Activate or register programs in the Microsoft Office System

Applies to
Microsoft Office System

To continue to use all the features of your product, you need to activate your software. Microsoft Product Activation is an anti-piracy technology designed to verify that software products have been legitimately licensed. It is quick, simple, unobtrusive, and helps protect customer privacy. Product Activation works by verifying that a software program's product key, which you must use in order to install the product, has not been used on more personal computers than intended by the software's license.

Activation data provided to Microsoft is stored in a secure facility. Microsoft is very concerned with the privacy and security of the information that you provide as part of the activation process. For more information on how Microsoft works to protect your privacy, review the Microsoft Office Activation/Registration Privacy Statement.

For the latest information on activation, visit the Microsoft Software Piracy Protection site.

Registration is completely voluntary and does require sharing some personal information. Registration will provide you access to special offers and notifications.

Activate your software

You have two choices of when to activate your software:

  • When you first run the software     When you start your program for the first time after installation, the Activation Wizard automatically runs.
  • Later     To activate later, on the Help menu, click Activate Product.

When you decide to activate, the Activation Wizard gives you two choices on how to proceed:

  • Activate by using the Internet    The Activation Wizard automatically contacts the Microsoft licensing servers through your Internet connection. The only information that you must provide is your country/region. If you are using a valid product key that has not exceeded the number of allowed installations, your product is activated immediately.

When you activate via the Internet, your product ID (derived from the installation product key) is sent to Microsoft through an encrypted transfer. A response (confirmation ID) is sent back to your computer to activate your product. If you choose to activate your product through the Internet and you are not already connected, the wizard will help you get connected.

  • Activate by using the telephone    You can call an Activation Center and activate your product by talking to a customer service representative over the telephone. Telephone activation might take longer than activation using the Internet. You should be at your computer when you call and have your software product key available. Telephone numbers vary by license and country/region. In step 2 of the Activation Wizard, use the number provided to call the Microsoft Activation Center.
    1. In the Activation Wizard, in step 1, select the country/region where you reside and will be using the product.
      When you select a country/region, one or more telephone numbers will appear.
    2. In the Activation Wizard, in step 2, the Activation Center customer service representative will ask you to provide your Installation ID and other relevant information.
    3. After your Installation ID is verified, as part of step 3, you will receive a Confirmation ID to enter in the spaces provided at the bottom of the screen.

 Note   Microsoft Text Telephone (TT/TTY) services are available for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. In the United States, using a TT/TTY modem, dial (800) 718-1599. From outside the United States, using a TT/TTY modem, dial (716) 871-6859. TT/TTY service is only available in English.

Register your product

After you finish activating your software over the Internet, you can choose to register your product, which enables you to receive information about product updates and special offers directly from Microsoft. The registration option is not provided if you activate by telephone.

You can also register at a later time. Instructions for later registration are below in the frequently asked questions section.

Registration is completely voluntary and does require sharing some personal information, such as a valid e-mail address. Any registration information that you provide is stored securely and separately from any activation information. No information is ever loaned or sold to third parties.

Registration will provide you access to special offers and notifications.

Frequently asked questions

ShowHow do I activate at a later time?

If you don't want to activate your copy of the program when you install it, you can activate it later.

  • On the Help menu, click Activate Product.

The wizard will guide you step by step through the process of activating over the Internet or by telephone.

If you have a problem with your activation, contact a customer service representative using the telephone number provided in the wizard.

ShowHow do I register at a later time?

At any time you can use the Microsoft Office 2003 Registration Wizard.

ShowHow long do I have to activate?

You can start your software up to 50 times without activation.

ShowI get "The Activation Wizard is unable to find a connection" error message from the Activation Wizard

For more information on this problem, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 822519.

ShowWhy don't you list the telephone number to call here?

Microsoft software is obtained and licensed in several different ways, including individual retail licenses, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) licenses, and volume licenses. Contact numbers vary by license and country/region. In step 2 of the Activation Wizard, use the number provided to call the Microsoft Activation Center.

ShowWhat happens if I don't activate?

Before you activate, you can run the software up to 50 times. After that, the software will go into Reduced Functionality mode. You will not be able to save modifications to documents or create a new document, and additional functionality might be reduced. Full functionality returns when you activate the software.

No existing files or documents will be harmed during Reduced Functionality mode.

ShowAre activation and registration the same thing?

No. Activation is required. Registration is voluntary.

ShowHow can I tell if my software has been activated?

Do the following:

  • On the Help menu, click Activate Product.

If your software is activated, you will receive the following confirmation message:

The product has already been activated.

ShowWhere can I view the End-User License Agreement (EULA)?

Do the following:

  • On the Help menu, click About product name, and then click View the End-User License Agreement.

If you want to view the EULA and have not installed the software, you can view the EULA online at

ShowWhere can I view the Activation/Registration Privacy Statement?

The Privacy Statement is available online.

Applies to:
Access 2003, Excel 2003, FrontPage 2003, InfoPath 2003, OneNote 2003, Outlook 2003, PowerPoint 2003, Publisher 2003, Word 2003