The sections below are about the accounts you use to install and activate Microsoft 365 or newer versions of non-subscription versions such as Office Home & Student or Office Home & Business.
For help with setting up existing email accounts in the Outlook app to access your email, calendar, and contacts see the Outlook help center.
Why do I need an account to sign in to Microsoft 365 or Office?
An association needs to occur between your account and the Microsoft 365 or Office product you bought or were assigned. The association is what verifies you're the licensed owner of the product. When you sign in with your account you're allowed to:
Install and activate Office
A Microsoft account or work or school account is required to install and activate Microsoft 365 and Office versions 2013 or later.
Connect to other Microsoft services
Once your account is associated with your Office product, and depending what version of Office you have, your account also connects you to various Microsoft products and services such as Office Online or OneDrive.
Sign into your account portal to download and reinstall Microsoft 365 or Office. You don't need to re-enter your product key again.
Create and share files
Create, edit, and share any files you saved to a cloud-service such as OneDrive. By saving to OneDrive your files are always with you. Simply sign from your device and you'll have access to your files.
Use Office across multiple devices
If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can also install and use the apps on more than one device.
What's the difference between a Microsoft account and a work or school account, and how do I get one?
What is a Microsoft account
A Microsoft account is a free account you use to access many Microsoft devices and services, such as the web-based email service Outlook.com (also known as hotmail.com, msn.com, live.com), online apps like Word or Excel for the web, Skype, OneDrive, Xbox Live, Bing, Windows, or the Microsoft Store. If you already use any of these services chances are you already have a Microsoft account. Microsoft accounts used to be called "Windows Live ID".
When you create a Microsoft account, you can use any email address as your username, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.
If you already use an email address and password to sign into Microsoft devices and services like the ones mentioned above, then you already have a Microsoft account. One of the benefits of having a Microsoft account is having a single password to sign into all your Microsoft services.
Microsoft accounts are most often associated with Office for home products.
For more information about Microsoft accounts and how to manage them, see Microsoft account help.
What are work or school accounts
If you use Microsoft 365 in your work or school, someone such as a Global administrator likely assigned you a unique username and password. You sign in with this work or school account to access your email and other web resources in your organization.
Work or school accounts are associated with Microsoft 365 for business products and are usually managed by the same admin responsible for assigning user accounts and Office licenses to people in their organization.
Admins looking for help with managing user accounts should see Add users individually or in bulk to Office 365.
Do I need an account for Office 2010 or Office 2007?
Accounts aren't required for older versions of Office such as Office 2010 or Office 2007. To install or reinstall Office use the disc and product key that came with your purchase. See Install Office 2010 and Install Office 2007 for more information about installing those versions.
How do I associate my account with Microsoft 365 or Office?
Signing in with a Microsoft account, or work or school account to Microsoft 365 or Office is how Microsoft verifies you have a legitimate license. How you associate your account depends on your Microsoft 365 or Office product and how you got it.
Associating an account with the license is only necessary for Microsoft 365 subscriptions and non-subscription versions of Office 2021 through Office 2013. (See Do I need an account to use Office 2010 or Office 2007?)
To associate your account with your product, select the option that best suits you how you got Microsoft 365 or Office.
If you bought Microsoft 365 or Office at a retail store it likely came with packaging that included a key. When you redeem this key, you'll be asked to use an existing Microsoft account or create a new account. If you bought at an online retailer, check your email receipt for the product key and follow the steps to redeem it. See Redeem a product key to activate Microsoft 365 or Office.
If you bought your product through the online Microsoft Store and you signed in to make your purchase, the account you signed in with is the account that's associated with Office. If you tried to install the apps but can't, you may have missed the redemption step after your purchase. See I just bought Office. Where do I enter my product key?
If someone shared their Microsoft 365 Family subscription with you, they may have sent you an email or text message. When you're ready to install the apps, you'll be asked to use an existing Microsoft account or create a new account. See Create a new Microsoft account
If you're using the apps through your work or school, you were likely assigned an account when you started. This is the account you use to sign in to microsoft365.com.
If you bought Microsoft 365 or Office, but someone else installed it for you and their account is now associated with the product instead of yours, contact support. Be sure to have your proof of purchase.
If you purchased Office through your organization's Microsoft Workplace Discount Program (formerly known as Home Use Program) benefit for use on a PC running Windows, you don't use an account to activate Office. You should have received a product key which you need to enter when prompted to activate Office. See Install or reinstall Office through Microsoft Workplace Discount Program.
Where do I sign in with my account so I can install or reinstall the apps?
If you have an existing Microsoft 365 subscription, or use Microsoft 365 at work or school, sign in at Office.com with the account that's associated with your subscription. This is where you can install or reinstall the apps.
If you're simply looking for the steps to install the apps see:
Some organizations manage Microsoft 365 or Office licenses and all installations for their employees or students. If the apps aren't already installed on your device and you don't see an install option after signing in with your work or school account at Office.com, talk to the Microsoft 365 administrator in your organization.
If you signed in with a Microsoft account and don't see an option to install Office, see the section below "Office isn't associated with this account".
How to manage organizational accounts
The Microsoft 365 admin is responsible for managing accounts in an organization. Admins who need to add, delete, or update accounts can do this by signing in with their admin credentials to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
I forgot my username or password
If you forgot the username or password for the Microsoft account that you associated with Office, see I forgot the username or password for the account I use with Office.
Work or school accounts
If someone in your organization assigned you a work or school email account go to Password reset. If you can't reset it then contact your admin because they may not have granted you permission to change your own password. Any other changes, such as changing your username also has to be done by your admin.
If you're the admin responsible for managing email user accounts for people in your organization, see Users and passwords in Microsoft 365 for business – Admin Help.
My password is correct, but it isn't working
There are few things you can check if your password doesn't seem to be working:
Check the spelling of your email name and password.
Make sure you don't have all caps turned on since your password is case sensitive.
If it's still not working, do the following for the account you're having issues with:
For Microsoft accounts, get more help at Microsoft account help.
Work or school accounts
For work or school accounts, you'll need to contact the IT admin of your organizaiton.
If you're the Microsoft 365 admin who manages email user accounts for people in your organization (including for yourself), see Users and passwords in Microsoft 365 for business – Admin Help.
My Gmail, Yahoo!, (etc.) account is a Microsoft account, but it isn't working
Accounts such as an outlook.com, hotmail.com, live.com, or msn.com account, are managed by Microsoft, and therefore already considered Microsoft accounts. This means any changes you make to these accounts automatically carries through all Microsoft services such as XBox, Skype, or OneDrive..
However, if you created a Microsoft account using an existing third-party email account which means it's an account managed by a non-Microsoft email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo!, any changes you make to those accounts through their respective providers, won't be carried over to Microsoft.
For example, when you created your Microsoft account you used an existing Gmail, Yahoo! account. At a later date you updated the password from the settings page of your Gmail or Yahoo! account. Since these accounts aren't managed by Microsoft, any changes you make through settings of the account provider, don't automatically extend to your Microsoft account. This means the Microsoft account password you created with the Gmail or Yahoo account, remains the same password you originally assigned to your Microsoft account upon creation.
Any changes you want to make to your Microsoft account using a third-party email like Gmail or Yahoo! needs to be done through your Microsoft account dashboard. This is where you go to manage your Microsoft account and make updates to your name, photo, and security settings. It's also where you manage any subscriptions and products bought through the Microsoft Store. Sign into your Microsoft account dashboard at account.microsoft.com.
If you forgot the password for your Microsoft account, see I forgot the username or password for the account I use with Office.
A message says Office isn't associated with this account
For help with this message, see "This is the right place to install and reinstall Office" error message.
Can I change the name on my account?
For information about how to change the name on your account, see Change the name on your Microsoft account.
Work or school accounts
For work or school accounts, contact your admin.
If you're the Microsoft 365 admin who manages email user accounts for people in your organization, see Users and passwords in Microsoft 365 for business – Admin Help.