- What If Microsoft Office Is Not Activated?
- What Happens If Microsoft Office Is Not Activated on Windows 10?
- Fixes for the “Product Activation Failed” Error in Microsoft Office
- The Main Fix: Run the OSPREARM.EXE File
- Fix 1: Check Your Active Microsoft Account
- Fix 2: Remove Other Copies of Office From Your PC
- Fix 3: Update Your Subscription
- Fix 4: Run Office in Admin Mode
- Fix 5: Check Your Date/Time Settings
- Fix 6: Update Office
For those who routinely use text documents, spreadsheets or presentation slides at work or study, Microsoft Office is nigh on indispensable. You might as well say it is in a league of its own when it comes to the ultimate package for creating, managing and forwarding documents in any common format. Even though pretenders to the Office throne have sprung up in recent times, it remains a fact that no other application bundle comes close to the ease, sheer versatility and plain old familiarity we get with Microsoft Office.
The current version of Office is Office 2021, released in October 2021, along with Windows 11. Office 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2011 remain in popular usage.
Many users have recently complained about receiving theProduct Activation Failedmessage at the top of the title bar when they open an Office application like Word, Excel or PowerPoint. This message can appear whether you have a genuine Office license or not.
Many people in this scenario simply click the large X icon to remove the error banner and continue to go about their business. However, each time an Office app is opened, the error banner reappears.
Eventually, all Office apps lose their most important features and the user is basically stuck in read-only mode because editing and other functions are disabled.
Of course, you’d like to avoid this happening to you. That’s why you’re here. This is why we’re here too: to help. In this article, we provide some fixes and workarounds for this error.
What If Microsoft Office Is Not Activated?
If the error message says that your Office isn’t activated, it means that your Office apps are now on the level of a trial version. Depending on the type of warning you get, you can still make use of them as normal. This will, however, change if you don’t take any action during the warning interval.
In older versions of Office, it was common to getOutlook Product Activation Failedfor Microsoft Outlook,Excel Product Activation Failedfor Microsoft Excel, andWord Product Activation Failedfor Microsoft Word. Things are slightly different for Office 2019 and 2021.
Since Microsoft has moved from a product key model to a license model, the corresponding errors now mention the absence of a working license. Rather than talking about product activation, users now get these types of messages instead:
- There’s a problem with your Office license
- Your Office license is not genuine
In the actual applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher, you get one of several types of action messages informing you that your Office has been deactivated and you should make a purchase. In Microsoft Word, you get one of these messages:
- PRODUCT DEACTIVATED To keep using Word without interruption, please reactivate now: This is a rectangular orange strip between the toolbar and the page, containing a white Reactivate button next to the message.
- Unlicensed Product/Product Activation Failed:Both of these show up on the title bar next to the title of the opened document. If the latter message shows up instead of the former, it is still possible to use the full functionalities of Word for an indeterminate period.
- There’s a problem with your Office license:This message pops up the minute a Word document is opened. It tells you your copy of the application isn’t activated and contains options for (re)activation.
When you get these messages, you need to do something. Otherwise, you’ll soon lose the creating and editing features of Office.
What Happens If Microsoft Office Is Not Activated on Windows 10?
If your Office trial period has expired and you are yet to reactivate it, a lot of things can happen when you want to use any of the applications. One of these issues happens if Microsoft Office is not activated or licensed:
- Constant “Product Activation Failed” messages
- Error messages telling you your copy of Word, Excel, etc. might be counterfeit
- Disabled features, increasing in severity as time goes by
- A dialog to enter your product key in some versions of Office
- A sign-in prompt in Office 2019
- Account deactivation 31-120 days after Office deactivation if you signed up through Office 365
Fixes for the “Product Activation Failed” Error in Microsoft Office
An Office activation error is not something you wish to see if you’re using a genuine license. There are some reasons why the bug can mistakenly occur for you. Sometimes, it’s an error on Microsoft’s end, which incorrectly flags your copy of Office as unlicensed.
The Main Fix: Run the OSPREARM.EXE File
This is as easy as pie and surprisingly very effective. You just need to accept the Office folder on your PC and run a specific file in admin mode:
- Close all running Microsoft Office apps.
- Open File Explorer from your taskbar.
- Navigate to a location below depending on whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Office. X stands for your Office edition.
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeX
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OfficeX
- LocateOSPPREARM.exein this folder.
- Right-click the file and selectRun as administrator.
- Repeat the previous step a couple more times.
Now close everything, open an Office app, and check whether the error is gone.
If this doesn’t work, here are other ways you can troubleshoot the issue.
Fix 1: Check Your Active Microsoft Account
Starting from Office 2016, Microsoft encourages users to purchase a digital license for Office. If you’re currently signed in with a different Microsoft account from the one you bought Office with, you can get the “There’s a problem with your license” bug.
The simple remedy to this is to make sure you’re signed in with the correct Microsoft account. Once your PC syncs with the Microsoft servers, the error banner in Office should go away.
Fix 2: Remove Other Copies of Office From Your PC
Activation or license errors can arise if there are multiple copies of Microsoft Office on your computer. For example, you could have two versions of Office 2019 installed in two separate locations. You could also have Office 2021 and an old version like Office 2013 on your PC at the same time. This can cause an issue like theUnlicensed producterror in Office 2013 because your license only covers one edition/copy of Office.
Simply remove the older version of Office you have no further need of and all will be well:
- Open theControl Panelon your PC and navigate toPrograms & Features.
- Look for an older version of Office, right-click it and selectUninstall.
Fix 3: Update Your Subscription
This error can happen to Office 365 users whose subscription has expired. There is usually a grace period to resubscribe to the service before Office features are truncated.
Once you renew your expired subscription, you’ll no longer have to deal with the error.
Fix 4: Run Office in Admin Mode
Some users got the problem to go away by running Office and its component programs as an administrator. To check if this works for you, simply run an Office app in admin mode:
- Hit the Windows key and search for an Office app (e.g., Word).
- Select “Run as administrator”.
If this solves the error for you, simply set Word, Excel, etc. to always open in administrator mode.
Fix 5: Check Your Date/Time Settings
If your date or time is incorrect, the Microsoft servers may be unable to verify your Office license. Change your PC clock to the correct date and time in your region.
Fix 6: Update Office
The problem might be due to a glitch or bug that Microsoft has patched via a recent update. Apply all available updates and check if the error is gone.
With activation completed, you should be able to enjoy the full features of Office. Beware though, as your Office apps can be a target for phishing and malware attacks, especially if you use the internet often. To safeguard your applications and ensure that no problems develop when using Office, we recommendAuslogics Anti-Malwarefor the total obliteration of dangerous and harmful items on your computer.
Just download and install the app and let it scan your computer for potential sources of damage. It will quarantine them and will also automatically block any phishing attempts or bogus messages and documents that might compromise your computer’s safety.
In case the Microsoft Office product activation failed issue is caused by system errors, you can run a Windows Update to update your OS to the latest version to see if the issue can be fixed. To update Windows 10, click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.How do I get rid of product activation failed in Excel? ›
- Step 1: Sign in to Office with the right account. ...
- Step 2: Check for multiple copies of Office. ...
- Step 3: Check your subscription status. ...
- Step 4: Troubleshoot activation.
In case the Microsoft Office product activation failed issue is caused by system errors, you can run a Windows Update to update your OS to the latest version to see if the issue can be fixed. To update Windows 10, click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.How to activate Microsoft Office Excel without product key? ›
Step 1: Go to www.office.com/setup or Microsoft365.com/setup. Step 2: Sign in with your Microsoft account, or create one if you don't have one. Be sure to remember this account so that you can install or reinstall Office later, without a product key.How do I fix Microsoft activation? ›
Select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Activation , and then select Troubleshoot to run the Activation troubleshooter.How do I activate Microsoft Word for free? ›
You may be asked to log in to Office with a Microsoft account to activate your Office suite. If you don't have a Microsoft account, you can follow the instructions to create a Microsoft account. You can also activate Office for free if you start a 1-month free trial of Microsoft 365 Family.What happens if Excel is not activated? ›
What If Microsoft Office Is Not Activated? If the error message says that your Office isn't activated, it means that your Office apps are now on the level of a trial version. Depending on the type of warning you get, you can still make use of them as normal.How can I reactivate my Excel? ›
On the Products tab, find the subscription that you want to reactivate. Select the three dots (more actions), then select Reactivate this subscription. If you don't see Reactivate this subscription, contact support.How do I unlock Word Office? ›
To unlock the Microsoft Word document, the user must click on the File tab and then select “Info”. From there, the user can click on the “Protect Document” button, which will open a window where the user can enter their password to unlock the file.How do I reinstall Microsoft Office? ›
- Go to www.office.com and if you're not already signed in, select Sign in. ...
- Sign in with the account you associated with this version of Microsoft 365. ...
- After signing in, follow the steps that match the type of account you signed in with.
This is typically done to allow you to sign in to another Office device (Microsoft 365 Family) or to free up an Office install (Microsoft 365 for business). Select Sign in and enter your Microsoft 365 account. This will activate Office.
If you bought a new Microsoft 365 product key card, or you received a product key when you bought Microsoft 365through an online store, go to Office.com/setup or Microsoft365.com/setup and follow the on-screen prompts. This is a one-time process that adds your new product to your Microsoft account.How do I find my Office product key in Excel? ›
After you sign in, select your name in the upper right-hand corner, and then select Order History. Locate the Office one-time purchase or individual Office app, and then select Install Office to view your product key (this doesn't actually install Office).How do I activate Windows 10 on my laptop without a product key? ›
If you have a digital license for your device, you can reinstall the same edition of Windows 10 on this device without entering a product key. Make sure that Windows 10 is activated before you try to reinstall it. To find out, select the Start button, and then select Settings > Update & Security > Activation .How to bypass Windows 10 product key activation? ›
To install Windows 10 without a product key, click “I Don't Have a Product Key” during the installation. You won't be able to change your desktop background through the Settings app until you activate Windows 10, however. Microsoft allows anyone to download Windows 10 for free and install it without a product key.What happens if Windows is not activated? ›
If you don't activate Windows 10, some features will be disabled upon the expiry of the trial period. For instance, you won't be able to customize your PC or laptop, meaning features like themes, lock screen, colors, fonts, and taskbar will return to their default settings (if you customized them).Can you still use Microsoft Word without paying? ›
Microsoft 365 for the web is a free version of Microsoft 365 that you can use in a web browser. All you need is to sign up for a Microsoft account with a new or existing email address. Use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more for free on the web.Do I have to pay for Microsoft Word again? ›
If you have the Microsoft Office on your Microsoft account, you can install Office from your account and you do not need to repurchase Microsoft Office.Why I can't use my Microsoft Word for free? ›
No, You Can't Use the Microsoft Word App on PC (or Mac) for Free. There's an important version of Microsoft Word you can't use for free: the local desktop app for Windows. This is a source of confusion for those who buy a new Windows computer. Most Windows installations have Office apps installed by default.How do I know if Excel is activated? ›
Click on File tab. Select Account. On the right-hand side of the screen, you will see the product activation information as displayed below.
After a user is assigned a license, you can deploy Office to your users or your users can install Office directly from the Office 365 portal. If the user hasn't been assigned a license, the user can't install Office from the Office 365 portal.Can I still use Word after Office 365 expires? ›
Admins and users no longer have access to the services or Microsoft 365 apps that came with the subscription. All customer data—from user data to documents and email—is permanently deleted and is unrecoverable.How do I use Microsoft Word when my subscription has expired? ›
Once you have cancelled your Office subscription, your installation can only read and print Office files, as others have said. Your files are still intact, but you need a different product to edit them. One option is to buy Microsoft Office Home & Student which is a one-time purchase.Why is my Microsoft Word suddenly locked? ›
The file might be locked because: The file is shared and another user is currently editing it. An instance of the Office app is running in the background with the file already opened. The file has been marked as Final and can no longer be updated.Why is Microsoft Word locked? ›
Why does my Microsoft Word say the selection is locked? The most common cause of the 'Selection is locked error' is due to an unactivated version of Office, and the document is protected or restricted from editing in some ways.Why is my Microsoft Word locked and won't let me type? ›
Simply select “Step Protection” button to unlock protected part of the document. In case the Word document is marked as final and you can't edit it. You just need to click the “Edit Anyway” button that highlight in the head of the page. It is only one-time operation, so you have to perform this step everytime.How do I bypass Excel validation? ›
To quickly remove data validation for a cell, select it, and then go to Data > Data Tools > Data Validation > Settings > Clear All.How do I turn off Windows activation error? ›
You can do this by changing a value in the Services menu, or by editing the Windows Registry. Keep in mind that the only way to permanently remove Windows activation notifications is by activating Windows.How do I activate expired Excel? ›
If you see SUBSCRIPTION EXPIRED in the yellow warning bar, select Reactivate, and then select Buy to renew Office online. If you bought a new, unused Microsoft 365 product key from a retailer, select Enter Key.How do I remove restrictions from a cell in Excel? ›
Step 1− Select the cell in the worksheet from which you need to remove the data value restriction. Step 2− Click Data Validation under Data > Data Tools. Step 3− Click Clear All under the Settings Tab of the dialog box as shown below. If you want to remove the similar data restriction from all other cells.
- Click on the notification icon in the taskbar and choose to turn off all Office notifications. ...
- If you are not seeing the notification icon in your taskbar, you can get to it another way. ...
- Click on it and choose to turn the notifications off.
If you have a digital license for your device, you can reinstall the same edition of Windows 10 on this device without entering a product key. Make sure that Windows 10 is activated before you try to reinstall it. To find out, select the Start button, and then select Settings > Update & Security > Activation .How to clear activation key Windows 10? ›
1 Open an elevated command prompt. 2 Copy and paste the slmgr /upk command into the elevated command prompt, and press Enter to uninstall the product key. 3. Click/tap on OK when the product key has successfully been uninstalled.How do I activate my Excel license for free? ›
- Activating your free Office suite via Microsoft. Open the Microsoft Office program of your choice. ...
- Step 1: open the Office program. ...
- Step 2: choose an account. ...
- Step 3: log in to Microsoft 365. ...
- Step 4: accept the conditions. ...
- Step 5: get started.