Error "Microsoft Office did not install correctly" after installing Office 2008

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After Office 2008 for Mac installation, you may receive the following error message:

Microsoft Office did not install correctly, to fix this problem you must follow specific steps to remove and then reinstall Office.

This behaviour can occur if the software did not install correctly on your computer or the licensing credentials do not match.

Prerequisites check 

The following requirements must be met before you follow any of the steps in this article.   

  • You must quit all programs and close all windows. 
  • You must be logged on as an administrator. If this is your personal computer, you are likely already logged on with an administrator account. If this is a computer that is part of a network at work, you might have to ask the system administrator for help. 
  • You will need your product key. The product key location is different based on what kind of product you purchased. If you purchased a boxed product, the 25-character product key is located inside the disc case or on the back of the disc sleeve on a rectangular orange label that was included with the installation media, as shown in the following graphic. If you purchased the product through a website, the product key is sent to you in email with the title "Microsoft Office for Mac - Order Confirmation." 

To resolve this issue you must manually remove and then reinstall Office 2008 for Mac. Do not skip steps in this article. You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

Note that removing Office using "Remove Office" tool does not remove everything related to Office on your computer, therefore, you must manually remove several other items from your machine.

Before you follow the steps below, please have your installation media and Product Key in hand.  If you have downloaded version of the product, find email with the link to re-download the executable. Once the executable is downloaded to your Desktop or another folder, you may start working through these steps.

Step 1: Quit all applications

You must quit all applications before you uninstall Office 2008 for Mac. To close a program, select the program on the toolbar (top), and then select Quit. If you cannot quit a program or do not know how, hold down the Command and Option keys, and then press Esc on your keyboard. Select the program in the "Force Quit Application" window, and then select Force Quit. Click Force Quit to quit the program.

Note You cannot quit Finder.

When you are finished, click the red button in the upper-left corner.

Step 2: Remove licensing information (Plus force activation for downloaded versions)

Follow steps for the type of product you have: box or downloaded.


Box product:


To remove the Office 2008 for Mac licensing information and enter the correct information, follow these steps:


1.      On the Go menu, click Applications.

2.      Open the Microsoft Office 2008 folder, and then open the Office folder.

3.      Drag OfficePID.plist to the Trash.

4.      Close all windows.

5.      On the Go menu, click Home.

6.      Open Library. Note The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.

7.      Open Preferences, open Microsoft, and then open Office 2008.

8.      Move the Microsoft Office 2008 Settings.plist to the Trash.

9.   Restart Office 2008, and enter a new or unused Product Key when prompted.


If you have downloaded version of the product (You have downloaded the product from, follow these steps:

  1. Quit all applications.
  2. On the Go menu, click Computer, and then open the Hard Drive (usually called Macintosh HD).
  3. Open LibraryNote The Library folder is hidden in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu. 
  4. Open Receipts.
  5. Move any files that start with Office 2008_ to the Trash.  
  6. On the Go menu, click Applications.
  7. Open Microsoft Office 2008.
  8. Open Office.
  9. Click to select OfficePID.plist  file. Click File and choose Move to Trash.
  10. IOn the Go menu, click Home.
  11. Open Library. Note The Library folder is hiddent in Mac OS X Lion. To display this folder, hold down the OPTION key while you click the Go menu.
  12. Open Preferences, and then open Microsoft.
  13. Click on the Office 2008 folder.
  14. Move the Microsoft Office 2008 Settings.plist to the Trash.
  15. Check your trash to ensure that there is nothing that you wish to preserve then empty the trash.
  16. Press and hold the Control and Option keys on your keyboard click on one of the Office application icons to launch.
  17. The Activation window will open.
  18. Enter the correct Product Key and follow the steps to activate the product. 
  19. Test launching the Office 2008 application(s). 

Step 3: Follow KB to remove the rest of files and folders

See Microsoft Knowledge Base article to remove the rest of Office files. Start with Step 2. 

2500821 Manually remove Office 2008 for Mac completely from your computer

Once you are done removing everything, reinstall Office back. If the issue continues to occur, proceed to the next step.

Step 7: Reinstall Office and Download the Update

For more information about how to install Office 2008 for Mac, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

2400260 How to Install Office 2008

If the problem continues to occur after reinstalling the product, proceed to Step 6.

Step 8: The problem continues to occur

If the problem continues to occur, you may have the background programs/services loading on your computer that preventing the setup from completing.

To find out if the problem is related to background programs or services, exist to Safe Mode and then install Office 2008. To exist to Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Shut down the computer. Click Apple icon and then choose Shut Down...
  2. Start your compuer by pressing the power button. 
  3. Immediately after you hear the startup tone, press and hold the SHIFT key.

    Note The SHIFT key should be held as soon as possible after you hear the startup tone. However, do not press the SHIFT key before you hear the startup tone.
  4. Release the SHIFT key when you see the gray Apple and progress indicator on the screen. The progress indicator looks similar to a spinning gear. This might take a while (up to 2 minutes) so dont reboot again. During startup, you will see "Safe Boot" on the login window, which appears even if you normally log in automatically:

After the computer starts, try to start the Office 2008 setup to determine whether the problem is resolved. 
If the problem does not occur after you restart, the interference is occurring because of a background program or service.
If the problem returns after you perform a clean startup, the interference is not occurring because of a background program or service. In this case, this article cannot resolve your problem. Reboot your computer to return to normal startup.


Article ID: 2025907 - Last Review: 12/12/2015 08:07:58 - Revision: 43.0

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac

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