Office 2011 to require activation

Starting with Office for Mac 2011, activation will be required. Now that activation is required. you also need to look at the differences in how many computers your license allows you to install Office for Mac 2011. If you have multiple computers, you’ll need to know how this affects which version you purchase.

Activation associates the use of the software with a specific device. During activation, the software will send information about the software and the device to Microsoft. This information includes the version, the license version, language and product key of the software, the Internet protocol address of the device, and information derived from the hardware configuration of the device.

REASSIGN TO ANOTHER DEVICE. You may reassign the license to a different device any number of times, but not more than one time every 90 days. If you reassign, that other device becomes the “licensed device.” If you retire the licensed device due to hardware failure, you may reassign the license sooner.

Volume Licensing does not require activation. Home & Student along with the Home & Business versions can be activated online or you can call to activate.

See the EULA for more info

Office 2011

The main differences between Home & Student 2011 and Home & Business 2011 are:

  1. Home & Student does not contain Outlook
  2. Home & Student cannot be used for business purposes

Compare editions

Office Mac Home and Student 2011 – Family Pack Version

Licensed for home and student use on three (3) Macs per household; not for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities, or by any government organization.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 1-Pack Version

Licensed for one (1) user for install on one (1) Mac.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 2-Pack Version

Licensed for one (1) user for install on two (2) Macs. A single pack license is also available.

Previous versions of Office

Standard/Business version has 1 CD key
Home & Student has 3 CD keys

Each Product Key represents a separate license to use Office 2008.

Each license entitles you to install on 1 “desktop” + 1 “portable” Mac. The restriction is that you are not permitted to use any of the Office programs on more than 1 of the 2 systems at the same time. If both Macs are on the same network you will be physically prevented from launching an Office program on the second Mac if any Office program is running on the other.

In total, the 3 licenses (Product Keys) for Home & Student enables you to install on 6 separate Macs… Theoretically that means 2 Macs for each of 3 users or individuals.

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38 comments to Office 2011 to require activation

  • Donald Kress

    Will Office 2008 version be compatable or will the new version need to be on all computers running office 2011?

    • I’m not sure I understand the question. Will Office 2008 be compatible with what? If you are asking if you can run Office 2008 on the same computer the answer is yes. If you are asking if you use Office 2011 on one computer and Office 2008 on another the answer is yes. Email could be difficult unless you use IMAP or Exchange.

  • Chas

    As a Mac user, I have always been thankful I don’t have to go through all that activation hassle that Windows users have to go through. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t like having my personal computer beholden to the big corporations…if I want to put software on my computer, take it off again, and then re-install, I don’t want to have to contact the mothership.

    Well, that does it…I’m through with Office. And all I really need is OpenOffice, anyway.

  • NotTellinYou

    Oh please!

    Microsoft has dedicated a BUNCH of effort, resources, and cash to this project. They want to make money! WOW! BIG surprise there!

    Fact is the investment is now such that it has to have a return and Office is one of the top pirated applications so they ask you to activate.

    So what!?!?!

    There are a TON of applications on the Mac that do the same and ALWAYS have!

    Let’s move on shall we?

  • Gene Surber

    And this is EXACTLY why i don’t purchase Microsoft products. They are bloated anyway… and who wants to deal with the hassle of dialing into Microsoft everytime you want to use the product you paid for? Use Open Office. It is free, and just as versatile… and you don’t have to deal with this corporate crap.

    • You do not have to dial in every time.

    • David

      OpenOffice is a joke. It is impossible to use if you are an excel power user (if you don’t know why, then you are not an excel power user – which is fine, but don’t argue this fact!). Serious incompatibilities between the document portion and MS Word, styles, formats. etc. They don’t look the same when you open them in Office. These two issues alone make this decision a non-starter for some, but for others, OpenOffice, NeoOffice or iWork is fine. Just not for others…

  • Jon Alper

    Or, to put it another way, Office 2011 will be the first version of Office I won’t own since version 4.2.1. Online activation is unacceptably user-hostile and unlike other products where I have no viable alternative, Office is an *optional* purchase and therefore one I won’t be making.

    There ARE other ways to improve compliance rates that don’t treat your legitimate users like felons.

  • […] No surprise but Microsoft Office 2011 will apparently require activation. What a marvelous opportunity to buy iWork and or download […]

  • Steve

    I can’t wait for MS Office 2011 – particularly, Outlook. Apple Mail is crap in the business world. Amazon offers “release day delivery”, and my order is already in, and I”m counting down the days!

  • Steve

    BTW – I agree with activation, I’ve never seen as much pirating by Mac resellers. I bought both my 17″MBP and my 27″ quad core i5 iMac off of eBay brand new with AppleCare 3 year warranty (which I love), and they came with Office 2008. Neither one had a valid 2008 license. I have no problem paying, and as a small business owner, would not want anything we do to be pirated either, so I understand.

  • Mike

    Activation will be the death knell for Mac Office, the ability to pirate it was that only reason most people still used it. RIP Mac Office 11.

  • Jon Alper

    Supporting MS’s use of activation in order to support the *truth* that MS should be paid for their work is naive and uninformed. There’s no legitimate debate that piracy is justifiable. That’s not the point. The issue is how they seek to prevent piracy. That’s what’s unacceptable.

    In truth, the MacBU (The Mac Business Unit) has long been Microsoft’s most profitable business group and there was never activation before. (Most *profitable* as in margin and ROI not most dollars in income.)

    Activation does nothing to prevent piracy. It only inconveniences the legitimate user. Site and volume-licensed copies of Office and Windows have no activation because no competent I.T. department would tolerate the inconvenience. Only the consumer licenses require activation. (consumer including small business).

    That all one needs to pirate office is access to a volume-license disk image and serial number plus the almost immediately published cracks for activated products means anyone who wants not to pay for Office, won’t.

    Legit small business and individual users suffer with this invasion of privacy and the absurd notion that, having bought a license, one should have to ask for permission to use it every time you re-install. If you buy a product, software or content, that requires online activation, you haven’t PURCHASED a license, you’ve agreed to a service contract that can be revoked by error or design at any time. The best message to Microsoft is simply to delay purchase and express your dissatisfaction until they change their tune.

    • Pete D

      “Site and volume-licensed copies of Office and Windows have no activation because no competent I.T. department would tolerate the inconvenience. Only the consumer licenses require activation. (consumer including small business). ”

      This could not be further from the truth. All copies of Office for Windows and Windows itself require activation. Not sure where you’re getting your intel, but it is incorrect.

  • Kyle Matthews

    The sad thing is, the pirates will have a activation free version on torrent sites. While we, the paying customers will have to put up with hassle.

  • Johannes Rexx

    Product activation is one of the reasons I no longer use Adobe products and it will be the reason I do not use Mac Office 2011. That plus the fact that MSFT decided to add the ribbon to the product. That ribbon is an abomination and it will not be tolerated here.

    Buh bye MS Office, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Mark

    I was thinking about buying until I saw the licensing requirements. Not for use in any commercial, non-profit, or revenue generating business activities. So you can’t legally use Home & Student version for making a garage sale flyer, church group, or other group you volunteer for. Just what can you do with it? I currently use NeoOffice and have no restrictions like those above. I guess I’ll continue. On the flip side, I can still use my Apple software.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Activation: what a stupid idea. Pirates already have volume-licensed versions that require no activation. Requiring activation doesn’t do anything to stop piracy. It just annoys people.

  • Art

    I don’t have as much problem with activation as I do with the fact that you can no longer install on a desktop and laptop without paying extra. Almost every piece of software I use allows me to do that as long as I don’t use them at the same time. As an individual I can the use it on my desktop at home and then when traveling have it on the laptop. I won’t pay extra for that ability so won’t be upgrading.

  • Activation. I don’t have a problem with it as long as Microsoft continues to provide volume license installers that don’t require activation. After all, Microsoft still hasn’t provided us with a Mac client for ISA. 😉

    Don Montalvo

  • Home users used to get 3 licenses AND Entourage.

    This is a big step back.

    Macworld did a good article on it

    ps – also, if I switch tabs, what I have written in this box is deleted.

  • Jonathan

    I’m with Art on this one – to pay extra to be able to install on a laptop is nonsense.

  • Stuke

    I guess I have to agree with the intrusion and obsessive-like behavior behind activation of software. It will be a problem…plain and simple. I’m not a pirate; I’ve bought every version since 4.2.1 (and loved having the box of manuals, too!). However, activation of 2011 will cause me to not upgrade and to move further into NeoOffice and iWork. The price of the Student and Home version (which I read does NOT include the email client Outlook (does it include a revamped Entourage??)) is fair but the new EULA which does not allow me to have it on my desktop and my laptop (which cannot be used simultaneously by me) is just too bad. Sorry, but I’ll pass on the upgrade.

  • Stewart

    Why have activation? Piracy. Think back, one of the reasons piracy started was the excessive prices charged for software. Microsoft clearly thinks that most users of Office 2011 will be in the corporate/individual business market where the cost is tax deductible. The non-student private users can go hang. Prices have caused piracy. If prices had not been pitched to allow software companies to get rich quick then maybe, just maybe, piracy may have not been so popular. How to I justify the price argument? Look at the success of the iPhone/iPod/iPad app store, realistic prices=vast sales. After all, how much does Microsoft spend annually trying to combat piracy? Microsoft go figure.

  • Jack Gressingh

    I downloaded MS Office 2011 for the Mac and successfully activated Word, Excel and Power Point. When I try to activate Outlook using the same product key, I get a message saying that the product key is not valid. Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong? Thanks.

    • If you purchased the H&B version, the key would have activated Outlook. It sounds like you purchased the H&S version that does not include Outlook. You would need to purchase the upgrade for $99.99 and get a new activation key. Under Word, Excel or PowerPoint in the menu bar, you can select Purchase Options to upgrade.

    • Raphael

      Which key did you use to successfully activate MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint? I’ve tried using mine and they’re not working.

  • Marie

    My mom recently bought the 3-pack Office Mac 2011 online. There was no disk just a serial number. It perfectly installed onto our home computer but now i am having trouble with downloading it onto my macbook. is there a certain site i need to go to or what should i do since there is no disk! HELPPPPPP!

  • Myo Thura

    I just installed Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 at my university’s computer center. I didn’t enter any product key. I was not prompted to do so. But I saw the message that your product is activated.

  • The installation process went smooth… but after upgrading to Lion my MacBook Pro is terribly slow. I want to erase the hard disk and start with a clean installation. I’m affraid activation won’t work any more. Am I correct and how do I deactivate my MacBook pro, so I can activate it again when I’m don reinstalling.

    • You don’t have to de-activate.

      If your drive dies or you get a new computer, you can activate on the new computer. If you do this too often you’ll have to call Microsoft and explain why this is necessary in order to activate.

      Office Installation and Activation Support
      (800) 936-5700

      Be sure to delete duplicate fonts installed by Office 2011 after installing Office.

  • mac danny

    The Office 2011 packages specify “1 user, 1 install” or “3 users, 3 installs”. I only need one install but I am confused about the user limitation. I only have one device but with multiple user profiles. Can I assume I only need the single license ?

    I do not need concurrent use by multiple users and I would not have users logging in from other Macs to use the software.

    • The key activates by computer not User. You only need the 1 user, 1 install.

      You need to consider if you do ever need additional installs you’ll have to pay full price to upgrade.