Fixing product key problems in Office

You’re installing Office and get an error after typing the product key. You try again, but you keep getting the same error. What do you do?

There are several reasons why this may be happening. For example, the product key may have been mistyped or a product key for a different product may have been used.

If you’re installing any of the suites or programs from Office 2010 or the new version of Office, use this guide to help fix the problem (currently, the guide is available only in English).

Or, check this list of common reasons instead:

ShowUsing Microsoft Office 2010 or Microsoft Office programs preloaded on your PC

If you’ve bought Office, follow instructions in the Office product packaging to use your product key instead of using the Microsoft Office 2010 or Microsoft Office programs that may be preloaded on your PC. This should avoid product key errors.

ShowUsing the wrong product key

Most Microsoft products use a 25 character product key. If you own many Microsoft products, it’s easy to confuse the keys and use the wrong one. Here are some common things that can happen:

  • Using the product key from a sticker on a PC

These product keys are normally for Windows. Check the sticker for a product name to make sure it’s for the Office product you’re trying to install.

  • Using the product key from an earlier version of Office

Office product keys aren’t interchangeable between Office versions. For example, you can’t use a Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 product key if you’re trying to install Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010.

  • Using the product key from an individual program to install a suite

Office product keys aren’t interchangeable between Office suites and individual programs. For example, you can’t use a Microsoft Word product key to install Microsoft Office Home and Student.

  • Using the product key provided by a school or company

Schools and companies usually buy a different type of Office license. The product keys they provide to students, teachers, and employees are known as volume license keys. These keys can’t be used for retail Office versions like Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional.

ShowMistyping the product key

Reading the product key from a label can be difficult. Letters and numbers may look the same.

To avoid typing mistakes, here’s a list of commonly mistyped characters:

  • The letter B and the number 8.
  • The letter Q and the number 0.
  • The letter G and the number 6.
  • The letters V and V back to back (VV) appear like the letter W.

 Tip    If you bought Office online and got a confirmation email, try copying and pasting the product key from this email instead of typing it.

ShowTyping the Office 2013 product key in the wrong location

The Office version and the way you bought it plays a big role in how you enter your product key. Usually, following the instructions in the Office packaging should lead to success. But what happens if the packaging is lost?

Don’t worry; here’s information that can help:

ShowOffice package comes only with a product key

If the Office package ONLY came with a product key (no DVD), go to http://office.microsoft.com/setup to use your product key.

 Warning    If you’ve already used the product key to install the product once, you’ll get an error if you try to use it again. You’ll need to sign in with the Microsoft Account you used during the previous install if you need to re-install Office.

ShowOffice package comes with a product key and DVD

If the Office package came with a product key AND a DVD, use the DVD to setup Office and type the product key when asked.

 Tip    If you had a DVD but can’t find it or your PC doesn’t have a DVD drive, go to http://office.microsoft.com/downloadoffice and use the product key to download and install Office. Use this link ONLY if Office came with a DVD.

ShowOffice comes with a new PC

If you bought Office at the same time you bought your new PC, go to http://office.microsoft.com/getoffice to use the product key.

ShowInstalling Office 2010 when another Office version is on the same PC

Check your PC for another version and remove it before you try to install the version you want.

 Important    Before you remove any other version of Office from your PC, make sure you have a way to reinstall it.

ShowHow to remove Office on a Windows 7 PC

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Click Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.
  3. Look for another Office product in the list.
  4. Click it, and then click Uninstall.
  5. Repeat if you see multiple Office products in the list.

ShowHow to remove Office on a Windows 8 PC

  1. From the Start screen, type Control Panel in the search box, and tap or click Apps.
  2. Tap or click Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.
  3. Look for another Office product in the list.
  4. Tap or click it, and then tap or click Uninstall.
  5. Repeat if you see multiple Office products in the list.

If you can’t remove other Office versions from Control Panel, use one of these Fix it solutions:

 Warning    Fix it solutions remove ALL Office product versions from your PC. For example, if you use the Fix it for Office 2010, and you have Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 and Outlook 2010, it will remove both products.

 
 
Applies to:
Excel 2013, OneNote 2013, Outlook 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Word 2013, Excel 2010, OneNote 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Word 2010