

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Microsoft 365

Method #2: Using a Microsoft Account on Windows

Open any Microsoft Office application on your Windows PC.

1. Open any Microsoft Office application on your Windows PC. Locate your Office apps in a Folder called Microsoft Office (version) in the Start menu or open one of the Office apps from Windows search. You can activate MS Office through Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or any other program in the suite.

  • If you don’t already have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, you can download it from https://www.office.com. Sign in with the account you used to buy Office. Click Install Office near the top-right corner to download the installer file, then go to the Downloads folder, and double-click the office setup installer to run it.
  • If you haven’t already purchased Office, after signing in, click Buy Office instead of Install Office, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete your purchase.
Click the Get Started button on the "What's New in Word".
Click the Get Started button on the "What's New in Excel".

2. Click Get Started on the “What’s New” window. Click the Get Started button on the “What’s New in Word” or “What’s New in Excel” window to start the activation process.

  • If you don’t see this screen, skip this step.
Click Sign In on the pop-up window.

3. Click Sign In on the pop-up window. If you haven’t yet activated Office, a prompt will ask you to sign in to your Microsoft account.

  • If a dialog box saying “Microsoft Office Activation Wizard” appears, select the option for “I want to activate the software over the Internet.” Then click Next, and follow the on-screen instructions to activate your Office suite.
Enter your email address and click Next.

4. Enter your email address and click Next. Use the email address associated with the Microsoft account from which you purchased Office or register your product key.

Enter your password and click Sign In to Activate Office

5. Enter your password and click Sign In. After you sign in to your Microsoft account, Office will activate instantly.

Note: If you have used up all of the installs allowed by your subscription, you may need to deactivate an installation on another computer.

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Microsoft Office

Method #3: Using a Microsoft Account on a Mac

To activate Microsoft Office on mac:

1. Install Microsoft Office on your Mac. Before you can activate Microsoft Office, you must install and redeem it if you haven’t already.

Open a browser on your Mac, go to https://www.office.com.
Click Sign in to sign in with the Office account.
  • If you aren’t already signed in, click the Sign In button to sign in with your Office account. It is typically your Microsoft account, but if you received Office through your employer or school, you might be required to use that account information.
Click the Install Office button.
On "Install Office on all your computers," click Install Office.
  • Click the Install Office button. If you don’t see this option and have signed in with a business account, go to https://aka.ms/office-install.
    • If you haven’t already purchased Office, click Buy Office in the top-right corner, and follow the on-screen instructions to finish your purchase.
Open Downloads folder and double-click the file named Microsoft Office-Installer.pkg.
  • Open your Downloads folder and double-click the file named Microsoft Office-Installer. pkg.
    • If you get an error saying you cannot open this file because it’s from an unidentified developer, click Allow from Anywhere. Wait about 20-30 seconds, drag the file to your desktop, and then click the file while holding down the  Command key.
Click Continue.
Again, click Continue from the bottom right and follow the on-screen instructions to install.
  • Click Continue from the bottom right and follow the on-screen instructions to install.
Enter your Mac login password, and then click Install Software.
  • Enter your Mac login password, and then click Install Software. (This is the same password you use to log in to your Mac.)
Click Close at the bottom right when the installation is complete.
  • Click Close at the bottom right when the installation is complete.
Open any Office app.

2. Open any Office app. You can activate Office through any Office apps included with your package, such as Microsoft Excel. To open Excel, click Finder, navigate to the Applications folder, then double-click Microsoft Excel in the “Microsoft Office” section.

On the "What's New" screen, click Get Started.

3. On the “What’s New” screen, click Get Started. Click Get Started on the “What’s New” screen to begin the activation process. 

  • If you don’t see this screen, skip this step.
Click Sign In on the "Sign In to Activate Office" window.

4. Click Sign In on the “Sign In to Activate Office” window. If you don’t see this activation window, open the File menu from the top left, choose New from the template, and click Sign In.

Enter your email address and click Next.

5. Enter your email address and click Next. Use the same email address as the one associated with your Office purchase.

Enter your password and click Sign In.
Activating Office.

6. Enter your password and click Sign In. Microsoft will now confirm your purchase and activate Office for you.

  • The activation will fail if you sign in with an account not associated with a valid Office subscription.
Click Start Using Office to complete the activation.

7. Click Start Using Office to complete the activation. Once your Office is activated, a window will pop up saying, “You’re all set” click start Using Office.

RELATED: How to Get Free Microsoft Office 365 for Students


How to activate Microsoft Office desktop apps?

First, your computer should be connected to the internet so that your PC or Mac computer can detect and activate your Office purchase.
1. Open Word.
2. Select Get Started or Sign In. If you have a product key instead, click I have a product key link.
3. On the Activate Office dialog box, type your MS account email and password to sign in or select Enter a product key instead.
4. Follow the on-screen prompts to finish the activation process.

How to activate Office on Mac?

To activate Office on Mac, open an Office app like Excel. Click the Sign In button. Then enter your Microsoft account credentials. Wait for the system to verify your account details and activate Office.