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Microsoft Office / 365 for Mac/iOS Useful Information

Article ID = 118
Article Title = Microsoft Office / 365 for Mac/iOS Useful Information
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 25th February 2014
Article Last Updated = 6th May 2020
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?118

Article Brief Description:
Useful information about Microsoft Office for Mac 2019, 2016, 2011, 2008, 2004 and also the Microsoft 365 subscription service plus Office for iOS mobile devices.

Microsoft Office for Mac/iOS Current Status as of 6th May 2020

MacStrategy presents a run down of the current status of Microsoft Office for macOS and iOS mobile devices (iPad/iPhone). Microsoft now also offers a subscription based Office Microsoft 365 service that allows you to install the most up-to-date version of Office for Mac that is available. On the 24th September 2018 Microsoft released Office 2019 for Mac for Volume License users only - Office 2019 was made available to all customers, consumer and commercial in October 2018.

Installation, Registration and Compatibility

  • Office 2019 is only supported/gets security updates if you are running a supported version of macOS:
  • Q. What are the current, supported versions of macOS?
    A. macOS 10.15 (Catalina), 10.14 (Mojave) and macOS 10.13 (High Sierra) are supported by Apple. The latest security updates are:
  • Support for Office 2016 will end on 13th October 2020
  • Support for Office 2019 will end on 10th October 2023
  • As of 30th March 2020 the Office 365 subscription service was renamed to Microsoft 365
  • As of January 2019 Office 2019 was split into two tracks:
    1. With Microsoft Teams collaboration tools
    2. Without Microsoft Teams
  • Office 2019 became available for Volume License users on 24th September 2018 - Office 2019 was made available to all customers, consumer and commercial in October 2018
  • As of September 2018 Office 2016 was split into two tracks:
    1. Office 365 subscription track = you get full updates - features + security e.g. v16.17.0
    2. Office 2016 perpetual licence track = you only get security updates e.g. v16.16.2
  • Office 2019 Preview for Mac Enterprise Users became available on 12th June 2018
  • Office 2016 version 16 became publicly available for all users on 18th January 2018 - this version uses a new code base more in line with the Windows version allowing for better equality of feature set across all platforms
  • Office 2011 became end of life on 10th October 2017 - there will be no more security updates for this version of Office!
  • Office 2016 became 64-bit in July 2016 - if you use add-ins check they are 64-bit compatible
  • Office 365 requires internet activation and a Microsoft Account to install
  • Office 2011 and 2016 are Intel Mac native apps
  • Office 2011 / 2016 (perpetual licence) / 2019 (perpetual licence) require a serial number/key and internet activation to install (registration of a Microsoft Account is required if you do not already have one)
  • NOTE: If you are having problems with installation/activation call Microsoft on 02031 474930 in the UK or (866) 825-4797 in the USA. Alternatively, see these dedicated Microsoft support pages.
  • Office 2008 are Universal Binary apps so will run on Intel and PowerPC Macs
  • Office 2008 does not include VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)
  • Office 2008 and all prior versions simply require a serial number to install (registration is optional)
  • Office 2011 and all prior versions are no longer supported and do not get (security) updates
  • Office v.X and 2004 require Mac OS X and are PowerPC (Rosetta) based apps - they will not run on OS X 10.7 Lion or later
  • Office 2001 are Classic Mac OS apps
NOTE: As of Office 2011 with Microsoft's dramatic lowering of prices at the time, discounted upgrade versions are no longer available/sold.
NOTE: As of 6th July 2017 Skype requires OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later.

Points To Note About Office 2019

Points To Note About Office 2016

  • You must be running macOS 10.12 Sierra or later.
  • As of July 2016 (Update 15.25.0 or later) Office 2016 became 64-bit - if you use add-ins check they are 64-bit compatible.
  • As of November 2016 (Update 15.28.0 + AutoUpdate 3.8.1 or later) updates can be set to install automatically.
  • It now includes the OneNote for Mac application as standard.
  • It does not support right-to-left languages - as of 16th March 2016 with update 15.20.0 or later Word, Excel and PowerPoint supported Arabic and Hebrew. As of 12th May 2016 with update 15.22.0 or later Outlook supported Arabic and Hebrew.
  • Exchange accounts require Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2 or later.
  • Support for Office 2016 will end on 13th October 2020
  • We have a separate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) article all about Office 2016.

What You Need To Know About Office/Microsoft 365

Office/Microsoft 365 requires regular payment (a subscription) to continue using the software (SaaS - Software As A Service). The subscription licensing is similar to Adobe's Creative Suite in the Cloud. You pay your subscription, you download and install the software, the software works while you pay. If you stop paying/cancel your subscription, the software goes into 'reduced-functionality mode' (you can open/read and print documents but you cannot edit them or create new documents). If a new version comes out while you are subscribing you get the new version at no extra cost. However, unlike the Adobe model there are still perpetual and volume licensing options available for the desktop products, your documents are saved in an open, non-proprietary format, and you can choose to pay yearly/monthly or even from month to month. If you plan to cancel your subscription you should check that the document features you plan to use are going to be supported by third party alternatives. Most Office/Microsoft 365 subscription plans include all the Office 2016/2019 desktop applications for macOS, Office for iOS apps including OneNote, plus 1TB of online cloud storage† space via OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) and a Skype minutes monthly allowance. For home/non-commercial users there is a "Personal" subscription (1 user, 1 PC/Mac, 1 tablet, 1 phone) or a "Family" subscription (6 users, 6 PCs/Macs, 6 tablets, 6 phones). There are a range of plans for businesses/commercial users. Office/Microsoft 365 needs an internet connection at least once every 39 days to "phone home" otherwise the applications will go into reduced functionality mode (view/print documents but not edit/create new documents).
- Over time Microsoft has changed the amount of OneDrive storage offered with Office/Microsoft 365 Personal, Home and University subscriptions. In June 2014 Microsoft bumped Office/Microsoft 365 subscribers from 20GB to 1TB. They then added unlimited storage in October 2014. From early 2016 unlimited storage will be removed and it will be 1TB again. Storage allowances differ for business users based on their type of subscription and level.

How To Setup Office/Microsoft 365 (Office 2016/2019 not installed - home users)

  1. If you don't already have one, create a Microsoft Account
  2. Sign up for the 30 day trial "Home" subscription or the "Personal" subscription
  3. Enter your credit card details (it will not be billed immediately)
  4. Download the software from the link provided (there should be options for either Office 2016 or 2019 - 2019 will only run on the latest, supported versions of macOS - see the top of this article)
  5. Install the software
  6. If you are happy with the software purchase a subscription online from your Microsoft Account or buy a subscription download/license card
  7. Enter the subscription activation code into Office when requested
NOTE: If you are not happy with the software login to your Microsoft Account and cancel the subscription/remove your card details.

How To Setup Office/Microsoft 365 (Office 2016-2019 already installed - home users)

  1. Make sure Office 2016/2019 is up-to-date with the latest software update/service pack installed
  2. If you don't already have one, create a Microsoft Account
  3. Purchase a subscription online from your Microsoft Account or buy a subscription download/license card
  4. Enter the subscription activation code into Office when requested

How To Setup Office/Microsoft 365 (business users)

Go to the Office/Microsoft 365 Business web site, choose a plan, sign up and install your choice of software as required.

Manage your Office/Microsoft 365 Subscription/Account

Go to the Microsoft Account Login page.

Office 2011/2016/2019 Product Keys and Activation

Office 2011/2016/2019 Software Activation

Microsoft's activation scheme does two specific things to try and prevent software piracy:
  1. Multiple installs using a single serial number
  2. Installation on what might appear to the software to be a different computer for example replacing/upgrading the hard disk in your computer is an obvious flag
In either situation the activation system will block the install and you need to contact Microsoft to verify the legitimacy of your ownership of the software. This can be a pain in the butt but in all cases you do not need to repurchase Microsoft Office or purchase the Office/Microsoft 365 subscription. If you have a receipt/invoice and a serial number Microsoft should issue a new serial number/activation code. However, this is where the most problems occur simply because Microsoft support, especially for Mac products, is so poor. Be firm and resolute and make sure you have that proof of ownership before calling. NOTE: If you are having problems with installation/activation call Microsoft on 02031 474930 in the UK or (866) 825-4797 in the USA. Alternatively, see these dedicated Microsoft support pages. You can also try removing any licensing files from your computer and reinstalling/reactivating.

Office 2011/2016/2019 Invalid Product Key

Microsoft routinely invalidates some "product keys" (serial numbers) via software updates/service packs because they may have been leaked/compromised and/or posted on software pirating web sites. If you can prove ownership of the software they will give you a new product key (serial number).
NOTE: If you are having problems with an invalid product key call Microsoft on 02031 474930 in the UK or (866) 825-4797 in the USA

Microsoft Office Options

NOTE: You can buy Office 2016/2019 as perpetual licensed / boxed editions but you won't get proper access to the Office apps for mobile devices including iOS (iPad/iPhone). Boxed editions are generally "medialess" and do not contain installation media/discs. You get a unique code in the box that allows you to download the software installer via the internet but it is not a subscription and also includes a serial number/activation key.

Office 2019 Options

  • Office 2019 Home & Student available as a single user license but only includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Office 2019 Home & Business available as a single user license but only includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook
  • Office 2019 Business Premium available as a single user license and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint and Teams + OneDrive cloud storage
  • Office 2016 Volume Licensing minimum 5 licence purchase, includes Skype Business for Mac + has single serial number and does not require activation

Office 2016 Options

  • Office 2016 Home & Student available as a single user license but does not include Outlook (RRP £119.99 inc VAT)
  • Office 2016 Home & Business available as a single user license and includes Outlook (RRP £229.99 inc VAT)
  • Office 2016 Volume Licensing minimum 5 licence purchase, includes Skype Business for Mac + has single serial number and does not require activation

Microsoft/Office 365 Subscription Options

NOTE: As of 30th March 2020 the Office 365 subscription service was renamed to Microsoft 365.
  • Microsoft 365 Personal [1 user, non-commercial use, 1 PC/Mac, 1 tablet, 1 phone]
  • Microsoft 365 Family [6 users, non-commercial use, 6 PCs/Macs, 6 tablets, 6 phones]
    {formerly "Office 365 Home" and before that "Home Premium"}
  • Microsoft 365 Apps [desktop/mobile apps only] {formerly Office 365 Business / Office 365 ProPlus}
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic [mobile apps only + online services] {formerly Office 365 Business Essentials}
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard [desktop/mobile apps + online services] {formerly Office 365 Business Premium}
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium [desktop/mobile apps + online services + Intune + Azure Information Protection + Advanced threat protection + PC and mobile device management] {formerly Microsoft 365 Business}
  • Office 365 Enterprise E1/E3/E5
  • Office 365 for Firstline Workers F1
  • Office 365 for Education A1/A3/A5
  • Office 365 for Government G1/G3/G5
Microsoft 365 for non-commercial users
Microsoft 365 Education for Students (account provided by the educational institution)
Microsoft 365 University
Compare all Microsoft 365 Business plans

Useful Links

Microsoft Office at Amazon UK/USA

Office/Microsoft 365 subscription

  • Microsoft 365 "Personal" (1 user, non-commercial use - activation code via email or in box)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Microsoft 365 "Family" (6 users, 6 installs + 6 portable installs, non-commercial use - activation code via email or in box)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Microsoft 365 "Business Standard" (1 business/user - 5 installs - activation code via email or in box)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA

Office 2019 perpetual license, boxed edition

  • Office 2019 Home & Student (1 user, 1 install, no Outlook - download/licence key card)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK
  • Office 2019 Home & Business (1 user, 1 install, with Outlook - download/licence key card)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA

Office 2016 perpetual license, boxed edition

  • Office 2016 Home & Student (1 user, 1 install, no Outlook - download/licence key card)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Office 2016 Home & Business (1 user, 1 install, with Outlook - download)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • Office 2016 Home & Business (1 user, 1 install, with Outlook - licence key card)
    Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA

Microsoft macOS Application Download Links

Microsoft iOS App Download Links

Office for iOS/iPad

Office for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch requires iOS 12 or later
NOTE: The Office/Microsoft 365 subscription is now available as an in-app purchase.
NOTE: Microsoft allows iOS devices that have screens smaller than 10.1 inches to edit documents for free so the iPad Pro requires an Office/Microsoft 365 subscription to be able to edit documents (this is not just an iOS restriction - it applies to Android and Windows devices too).

Additional Office/Microsoft 365 Apps

Other Microsoft apps available for iOS/iPad/Apple Watch

Alternatives To Microsoft Office

  • Alternative Exchange server client software:

Microsoft Office Personal Data Storage Locations

Office 2019 stores your personal data in ~your home directory~ > Library > Group Containers > UBF8T346G9.Office:
  • Outlook accounts are then in > Outlook > Outlook 16 Profiles > Main Profile (or a different profile name if you have changed it)
  • Startup items in > User Content > Startup
  • Templates e.g. "Normal.dotm" in > User Content > Templates
  • Themes in > User Content > Themes
Office 2016 stores your personal data in ~your home directory~ > Library > Group Containers > UBF8T346G9.Office:
  • Outlook accounts are then in > Outlook > Outlook 15 Profiles > Main Profile (or a different profile name if you have changed it)
  • Startup items in > User Content > Startup
  • Templates e.g. "Normal.dotm" in > User Content > Templates
  • Themes in > User Content > Themes
Office 2011 stores your personal data in:
  • Primary data in ~your home directory~ > Documents > Microsoft User Data
    • Outlook accounts are then in > Office 2011 Identities > Main Identity (or a different identity name if you have changed it)
  • Startup items in Macintosh HD > Applications > Microsoft Office 2011 > Office > Startup
  • Templates e.g. "Normal.dotm" are in ~your home directory~ > Library > Application Support > Microsoft > User Templates
  • ~your home directory~ > Library > Preferences > Microsoft > Office 2011 stores the following data:
    • Custom dictionaries
    • Auto Correct Lists (ACLs)
    • Excel Toolbars
Office 2008 stores your personal data in:
  • Primary data in ~your home directory~ > Documents > Microsoft User Data
    • Entourage accounts are then in > Office 2008 Identities > Main Identity (or a different identity name if you have changed it)
  • Startup items in Macintosh HD > Applications > Microsoft Office 2008 > Office > Startup
  • Templates e.g. "Normal.dotm" are in ~your home directory~ > Library > Application Support > Microsoft > User Templates
  • ~your home directory~ > Library > Preferences > Microsoft > Office 2008 stores the following data:
    • Custom dictionaries
    • Auto Correct Lists (ACLs)
    • Excel Toolbars

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This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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