Overview of licensing and activation in Office 365 ProPlus


Applies to: Office 365 ProPlus

Topic Last Modified: 2017-03-09

Summary: Explains how to assign Office 365 ProPlus licenses to users, and how individual installations are activated.

Audience: IT professionals

To deploy Office 365 ProPlus to users in your organization, you start by assigning licenses to your users. Then, each user can install Office 365 ProPlus on up to five computers. Each installation is activated and kept activated automatically by cloud-based services associated with Office 365. This means you don't have to keep track of product keys. It also means you don't have to figure out how to use other activation methods such as Key Management Service (KMS) or Multiple Activation Key (MAK). All you have to do is make sure you purchase enough licenses, keep your Office 365 subscription current, and make sure your users can connect to Office Licensing Service via the Internet at least once every 30 days.

The information in this article also applies to Project Online Desktop Client and Visio Pro for Office 365, which are licensed separately from Office 365 ProPlus.
This article is part of the Getting started guide for deploying Office 365 ProPlus for IT professionals.
Are you looking for help with installing Office with Office 365? You may be looking for Get started with Office 365 and Install Office with Office 365, which will help you learn how to set up and use Office 365 on your computer, phone, and tablet.

The number of available licenses available for Office 365 ProPlus depends on your organization’s Office 365 subscription level. To assign a license to a user, you select a check box on the licenses page for the user’s account.

The admin page for a user in the Office 365 portal showing check boxes for assigning licenses for Office products.

After that’s done, the user can install Office directly from the Office 365 portal or you can deploy Office to your users from your local network.

You can remove a user’s license (for example, if the user leaves your organization). After you do this, any installations of Office 365 ProPlus that the user had go into reduced functionality mode. The Office Licensing Service, a part of Office 365, keeps track of which users are licensed and how many computers they’ve installed Office on.

As part of the installation process, Office 365 ProPlus communicates with the Office Licensing Service and the Activation and Validation Service to obtain and activate a product key. Each day, or each time the user logs on to their computer, the computer connects to the Activation and Validation Service to verify the license status and extend the product key. As long as the computer can connect to the Internet at least once every 30 days, Office remains fully functional. If the computer goes offline for more than 30 days, Office enters reduced functionality mode until the next time a connection can be made. To get Office fully functional again, usually a user can simply connect to the Internet and let the Activation and Validation Service reactivate the installation.

Because of its online activation features, Office 365 ProPlus won’t work on computers that are completely cut off from the Internet. For those computers, we recommend installing Office Professional Plus 2016 and using a traditional activation method such as Key Management Service (KMS) or Active Directory Domain Services.

Each Office 365 ProPlus license allows a user to install Office on up to five computers. The user manages installations in the Office 365 portal:

A user's software page in the Office 365 portal, showing active Office installs on four computers.

If the user decides to install Office 365 ProPlus on a sixth computer, she will need to deactivate one of the first five. Office 365 ProPlus goes into reduced functionality mode on the deactivated computer.

In reduced functionality mode, Office 365 ProPlus remains installed on the computer, but users can only view and print their documents. All features for editing or creating new documents are disabled, and the user sees a message like the following:

A dialog box saying "Product Deactivated" with buttons to enter a product key or to sign in to an active account.

The user can then choose one of the available options to reactivate Office 365 ProPlus on that computer.