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This article provides an overview of the Microsoft Office Activation Wizard.

Office includes an Activation Wizard. To fully use Office, you must activate Office. If you do not activate the product after you install it, the Office programs can be started only in reduced-functionality mode.

In reduced-functionality mode, Office programs function more like viewers. In other words, you cannot save modifications to documents or create a new document. Additional functionality may be reduced also. No existing Office files are damaged while the product is in reduced-functionality mode.

More Information

Frequently asked questions

  • What is product activation?

    We ask that you activate your product to verify that your installation is performed with a genuine Microsoft product. Product activation is an anti-piracy technology that is designed to verify that the product is legitimately licensed. When you activate your product, no personal information is sent to Microsoft.

  • Who needs to activate their copy of Office?

    Product activation is required for all licenses that are purchased through retail distribution. If you purchased a new computer from a personal computer manufacturer, you may have to activate the Microsoft software on that computer. However, some computer manufacturers may activate the Microsoft software in the factory.

  • How does product activation work?

    Product activation validates that the product key has not been used on more personal computers than are permitted by the end-user license agreement.

    You can activate your product by means of the Internet or by telephone. If you use the telephone to activate your product, you provide an Installation ID code. In return, you receive a Confirmation ID number. Activation by telephone is performed through a Microsoft customer service representative and takes just a few minutes. If you choose to activate your product over the Internet, the process is performed automatically. The only information that you have to provide is your country/region.

    Note If you are activating the Product Trial Program version, you can activate your product only through the Internet.

  • How do I activate my product?

    Except for Microsoft Office Access 2007, for Microsoft Office Excel 2007, for Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, and for Microsoft Office Word 2007, there are three methods to access the Office Activation Wizard. These methods are as follows:

    • Start an Office program that has not been activated.

    • Click Activate Product on the
      Help menu in any Office program.

    • Run the Office Activation Wizard outside an Office program.

      To do this, click Start, point to
      Programs, point to Microsoft Office Tools, and then click Activate Product.

      Note This method is not available in Microsoft Office 2003 and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

    For Access 2007, for Excel 2007, for PowerPoint 2007, and for Word 2007, there are two methods to access the Office Activation Wizard. These methods are as follows:

    • Start an Office program that has not been activated.

    • Click Activate on the Resources tab. To do this, follow these steps:

      1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click
        Program Name Options.

      2. Click the Resources tab, and then click Activate.

  • What happens during activation?

    During activation, the Office Activation Wizard creates a non-unique hardware identification that represents the configuration of your computer at the time of activation. The hardware identification does not include any personal information, any information about software or data that may reside on your computer, or any information about the specific make or model of your computer. The hardware identification identifies only the computer, only for the purpose of activation.

    During activation, you may also provide your personal contact information (name and address) if you want to register your product with Microsoft.

    The Office Activation Wizard can detect and tolerate changes to your computer's configuration. Minor hardware upgrades do not require re-activation. However, if you completely overhaul your computer, you may have to activate your product again.

  • How does product activation protect customer privacy?

    Microsoft highly values respecting and protecting customers' private information. If you do not register the product, none of the information that is collected during product activation will be used to personally identify you.

  • Is activation the same as registration?

    No. Activation is different from product registration. If you want, you can voluntarily register your product by providing your name and contact information during product activation. If you want to receive future communications about product updates, service releases, and special offers, you should register your product.

  • How do I know whether my product has been activated?

    The Activation Wizard does not run if you activated your product. If the product is activated, you receive the following message when you run the Activation Wizard:

    The product has already been activated.

  • Does the product stop working if I do not activate it?

    No. However, the product runs in reduced-functionality mode.

  • What is reduced-functionality mode?

    In reduced-functionality mode, programs function similarly to a viewer. When running in reduced-functionality mode, many menu items are unavailable (dimmed), thereby blocking access to that functionality. Some of the limitations of reduced-functionality mode include the following limitations:

    • You cannot create any new documents.

    • You can view existing documents but you cannot edit them.

    • You can print documents but you cannot save them.

    No existing Office files or documents are damaged, and you can easily get Office out of this mode by following the instructions outlined in the screens presented.

  • How do I update information that pertains to product activation?

    To ensure that the information you provide to Microsoft through the Office Activation Wizard is correct, you can review and update this information by contacting Microsoft at any time. In some Office products, you can use the Office Activation Wizard to do this over the Internet or by telephone. If these options are not available to you, you can update or change any information that you provided by sending a description of the changes you want to be made and your Product ID (found in the dialog box that is displayed when you click the About <program name> command on the
    Help menu of any Office program) to the following address. Microsoft will update your information to reflect any corrections or changes that you want to be made. It is important that you provide your Product ID, so that Microsoft can accurately identify your activation record.

    Attn: Microsoft Product Activation
    One Microsoft Way
    Redmond, Washington 98052-6399

  • Why do I receive notifications to activate my product?

    If you do not activate your Office product, you receive a reminder to activate your product each time that you start an Office program.

  • Is there more than one type of product license?

    Yes. There are the following license types:

    • Perpetual

    • End-user subscription

      Note As of August 2001, the Office XP Subscription License is not available in the United States.

    • Product Trial Program

  • What is a perpetual license?

    A perpetual license gives you a license to use the Office programs for as long as you own the product.

    For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    828958 How to activate a license in Office programs

  • What is an end-user subscription license?

    The end-user subscription license permits you to use Office for a preset period of time. The time period lasts 12 months and starts when you activate your copy of Office. At the end of your subscription period, you can renew your license. If you choose not to renew your license, you can start the Office programs only five more times before reduced-functionality mode takes effect.

    The end-user subscription license copy of Office is tied to the computer on which it is installed; it cannot be sold or moved to another computer. The license can only be sold together with the computer. Transferring ownership of the license requires a call to a customer service agent.

    For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    293191 How to activate an end-user subscription license in Office XP

  • What is the Product Trial Program version?

    The Product Trial Program version is a license to use an Office product on a trial basis for one month.

    For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    828958 How to activate a license in Office programs

  • How many times can I skip activation?

    For perpetual license products, you can skip activation 50 times. For end-user subscription licenses, you can skip activation 20 times. For the Product Trial Program version, you can skip activation five times. If you do not activate the product in the allotted number of Office program starts, the Office programs start running in reduced-functionality mode.

  • How many installations can be performed with one end-user license agreement? Can I install the product on my laptop and desktop? How many times can I reinstall the product and be able to activate it?

    The answers to these questions and other activation policy questions are available at the following Microsoft Web site:

For more information about product activation and more frequently asked questions about Microsoft product activation, visit the following Microsoft Web sites:


For more information about product activation, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

300273 Cannot activate OEM edition more than once in Office XP

For more information about issues that occur when you run Office in Reduced Functionality mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

316032 "This command is not available because the document is locked for edit" error message when you try to edit old or new documents in Office XP and in Office 2003

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