How do I activate Microsoft Office?

This question is one of the many people ask all over the internet. MS Office is an excellent suite of productivity tools for personal and professional purposes. Whether you need to manage, edit, or create new documents, MS Office is the right solution for you.

However, you can't unlock the full potential of MS Office or use all of its features without activating the product. MS Office activation is necessary to enable you to use all its updated patches and functionalities. Today, we'll discuss how to activate Microsoft Office and the relevant reasons.

In this article
    1. Purchase and Download Microsoft Office
    2. Install Microsoft Office

Reasons to Activate Microsoft Office

Though you can use the free version of MS Office without activating the product, the program will have some limitations. MS Office includes a suite of productivity apps, such as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, etc.

Activating your Microsoft Office gives you access to all the functionalities and features of the MS Office toolkit that can significantly enhance your productivity. Activation verifies and validates your MS Office product license and confirms that your software copy is genuine.

reasons to activate microsoft office

Aside from verifying the legitimacy of your software license, the activation process also checks the unique product key associated with your version of the program. It also helps prevent software piracy and ensures the proper functioning of your program version.

In addition, activating MS Office offers a few advantages you should know about:

  • You won't have to bother with annoying pop-up messages, such as "Word hasn't been activated. To keep using Word without interruption, activate before the date" each time you use MS Office;
  • MS Office activation also gives you access to enhanced security, cloud-based storage, and new features.

Missing the activation deadline will render many MS Office features, such as editing, inaccessible. Activating your software product helps you avoid all these unnecessary issues.

Before Activating Microsoft Office

MS Office is among the essential software products for various activities on professional and private mobile and desktop devices. MS Office 2021 brought many innovations, and many PC users are slowly but surely moving to a cloud-based subscription product, Office 365. If you have Office 365, the activation key comes with your email account.

If you prefer lifetime product licenses over subscription plans, you're probably using Office 2021/2019/2016. Regardless of your version, here's what you must do before activating MS Office on your computer.

Purchase and Download Microsoft Office

If you bought MS 365 or MS Office suite from the Microsoft Store, follow the steps below to complete the pre-activating MS Office procedure.

  1. Visit
  2. Click Sign in, and use your MS account (the same one you used to buy Office) to verify your MS Office product.
  3. Click your account name and select Order History to find your Office version and get access to the product key.
    use order history to find your office version and activate ms office

For Microsoft 365 and Office 2021/2019/2016/2013:

  1. Visit and use your MS account to sign in.
  2. If you don't have an account, create one by clicking the No account? Create one! section and use the product key to download your Office software.
    use the product key to sign in and download your ms office software

Install Microsoft Office

Run the MS Office app on your computer and follow the installation wizard to complete the installation process. Once your PC completes the process, open MS Office and follow the instructions on the screen to activate the product.

Keep reading to learn more about available methods to activate your MS Office.

How to Activate Office Using a Product Key

If you've acquired your Office license from an official online or physical store, you must have received the matching product key with it. This key is a direct means to activate your Office.

A general rule of thumb is to Image name the product key with your Microsoft account to streamline the activation process. Sign In to your MS account and activate your MS Office using a product key.

Here's how.

  1. Visit;
  2. Use your MS account to sign in and access the product key;
  3. Enter the 25-character-long product key;
  4. Select your language and country and click Next;
  5. On the Microsoft Services and Subscriptions Page, find your activated product and click Install or Install Now;
    install the activated ms office product
  6. Wait for the download process to complete;
  7. Run the setup wizard to install Office on your PC.
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Note: If you've previously installed Office on your computer, you can activate it by accessing any of the Office apps, signing in, and navigating to File > Account > Product Activation.

How to Activate Microsoft Office With a Microsoft Account

If you're simply re-installing MS Office on your computer or have recently purchased a license, you can use your MS account to activate MS Office without any product keys. Simply sign in to your account (it has to be the same account you used to buy the license).

MS Office will automatically verify your account by obtaining the license eligible for your software version. This method is the simplest and most secure way to activate your MS Office copy.

Here's how to do it.

  1. Navigate to your Office suite and run any app (Excel, Word, etc.);
  2. Click the Sign In button or navigate to File > Account > Product Activation;
    how to activate microsoft office with a microsoft account
  3. Use your account credentials to list all available Office licenses tied to your account (users with multiple accounts will see multiple licenses);
  4. Select one of the licenses from the list to activate your MS Office version.
    how to activate microsoft office with a microsoft account

How to Activate Microsoft Office Using Activation Wizard

This method is effective when the trial period for your copy of Office has expired, or your product isn't activated. In such cases, you'll see the Activation Wizard prompt when you try to access your MS Office version.

how to activate microsoft office using activation wizard

The Activation Wizard is a valuable tool that provides all the activation instructions you need to activate your MS Office.

You'll see two options for activating MS Office:

  • I want to activate the software over the Internet (recommended);
  • I want to activate the software by telephone.

Choose one of the options and click Next. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the activation process. If you can't activate your product, contact MS Support and wait for further instructions.

How to Activate Expired Microsoft Office for Free

If your MS Office subscription has expired, you can reactivate it for free. Here's how.

  1. Open any MS Office app and select File > Account> Product Activation;
  2. You can also open any MS Office app and click Sign in
    how to activate expired microsoft office for free
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to renew your Office subscription.

Bonus Tip 1: How to Verify Your Microsoft Office Has Been Activated

To verify your MS Office is activated, navigate to any MS Office program like Excel or Word and run the app. When the app opens, navigate to File > Account > Product Information. This section will hold the information on MS Office activation on your computer.

Bonus Tip 2: How to Manage Your Office Files Properly

You should take every step necessary to improve your Office file management practices and avoid data loss.

Here are some tips to help you manage your Office files and documents effectively and efficiently:

  • Only save necessary files – prioritize Office files and only save the ones relevant to your work activity;
  • Come up with a consistent method for naming and labeling your Office files and folders – divide large folders into sub-folders and use adequate naming method to identify relevant files and make them more scannable;
  • Pair in related files and store them together – find files faster by grouping and storing related documents and files together;
  • Separate the files you're still working on from the completed ones – keep the files you no longer work on in a separate location from the ongoing work;
  • Avoid overfilling folders – if you have multiple folders with a large number of files, break them into smaller subfolders to make your files more searchable;
  • Use date tags to organize your files – date tags allow you to organize your Office files chronologically;
  • Save paper files in digital format – create digital copies of all paper Office files to store them in your computer archive and preserve them electronically.

In addition, you should consider using a professional Office file recovery solution to recover any missing Office files and prevent data loss. Whether you’ve lost your Office files due to file corruption, virus infection, disk formatting, or accidental deletion, Wondershare Recoverit can help you get your documents back.

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Download and install Wondershare Recoverit on your computer. Follow the steps below to get your Office files back.

  1. Launch the app on your computer and navigate to the File Recover menu;
  2. Select Hard Drives and Locations;
  3. Select a location to start recovery from the available options (Hard Disk Drives, External Drives, Quick Access);
  4. Click Start;
    select a location to start recovery
  5. Wondershare Recoverit will automatically scan the selected location for missing Office files;
    let recoverit scan the selected location for retrievable files
  6. Use search filters to pinpoint specific Office files you wish to recover;
    toggle between different filters to pinpoint the files you want to recover
  7. Once the app completes the scanning process, preview retrievable files before recovery;
    preview retrievable office files before recovery
  8. Select the files you want to recover and click Recover;
  9. Select a new location and click Save to save the recovered Office files.
    choose a path to save the recovered files


As you can see, activating your MS Office isn't a complicated or exhaustive process. However, it does require some knowledge and technical know-how to get you the desired outcome.

Each method will help you activate your Office product and access all available features, including security enhancements, updates, etc. In addition, we recommend installing a reliable data recovery solution, like Wondershare Recoverit, on your computer to ensure successful file recovery if needed.

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David Darlington
David Darlington Jul 17, 24
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