Can I use Microsoft Office 2007 on more than one computer?

March 18th, 2007

Microsoft Office 2007

I recently bought Microsoft Office 2007. I have to say, they have done a very good job. The package as a whole installs very easily, and I really like the new ‘Web 2.0’ style interface.

Can Microsoft Office 2007 be used on Multiple Computers?

One concern I did have was whether or not I’d be able to use Office 2007 on the various computers I have (for instance my laptop as well as my main desktop).

This is a really valid concern, as I understand Microsoft’s other new release, Vista is quite strictly a ‘one computer only’ package.

I Googled to try and find this out, and turned up no answer, so like every good ‘experimenter’ I just went ahead and tried it.

The answer is YES – you can use one copy of Microsoft Office on up to 3 personal computers – although each copy requires ‘activation’ over the internet, which probably means that Microsoft records information about each computer to make sure that the package is only installed the three times.

How does Office 2007 activation work?

This makes me wonder.. how do they implement the 3 copies restriction? Off the top of my head I can think of only three ways:-

  1. The copy can only be activated 3 times – period.
  2. Microsoft records the IP address of each activation, and a reasonable number of activations allowed from up to 3 different IP addresses (not unlimited, but more than 3).
  3. Microsoft records the MAC address (Medium Access Control – each network card has a unique ‘DNA’ code that can be used to uniquely identify individual computers operating under the same IP address – but it can be faked).

If it is the first, as I suspect, you can probably expect that if you happen to install vista down the track, or have to reinstall Office 2007, that you’ll use up your 3 activations pretty quickly.

What to do if you can no longer activate Microsoft Office 2007?

If that’s the case, don’t despair, as I have had the same thing happen before, and one phone call to Microsoft Support to explain the situation has usually been sufficient to reset the activation limit.

The other two possibilities are both preferable, although I’d suspect they wouldn’t have used the IP technique, as many people have dynamic IP‘s, which means their IP address is changed by their internet service provider on a fairly regular basis, mostly (I suspect) to make it harder for people to put web servers on their home internet connection (although, like everything, that can still be done with a little ‘know-how’ ๐Ÿ™‚ )




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34 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JohnMu  |  March 18th, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Wow. I’m just amazed that you can actually use it ๐Ÿ˜€

    FWIW, I still have the whole office working with Office 97. Darn I feel old.

  • 2. DuckMan  |  March 18th, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Ta John!

    By the way, have you seen this thread?

    I’m drawing a blank about what their rub is.. you might have some insights..


  • 3. DuckMan  |  March 18th, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    Just some extra info – when I first checked it was a 301 from the ‘fake site’ to the real site.

    Subsequently when I checked again, it was a 302 to the avantbrowser site..

    I’m struggling to understand what they were trying to achieve – and the other information that was dredged up from the DNS records make it even more interesting…

    What also puzzles me – 301, 302 or otherwise is how the ‘fake’ site managed to get entirely indexed under their URL – essentially, an exact duplicate of the site they were 301/302ing to..

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I understand it, this is unusual – a 302 should tell google ‘this is temporary content – don’t index it’ and a 301 should say ‘I’m not here anymore – head over to the realestate site – that’s where I live now’. So to me, the fact they got indexed throws up flags for me that whatever strategy they have used might well have been successful.


  • 4. NJ  |  March 13th, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Did you install MS Office Professional or Home & Student Edition on multiple computers?

  • 5. jeffrey  |  April 5th, 2008 at 9:52 am

    b. Portable Device. You may install another copy on a portable device for
    use by the single primary user of the licensed device.

    taken from

    I got to this page via Google wondering if I can install to my desktop PC and laptop. The EULA specifically allows this. Hope it helps another user with the same question as me.

  • 6. Ann  |  April 11th, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    I asked this question of Microsoft as I am purchasing a new computer with vista, but still have my current laptop and a home desktop. The price of the Office programs is quite high and I could not fathom buying multiple copies. Here was their response:

    “Thank you for choosing the Microsoft Office Online Store.

    All software products, except otherwise noted, are now licensed and registered for installation and use on one computer only. Federal Law strictly prohibits sharing or copying of licensed software from one computer to another.

    If you require a software package for use on more than one computer, you will need to purchase individually registered and licensed copies for each computer. Please note that some software packages may be available in a multi pack or volume licensing option. “

  • 7. theDuck  |  April 12th, 2008 at 1:21 am

    All that proves Ann is that Microsoft would like to sell as many licences as possible. At the end of the day, the reality is that (thankfully) MS has enough brains to realise that the average person can’t afford to pay for a licence for every one of their computers – In effect, at present, when you buy a licence you’re buying a licence for YOU to use the software – which is the way it should be.

    Try it and see – M

  • 8. Abby  |  August 13th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I bought a copy of MS Office Pro Plus 2007 last year and am now trying to install it on my laptop (it’s already on my desktop). Of course, when I activate, it tells me that the key has been used too many times. (I guess I re-installed it at some point..?)

    I appreciate that you called MS Support to get the number reset, but doesn’t that cost something ridiculous like $200 to do so? Am I missing something?

    Thanks for your help.

  • 9. roeffenl  |  September 2nd, 2008 at 2:30 am

    I have a product key for Microsoft Office on my own laptop and am trying to install it (Microsoft Office) on my sister’s laptop. Now I now it’s supposed to work because I read when I purchased the software (online) that you can use it on upto 3 computers. However, when I enter the product key when the trial version Word starts up on my sister’s computer it says the product key is incorrect. What can I do?

  • 10. Lisa  |  September 18th, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Duckman just wondering what version of Office you were successful with? And will it work for MS Office Small Business 2007 OEM as this is what I’m looking to purchase to use for home on my desktop computer and my laptop? Or could I install it on my desktop computer and access it on my laptop through my home network as the programe says it only comes with 1 licence per machine?

  • 11. Don  |  October 2nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm (How to buy the 2007 Microsoft Office suites) says “Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Retail License Terms allow for installation on three devices. OEM License Terms limit the installation to the device on which the software was pre-installed. Read the Microsoft Software License Terms (MSLT) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system”. So, if you bought the Home and Student 2007 edition, you should be able to install it on 3 computers. If you bought a commercial edition, it should only be installable on 1 computer.
    Hope this helps. (ED – but what they say and what is fact differ – especially if you call them – M)

  • 12. sim  |  October 4th, 2008 at 9:34 am

    how i cant remove the microsoft word 2007

  • 13. jim  |  October 15th, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I followed this thread because I want to upgrade Office 2000 to Office 2007 Pro Plus. I have one desktop with XP and 2 laptops, one with XP and one with Vista. It is the problems with Vista and Office 2000 that have prompted me to consider the upgrade of all 3 machines to Office 2007 Pro Plus. At the beginning of the thread I thought that YES! 1 licence will suffice. By the time I had read to the end I am not sure if that is the case. Can anyone give me a definate answer to my question; will 1 licence work in this situation?

  • 14. Jesse  |  November 9th, 2008 at 7:59 am

    microsoft office home and student 2007 and above can be installed om at least 3 computers (more for higher versions)

    to answer abby, all you need to do is call microsoft instead of activating via the internet. tell them that it is only a re-install, and they will give you a code to put in to your computer.

  • 15. office  |  November 12th, 2008 at 10:41 am

    The question is similar to what I had installing microsoft office on a portable PC and desktop PC, both owned by me. The answers are at this link

    “It does so by comparing the hardware on which it was activated to the hardware on which it is now being booted. If the hardware is substantially different, then reactivation is required.”

    This means you can’t activate office on two PCs.

  • 16. MO  |  December 28th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    What if I have Office 2007 on one of my computers already, but from moving have misplaced the CD… can I still find a way to install it from my old computer to my new one that only came with a trial???

    please help! thanks

  • 17. Jesse  |  December 28th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    i would imagine that you could use the original product key that you got to activate the trial. i did that when i had the triel instead of installing the CD i used my new product key and it fully activated the trial

  • 18. godfrey  |  March 3rd, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I purchased a new Dell, it has a trial version of Office Pro 2007 pre-loaded. I already have Office 2003, then purchased an upgrade Office Pro 2007 – BUT I can’t seem to get my new Dell to accept the product key on either. Suggestions?

  • 19. Don  |  March 3rd, 2009 at 11:25 am

    To keep things simple, I’d suggest you uninstall the trial version of Office Pro 2007 first. Then, try to to install your Office 2003 and then your upgrade. This will get the free version out of the way.

    If your Office 2003 is already installed on an old PC, and if you only have the right to install it on one PC, I think you should uninstall it from the old PC first, while online, which hopefully will update the Microsoft record of where you have it installed.

  • 20. Javier Gjurup  |  March 5th, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I have may missed,
    but what should we do if one of us has bought microsoft office 2007, and we want to use the same license to another comp?

    It says that you can use that on 3 comps..
    What should we do?

    (on this comp, I have try to use 60 days trial) but I don’t have anymore, so each time I open word it says I have to put the new license, and when I put the real license, its says it’s WRONG???!

  • 21. Judith  |  May 7th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I have purchased Office 2007 Professional Plus and installed it on my PC at home. It accepted everything and loaded as should but one week later I started to get a message saying that my copy of office is not genuine. I tried everything. It seems a lot of people are in the same boat. I bought this from a reputable software dealer. I emailed Microsoft to ask how to remove the stupid message as it will not validate. They have replied that I cannot use Office Professional at home and therefore it is non genuine. Helpp

  • 22. Troy V  |  May 7th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    So just to get this straight…I can install MS Office 2007 uprade on my desktop PC and a “portable device”, such as a laptop?


  • 23. Nick  |  August 16th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    My copy of office 2007 came with my computer, i unfortunately did not realize that you can only download it on one computer, it was already pre installed on my new computer so i thought i would put it on my moms computer since hers did not come with it. now on my computer it wont let me do anything with word, powerpoint etc, because it says the product code was already activated. i though you had three times you could do it. if that’s not the case then what should i do?

  • 24. Don  |  August 17th, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Probably best to uninstall from your mom’s computer while connected to the internet. This should free up the registration. (If not, call Microsoft & ask for help.)
    Alternatively, buy a new copy for your computer. My understanding is that if you buy the Home & Student edition in a separate package, you can install on 3 computers for non-commercial use. But, if you bought the rights to a copy as part of buying a new PC, it is extremely likely only licensed for a single PC, specifically the one it came with. Hope this helps.

  • 25. RonC  |  August 29th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    I have ms office 2007 installed on my laptop and desktop.

    I have just ordered ms office publisher (academic licence) on cd/dvd. Will I be allowed to activate publisher on both my laptop and desktop?

    Any help greatly appreciated.

  • 26. Ryan  |  November 6th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    I’m thinking of buying the student version of office 2007 ultimate, it’s $64, would that be usuable on more than 1 machine?

  • 27. Rainie  |  November 25th, 2009 at 5:46 am

    One of the question/answers above is “can MS Office 2007 be used on more than one PC?”

    Which is the best Suite for a small office with 3-4 computers, that really only needs Excel, Word and Powerpoint?


  • 28. Jesse  |  November 26th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Microsoft office home and student edition comes with 3 licenses, and includes word, PowerPoint and excel. if you need more than 3 licenses, you would have to do an advanced buy of office small business, which would cost you a considerable amount more. at this point, i would wait until the end of the year for them to release office 2010 anyway, because there are several new features, and the licensing will be different.

    you can view the current licensing options here:

  • 29. Barbara  |  November 30th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I have the same question as Ryan.
    I’m planning on getting the student deal on MS Office 2007 for $64, however I think you only get a digital download (no CD)
    Would I still be able to use the same product key on 3 different computers (if they all download the program)?

  • 30. Jesse  |  December 7th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    if you purchace the student edition, you only het one licence, that is why it is cheaper. microsoft figures that if you are a student, you would not need more than one licence anyway so why not make it cheaper?

    in short, no you do not get 3 licences with the student discoung, you only get one.

  • 31. mary ann  |  December 7th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    most microsoft home office packages are labeled for either 1 or 3 users. The copy I bought for $ 64.00 is specifically labeled for 3 licensed users. You have to ask the software dealer you are ordering from if the package is labled for three individual users. ( If it is legal it probably is licensed for 3 users) I loaded mine on 1 desktop, my laptop and my netbook without a problem.

  • 32. mms  |  December 9th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Microsoft Office 2007 Home & Student Edition can be installed on up to 3 computers.
    Click the link below and read at the bottom regarding Home & Student Edition.

  • 33. Donna Murphy  |  February 16th, 2010 at 6:49 am

    OK, I guess I’m not understanding…so, my question is…
    If I have the trial version on my laptop that I bought at Christmas, can I upgrade that online AND install it on a second laptop that also has the trial version???

    Or do I need to buy the Office Student & Home 2007 at a retailer and load it on my 2 computers (both laptops)??? (does the version on the computer need to be uninstalled??)

    Or…is there something else i should do??

    Thanks for your help!!!!

  • 34. Don  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 5:55 pm


    I strongly suspect that your upgrades would be under the “OEM license”, which is restricted to a single particular PC forever. Hence you’d have to buy 2 separate upgrades.

    I think you’d likely be better off in terms of price and convenience to buy the retail version, clearly marked for 3 installations. I’d suggest uninstalling the trial version and rebooting. Then, installing the retail version on each PC. (Deinstall / reinstall may not be critical, but it can’t likely hurt. And you’ll know that you’re running exactly what’s on the CD, plus whatever bugfixes subsequently get downloaded.)

    I followed the link mentioned in comment#32: “Office Home and Student 2007 Retail License Terms allow for installation on three devices. OEM License Terms limit the installation to the device on which the software was pre-installed. ยป View licensing terms” . Then I clicked the latter link, then clicked on the 1st line of the resulting page: Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. Then, downloaded and executed the license terms package. Then, opened the
    PDF file. (Whew!!!!) Within it, I see at the top that there are 3 different sets of license terms, and here’s how to know which yours is:
    Below are three separate sets of License Terms. Only one set applies to
    you. To determine which License Terms apply to you check the license
    designation printed either on your product key, near the product name on
    your Certificate of Authenticity, or on the download page if you obtained
    your product key online. If your designation is FPP, then the Retail
    License Terms below apply to you. If your designation is OEM, then the
    OEM License Terms below apply to you. If your designation is MLK, then
    the Media-less License Kit Terms below apply to you.”

    The Retail terms say “three devices”. The OEM terms say “one
    copy of the software on one device……The software license is permanently
    assigned to the device with which you acquired the software. That device
    is the ‘licensed device’.โ€

    Bottom line: I’m pretty sure the built-in copy will be the OEM (“Original Equipment Manufacturer”) version, so you can only get a single copy, for use only on that particular machine, for the upgrade price.

    Check the cost. It’s probably a better deal to buy the retail version and do a clean install on both PC’s, than to upgrade the OEM licenses individually, especially if you then want to run it on other computers later…

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