What account to use with Office and you need one

The sections below are about the accounts you use to install and activate newer versions of Office. 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 Office?

Why do I need an account to sign in to Office?

An association occurs between Office and your account and is what verifies you're the licensed owner of Office. Signing in with your account allows you 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.

Reinstall Office    Sign in to your account portal and reinstall Office without a product key or installation disc.

Create and share files    Create, edit, and share the files you saved to an Office cloud-service such as OneDrive

Use Office across multiple devices    If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can also install and use Office on more than one device.

What is a Microsoft account and a work or school account and how do I get one?

What is a Microsoft account?

A Microsoft account is an email address and password that you use with Outlook.com, Hotmail, Office, OneDrive, Skype, Xbox, and Windows. When you create a Microsoft account, you can use any email address as the user name, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

What is a work or school account?

If your work or school uses Microsoft 365, someone such as a Microsoft 365 global admin likely assigned you a unique username and password. This is the account you use to access your work or school email and your organization's web resources.

Work or school accounts are usually associated with Microsoft 365 for business products and are usually managed by the same Microsoft 365 admin responsible for assigning user accounts and Office licenses to people in their organization.

Microsoft accounts

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), Office Online apps, 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 account used to be called "Windows Live ID". When you create a Microsoft account, you can use any email address as the user name, including addresses from Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail.

If you already use an email address and password to sign in to 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.

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.

How do I associate my account with Office?

Associating a Microsoft account, or work or school account with Office is how Microsoft verifies you have a legitimate Office license. How you associate your account and Office product depends on your Office product and how you got it. This association is only necessary for Microsoft 365 subscriptions and non-subscription Office 2016 and Office 2013 products (see Do I need an account for Office 2010 or Office 2007?)

Select the option that best suits you how you got Office.

If you bought 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 Office through the online Microsoft store and you signed in to make your purchase, this is the account that's associated with Office. If you can't install Office 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 Office subscription with you, they may have sent you an email or text message. When you're ready to install Office, you'll be asked to use an existing Microsoft account or create a new account. How do I get a Microsoft account?

If you're using Office through your work or school, you were likely assigned an account when you started. This is the account you use to sign in to Office.com.

If you bought Office, but someone else installed it for you and their account is now associated with Office instead of yours, contact support. Be sure to have your proof of purchase.

If you purchased Office through your organization's Microsoft HUP 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 HUP.

Where do I sign in with my account so I can install or reinstall Office?

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 Office, and depending on your Office product it's also where you manage your subscription through My Account. The association between your account and your Office license depends how you got Office.

Signing in at Office.com or signing in to the Office desktop apps also means you can easily access any files you stored in cloud services such as OneDrive. Learn more at Sign in to Office or Microsoft 365.

If you're simply looking for the steps to install Office see:

Download and install or reinstall Microsoft 365 or Office 2016 on a PC or Mac

Set up Office apps and email on a mobile device

Tips: 

  • Some organizations manage both Office licenses and installations for their employees or students so you may not need to install anything yourself. However, if Office isn't already installed or 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".

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.

Can I change the name on my account?

Microsoft accounts

For information about how to change the name on your account, see Change the name on your Microsoft account.

To manage other aspects of your Microsoft account sign in at account.microsoft.com or see Microsoft account help.

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.

I forgot my username or password

Microsoft accounts

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 depending on your account.

Microsoft accounts

For Microsoft accounts, find more help at Microsoft account help.

Work or school accounts

For work or school accounts, go to 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.

My Gmail, Yahoo!, (etc.) account is a Microsoft account, but it isn't working

There are benefits to making your regular email account such as a Gmail or Yahoo! account a Microsoft account as well. It can be one less account to remember, or you just prefer to use certain accounts for certain activities.

Outlook.com, hotmail.com, live.com, or msn.com accounts are managed my Microsoft and are automatically considered Microsoft accounts. This means any changes you make to this account is carried through all Microsoft services such as XBox, Skype, or Onedrive where you also use this account.

However, if you created a Microsoft account using an existing email account managed by a different email provider such as a Gmail or Yahoo! account, any changes you make to those accounts through their respective providers, won't be carried over to Microsoft.

For example, you used an existing Gmail, Yahoo!, or another type of account to create a Microsoft account, but at a later date you made a change to your account such as updated your password or other personal information, you had to do that through the settings from your email provider, in this case Gmail or Yahoo!. The changes you make there, don't automatically extend to your Microsoft account. This means your Microsoft account password remains what it was you first created it.

To make any changes to this account as a Microsoft account means you need to do it through your Microsoft account settings. Sign in to your account portal to check if the account is working. If you need to reset your Microsoft account password for this email account, see I forgot the username or password for the account I use with Office.

To manage other aspects of your Microsoft account such as name changes or security settings, sign in at account.microsoft.com.

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.

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