After you install Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 or Office for Mac Home and Student 2011, you try to enter the product key when you are prompted, and you receive the following error message:
The product key is not valid. Make sure that you entered the correct key. If the key doesn’t work, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support.
Method 1: Verify that the correct product key is enteredNote
Product keys differ, depending on the version of Office for Mac 2011. It is important to enter the correct product key that corresponds to the product that you have.
To make sure that you enter the correct product key, follow these steps:
- Verify that you are typing the product key and that you are not typing one of these other numbers:
- The CD set number
- The disc assembly number
- The part number
- A 27-character PIN
Important The product key contains 25 characters. If there are 27 characters, then you have a PIN and not a product key. To obtain the 25-character product key, visit the following website, and use the 27-character PIN:
- The product key location differs based on the kind of product that you purchased. If you purchased a boxed product, the 25-character product key is located inside the disc case or on the back of the disc sleeve on a rectangular orange label that is included with the installation media.
If you purchased the product through a website, the product key is sent to you in an email message that has the subject, "Microsoft Office for Mac US Store - Order Confirmation."
The number is displayed in the following format:
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- To use a Step Up upgrade product key, Home and Student must be installed and activated on the computer. If Home and Student is not activated on the computer, you must use the product key that was included with Home and Student to activate it. You cannot use the Step Up upgrade key to activate the Home and Student product. If Home and Student is not installed on the computer, you have to install it first before you use the Step Up upgrade key to activate Outlook for Mac.
- Retype the product key. Make sure that you type the correct characters. The following characters are frequently mistaken for one another:
- B and 8
- G and 6
- U and V
- Q and O
- The letter O and the number 0 (zero)
- The letter L and the number 1
- Verify that you are using the product key together with the correct product. Product keys work only for the product to which the product key is assigned.
If you are entering the correct set of characters, and if you still receive the same error message, go to Method 2.
Method 2: Troubleshoot the Operating System
To make sure that there is no problem with the Mac, with the Mac user profile, or with a previous installation of Office for Mac 2011, follow these steps: Step 1: Check the hard disk drive name
When the hard disk drive name contains a space, characters such as a slash ( / ), or commas, the activation wizard may not start.
- Exit all applications.
- In the Finder, click Go, and then select Computer.
- To change the hard disk name, click to select the hard disk icon.
- Click File, and then click Get Info.
- In Name and Extension, if the hard disk name is not Macintosh HD, change it to Macintosh HD. Make sure that there are no spaces or special characters such as commas, slashes, and so on.
- Close the window when you are finished.
If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step.Step 2: Remove the Office License file
Step 3: Check whether there is a firewall that is active on the systemWarning
- Exit all applications.
- In the Finder, click Go , and then select Computer.
- Open Macintosh HD.
- Open the Library folder.
- Open the Preferences folder.
- Select the file com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist, and move it to the Trash. If the file does not exist, go to the next step.
- Start an Office application, and then re-enter your product key.
This workaround may make a computer or a network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses. We do not recommend this workaround but are providing this information so that you can implement this workaround at your own discretion. Use this workaround at your own risk.
A firewall is a protective boundary that monitors and restricts information that travels between the computer and a network or between the computer and the Internet. This provides a line of defense against someone who might try to access the computer from outside without your permission. A firewall is designed to help protect your computer from attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses that use unsolicited incoming network traffic to attack your computer.
The Office for Mac activation wizard may have problems connecting to the Activation server to validate your product key if you have antivirus software or a firewall program installed. For example, firewall programs that enable access or block access to the Internet on a per-program basis include programs such as MacAfee Personal Firewall, Norton, and so on.
To determine whether the problem is occurring because of antivirus software or a firewall, temporarily disable your antivirus or firewall software. Contact the program manufacturer to help you disable the program temporarily.
You can also open the firewall settings. To do this, follow
- Click the Apple.
- Open Security under the Personal section.
- Click the Firewall tab.
- Unlock the window by clicking the lock.
- Check the advanced settings to make sure everything is set up correctly and that nothing is set up to block the connection to the activation server.
- Click Cancel to go back to the previous window.
- Click Stop to turn off the firewall.
- Run the Office setup wizard again, and try to activate the program by entering the product key.
After you complete this procedure in step 3, make sure that you re-enable the firewall or the antivirus software. Failing to do this can expose your computer to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses.
If disabling your firewall did not help, go to the next step.Step 4: Create a new user account
Sometimes, a user's specific information may be corrupted, and this can cause problems with activation. To determine whether this is the case, you can log on as a new user or create a new user account, and then test an application. For steps and instructions about how to create a new user account, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 2439218
Testing your user account to troubleshoot Office for Mac applications Step 5: Test in Safe Mode
You can use safe mode to troubleshoot the problem. For information about how to restart the computer in safe mode, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 2398596
Perform a clean startup (Safe boot) to determine whether background programs are interfering with Office for Mac
If the issue continues to occur, go to the next step. Step 6: Use the "Repair Disk Permissions" option
You can use the Repair Disk Permissions
option to troubleshoot permissions problems in Mac OS X 10.2 or in later versions. To use the Repair Disk Permissions
option, follow these steps:
- On the Go menu, click Utilities.
- Double-click Disk Utility.
- Select the primary hard disk (Macintosh HD, for example) on the computer.
- Click the First Aid tab.
- Click Repair Disk Permissions.
If the problem continues to occur, go to the next step. Step 7: Completely remove Office from your computer, and then reinstall
You must manually remove all files for Office for Mac on your computer. For information about how to remove Office for Mac from your computer, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: 2398768
How to completely remove Office for Mac 2011
If these steps do not resolve the issue, obtain a new product key. Go to Method 2.
Method 2: Obtain a replacement product key
For more information about how to obtain a new product key, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Obtain a new product key for Office for Mac
Frequently Asked questionsQ1: Can I activate Outlook by using the Home and Student product key?
A1: No. If you have Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 installed, the product key that is included only activates Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Outlook for Mac 2011 cannot be activated by using the Home and Student product key. You can run Outlook 2011 by clicking the Try free for 30 days
option, or you can click Purchase a Product Key online
to upgrade to Home and Business. Q2: Do I have to activate Home and Student first before I enter the Home and Business product key?
A2: Yes. You must first activate Home and Student and then enter your Home and Business product key to upgrade.
For more information about how to upgrade to Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 version, click the following article number see the article in the Knowledge Base article:
Upgrade Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 to Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Business 2011
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