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Ugh. While they are perhaps graphically more pleasing, they look more alike and indistinguishable from one another at a glance than ever before.
Now that I've worked with the new look for a few days, I agree. It's yet another tool that has succumbed to the dubious fashion of emphasizing "content" by de-emphasizing the visibility of app functionality.
 


Update to 16.16.5 went relatively smoothly, with the exception that repeated attempts were needed to update AutoUpdate to the new version - i.e. as is often the case, AutoUpdate updates itself two to three times during its update process. I have always been a bit curious why the AutoUpdater app needs to be updated so often.
Microsoft have actually been adding significant features to the AutoUpdater application (and there are also the ubiquitous Microsoft security updates). For example:
  • AutoUpdate 2.x could only install monolithic combo-type updates.
  • A version of AutoUpdate 3.x introduced the ability to install monolithic combo type updates as well as smaller delta updates.
  • I believe a version of AutoUpdate 4.x (if not already) will be able to install, monolithic, delta and even smaller "slim" updates.
  • A version of AutoUpdate 3.x introduced the option to be on the Microsoft "Insider" fast track (beta testing for end-users basically, or, as people complain).
  • A version of AutoUpdate 3.x introduced the ability to install updates without the requirement for an administrator password.
  • I believe there are some fundamentally big changes to the underlying operation of AutoUpdate 4.x - this may not be noticable for end-users but greatly helps network administrators.
  • Some of the above features were alluded to in the Microsoft Mac Office developer video interview that got posted on YouTube (this was linked a few times on MacInTouch).
 




I installed a new SSD in my Mac Pro recently, then cloned my existing drive to the SSD. Not surprisingly, the Microsoft Office 2011 activation failed. This is not a new problem. See, for example, this post/thread from 2017: #1, #2, and #3.

Previously, I got an error message that all the activations had already been used. This time the message states that the "activation server is not available."
Online activation did not complete successfully because the activation server is temporarily unavailable.
Has the Office 2011 activation server been decommissioned?

Since Office 2011 has been EOL'ed, I'm now pondering whether it is worth the trouble to call Microsoft and try to get them to activate the product key on this drive....
 


Has the Office 2011 activation server been decommissioned?

Since Office 2011 has been EOL'ed, I'm now pondering whether it is worth the trouble to call Microsoft and try to get them to activate the product key on this drive....
Perpetual licenses for Office 2011 should still be activatable. If online activation isn't working, you may need to try the telephone activation option.

New activations of Office 2011 through an Office 365 subscription can no longer be processed.
 


I changed the driver for my boot RAID drive on PCIe, and Office 2011 would not open. I called the number given on the Microsoft screen, read them the 50 or so numbers, got a new set of numbers, entered them, and Office 2011 is working again. I am using macOS 10.13.6.

This has happened in the past with hardware changes. This particular update was easy compared to the hours on the phone with past issues. I recommend that you do it.
 


I installed a new SSD in my Mac Pro recently, then cloned my existing drive to the SSD. Not surprisingly, the Microsoft Office 2011 activation failed. This is not a new problem. See, for example, this post/thread from 2017: #1, #2, and #3.

Previously, I got an error message that all the activations had already been used. This time the message states that the "activation server is not available."

Has the Office 2011 activation server been decommissioned?

Since Office 2011 has been EOL'ed, I'm now pondering whether it is worth the trouble to call Microsoft and try to get them to activate the product key on this drive....
I understand from posts elsewhere that the activation server has been permanently shut off.

But, like others, I had no trouble activating by phone. It's an automated service, you don't speak to a human. It was easy to do.
 




Telephone activation does not work, either.
You haven't provided any details about what kind of license you have, nor any specifics about what trouble you encountered with the telephone activation, so it's a little difficult to suggest a specific course of action. As I understand it though, there is a way to get human intervention for telephone activations, so perhaps that is the next avenue to pursue if you still want to try to activate the installation.
 


You haven't provided any details about what kind of license you have, nor any specifics about what trouble you encountered with the telephone activation, so it's a little difficult to suggest a specific course of action. As I understand it though, there is a way to get human intervention for telephone activations, so perhaps that is the next avenue to pursue if you still want to try to activate the installation.
Sorry -- I did not include it in the current comment but provided links to previous comments that included all that information. (See, for example, this post/thread from 2017: #1, #2, and #3.)

In any case: Office 2011 3-user license. I've used 2 and it has never let me use the 3rd. When I previously replaced my hard disk drive with an SSD it would not accept the 3rd activation and indicated I had exceeded the activation limit. The automated telephone activation failed as well. I would type in the 54 digits and it would respond with Activation Failed or something similar.

Calling and speaking with a representative failed several times. I was persistent and finally got someone who permitted another activation. According to them, I had a 2-user license (but the box clearly says three) and I had used both.

So this time around the Product Key activation failed with a message about the server not being available. Next, I tried the 54-digit telephone method -- and got an activation failure (or something similar. Wish I had written it down). I haven't spoken to a human rep yet. That's next.

My plan was to test the new PCIe SSD using a clone of Sierra -- and then wipe it and install High Sierra (and its firmware updates) and migrate everything over. Now, I think I will upgrade in place with High Sierra on top of Sierra -- on the older SSD -- so that my working copy of Office 2011 keeps working.

Or buy a new copy...
 


... so that my working copy of Office 2011 keeps working. Or buy a new copy...
Two years ago I tried everything I could to "Buy a new copy of Office 2011" for a friend's new system. I spent days and wound up in total failure. I even tried buying a "new" version from Amazon. When we tried to activate, it said all were used. We demanded and got a refund from Amazon. We had to settle for Office 2016. your milage may vary.
 


Two years ago I tried everything I could to "Buy a new copy of Office 2011" for a friend's new system. I spent days and wound up in total failure. I even tried buying a "new" version from Amazon. When we tried to activate, it said all were used. We demanded and got a refund from Amazon. We had to settle for Office 2016. your milage may vary.
I've been wondering if the "new" boxes of Office 2011 have already been opened and used and then heat-shrink resealed to appear new. It appears that is what may have happened in your case.
 


Just spent some quality time with Microsoft support trying to get Office 2011 to activate. No success. When they try to activate, they get an error: "The product key you entered is invalid or not supported by this site."

Not surprisingly, they suggest I upgrade to 365 or Office 2016/2019.
 


Sorry -- I did not include it in the current comment but provided links to previous comments that included all that information. (See, for example, this post/thread from 2017: #1, #2, and #3.)
Sorry, I didn't realize those earlier posts were about you. I remember the last time you had this problem. It sounds like your license is well and truly screwed up in their system, and unfortunately, you're going to have to slog through humans to try to get some resolution.
Just spent some quality time with Microsoft support trying to get Office 2011 to activate. No success. When they try to activate, they get an error: "The product key you entered is invalid or not supported by this site."
Given your history with this license, I'd start asking for supervisors immediately. Part of this depends on how much you value your time. You should make sure you're talking to the activation/licensing people though, and not just the general office support staff.
 


I bought my wife a new MacBook Air to replace her 2011 MacBook Pro 13", and chose to reinstall everything from scratch vs. using Migration Assistant. Office 2016, of course, refused to activate, and as others noted above, telephone activation was not available on the weekend. I ended up using chat with a support person, and it took nearly an hour to finally get it to activate - I had to let them remote in (LogMeIn 123), which made me a bit nervous, but as I initiated the call, I felt fairly confident it was genuine Microsoft support. The last time I had this issue (probably when I got her the 2011 laptop), it took a five-minute telephone call to accomplish the same thing.
 


Just spent some quality time with Microsoft support trying to get Office 2011 to activate. No success. When they try to activate, they get an error: "The product key you entered is invalid or not supported by this site." Not surprisingly, they suggest I upgrade to 365 or Office 2016/2019.
I believe if I heard that, I would've suggested that either they upgrade you to 365/Office 2016/19 for free, since they sold you a bill of goods that isn't working, or simply reissue you a key that does work.
 


I'm in the first few days of my 30-day free trial of Mac Office 365 (supposedly the same codebase as "Office 2019 for Mac" which Microsoft trumpets as "Mac users get first access to the latest and greatest" (not their precise language).

However, "latest and greatest" is neither. For example, in Excel 365 (Windows version) when one hovers over an icon in the toolbar that's not completely self explanatory, a tooltip appears that (at a minimum), reveals a keystroke equivalent, but more often a brief phrase outlining the purpose of the tasks it performs, and in many cases a "Tell Me More…" link to graphics embedded examples of how it's used.

On the Mac, hover over the icon labeled "Conditional Formatting…" and you'll be greeted by a tooltip whose entire content is "Conditional Formatting."

Thanks, Redmond!
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Have you tried the plist trick?
That was the very first thing I tried.
Here's a response I received via email from someone who wanted to help with the issue:

I’ve had occasion to move MS Office 2011 to new setups a number of times. I simply keep copies of all the files it places in /Library and ~/Library (some of them during installation, some on first run when serial number is entered to register it) and it has worked fine. (Or nearly; in 30 years on the Mac I’ve never used Office until last summer when I needed it to work on a complex document I was helping a friend with. I found it an unpleasant experience – though that may have been partly because I was using it in macOS 10.12 Sierra. But it did work.)

Below is a list of these files. I expect the crucial ones are probably the “licensing” ones, also maybe the “Office Registration Cache”; but I’ve never experimented, I just copy the whole bunch, along with the Microsoft Office 2011 folder from /Applications, which makes it unnecessary to run the Installer at all.
/Library/…
Application Support/
  Microsoft [folder]
Automator/
  [98 items with extension .action]
Fonts/
  Microsoft [folder]
LaunchDaemons/
  com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper.plist
Preferences/
  com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist
PrivilegedHelperTools/
  com.microsoft.office.licensing.helper
Spotlight/
  Microsoft Office.mdimporter

~/Library/…
Application Support/
  Microsoft [folder]
Preferences/
  com.microsoft.autoupdate2.plist
  com.microsoft.DocumentConnection.plist
  com.microsoft.error_reporting.plist
  com.microsoft.office.plist
  com.microsoft.office.setupassistant.plist
  com.microsoft.outlook.database_daemon.plist
  com.microsoft.outlook.office_reminders.plist
  com.microsoft.Powerpoint.plist
  com.microsoft.rdc.plist
  com.microsoft.Word.plist
  Microsoft/
    Office 2011/
       Custom Dictionary
       Microsoft Office ACL [English]
       Office Registration Cache
       OfficeSync Prefs
       OLE Registration Database
       Word Font Substitutes
 
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Here's a response I received via email from someone who wanted to help with the issue:
All those files should have been migrated to the new drive, since I used Carbon Copy Cloner to populate the new drive.

I've been doing more searching on the Microsoft Support pages. There is a recent thread which discusses this problem. The most interesting comments are on Page 2 by Jim Gordon.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_install-mso_mac-mso_mac2011/office-2011-mac-activation/6b925e9c-a7bb-4c51-a54a-2eaf7e73e8c4

For the few times a year that I need an office-like app, I can use LibreOffice or iWork.

Thanks, everyone, for your many suggestions. Time to move on.
 


Thanks, everyone, for your many suggestions. Time to move on.
If I may, maybe try this virtual support link really quick. It was an interesting link I stumbled across which may provide insight about your specific product key. It's supposed to provide feedback if there are problems with your product key.
I've been doing more searching on the Microsoft Support pages. There is a recent thread which discusses this problem. The most interesting comments are on Page 2 by Jim Gordon.
No offense, but Jim Gordon is full of **** and doesn't know what he's talking about. He claims "at one time you could call and get an exception to the license that let you install Office 2011 on another Mac or reinstall on a wiped drive. That option is no longer available. ... The install works only on the first device on which the product is installed. This is true going forward with perpetual licenses of Office 2016 and 2019."

This is easily refutable by inspecting the license agreement for Office 2016. There are no such terms which support his assertion that it may only be activated on the first device (and not even reinstalled). On the contrary, Section 3b explicitly states that you may transfer the license to a new device once every 90 days, or sooner in the case of hardware failure. The Office 2011 license has similar terms (section 15/16 REASSIGN TO ANOTHER DEVICE)

You may look up the license terms for your own particular edition of Office here.
 


If I may, maybe try this virtual support link really quick. It was an interesting link I stumbled across which may provide insight about your specific product key. It's supposed to provide feedback if there are problems with your product key.
Well, I'm certainly willing to give it another shot. Here goes...

After entering the Product Key, I get the following message:
I'm sorry, but I'm having a technical problem. Please use the options shown below to get in touch with Microsoft Customer Support.
... with another link to follow. This asks for the Product Key again.
Error
The product key you entered is invalid or not supported by this site. Please contact Microsoft Support for assistance.
This is the same error message that live support people report when I give them the Product Key.
 


Error
The product key you entered is invalid or not supported by this site. Please contact Microsoft Support for assistance.
This is the same error message that live support people report when I give them the Product Key.
As I mentioned earlier, and this information seems to corroborate, it seems that the information Microsoft has in their database for your product key is truly messed up. Either they don't have the correct information about your product key, or they have revoked your product key, maybe thinking the license is invalid for some reason. This is why last year when you had to reinstall, they had to give you a different one-time use key to reactivate. And why, currently, you can't activate either online or via telephone with your original product key.

In the Office 2011 license terms, Section 14/15 lays out the PROOF OF LICENSE. In your case, I assume that would be the "genuine Microsoft certificate of authenticity label with the accompanying genuine product key and your proof of purchase" that came with your DVD. If you can find the right person at Microsoft to produce your proof of license to, they should be able to either fix the problem with your product key or issue you a new working product key. You probably won't get any satisfaction with the front-line people, so I'd continue asking for supervisors and managers until someone understands that your product key does not work and can accept your proof of license to issue you a working one.

It all depends on how much time you want to spend on the issue, and it sounds like you're pretty done with it.
 


As I mentioned earlier, and this information seems to corroborate, it seems that the information Microsoft has in their database for your product key is truly messed up. Either they don't have the correct information about your product key, or they have revoked your product key, maybe thinking the license is invalid for some reason.
I concur.
In your case, I assume that would be the "genuine Microsoft certificate of authenticity label with the accompanying genuine product key and your proof of purchase" that came with your DVD.
I have the original packaging with the Product Key affixed to the DVD case. I also have the original purchase order from Amazon via a 3rd party reseller. (Note: at least one other person purchasing from this reseller had the same activation problem.)
If you can find the right person at Microsoft to produce your proof of license to, they should be able to either fix the problem with your product key or issue you a new working product key. You probably won't get any satisfaction with the front-line people, so I'd continue asking for supervisors and managers until someone understands that your product key does not work and can accept your proof of license to issue you a working one.
Finding that "right person" appears to be the key.
 


All those files should have been migrated to the new drive, since I used Carbon Copy Cloner to populate the new drive.
Well, for the record, I tried it again: installed MS Office on a macOS Sierra volume by the method above; it worked. I then cloned the volume to another drive with CCC, and started the computer from that drive. MS Office worked from the clone, so apparently CCC did copy all the necessary files.

Did you check if your original installation and clone both have all the files above? I didn't experiment to see exactly which ones are required, but they must be in the list somewhere. If Microsoft will no longer acknowledge your legitimate install of Office 2011, looks like this method will enable you to migrate it and keep it working.
 


I also have the original purchase order from Amazon via a 3rd party reseller. (Note: at least one other person purchasing from this reseller had the same activation problem.)
That might just be the problem then. If the reseller originally obtained it through fraudulent means, then the product key may have been invalidated by Microsoft at some point (after your first activation, which, I assume, was successful).

Even if fraud is not the issue, they still might not recognize the proof of purchase as valid, if it was sold to you as new and the seller is not an authorized reseller. If it was sold as used, well, the license terms technically allow one transfer to a new owner (Section 2c(ii)).

Microsoft should make it easier to determine the status and validity of a given product key (especially by their support staff). But given the unknown provenance and validity of your product key, it may be best to cut your losses.
 


I recently experienced an unexpected MS Office for Mac 2016 activation on my Mac Mini. I downloaded Mac MS Office 2016 last August but never activated the suite. I purchased an HP Stream laptop in December that included a free one-year Office 365 subscription. After activating Office on the HP laptop, I logged into my Mini to update macOS Sierra and discovered that my MS Office applications were also activated without asking for a subscription or license fee. I assumed that each Office suite would require separate licensing. Has anyone else experienced this?
 


I recently experienced an unexpected MS Office for Mac 2016 activation on my Mac Mini. I downloaded Mac MS Office 2016 last August but never activated the suite. I purchased an HP Stream laptop in December that included a free one-year Office 365 subscription. After activating Office on the HP laptop, I logged into my Mini to update macOS Sierra and discovered that my MS Office applications were also activated without asking for a subscription or license fee. I assumed that each Office suite would require separate licensing. Has anyone else experienced this?
  • Office 365 "Home" allows for six users on Mac or PC
  • Office 365 "Personal" allows for one user on Mac or PC
These numbers do not include mobile devices like phones/tablets, which have separate licensing limits depending on the type of Office 365 subscription. There are other types of Office 365 subscriptions available, too, such as business and academic versions. You manage the installations/activations via your Office 365 online account.

However, "Personal" or "Solo" actually allows two installations (but legally, it's supposed to be the same user, so don't consider this two "licences" for two different people/computers), so, in your case, even if you have a personal or solo licence, if it's only you using it, you are good to go with it installed on both computers.

In addition, Microsoft recently confused this whole thing even more by, apparently, allowing you to install and activate Office 365 on an (infinite) number of computers, but it's the simultaneously signed-in computers that count towards your max-total. In other words, you could install and activate Office 365 on, say, 25 computers, but as long as you are only signed in with your account on the allowable number for your subscription at any given time, you are good to go. In a way, I guess that makes sense.
 


... In other words, you could install and activate {a product} on, say, 25 computers, but as long as you are only signed in with your account on the allowable number for your subscription at any given time, you are good to go.
This seems to be a popular model today. For example, Adobe Creative Cloud works this way.
 


I recently experienced an unexpected MS Office for Mac 2016 activation on my Mac Mini. I downloaded Mac MS Office 2016 last August but never activated the suite. I purchased an HP Stream laptop in December that included a free one-year Office 365 subscription. After activating Office on the HP laptop, I logged into my Mini to update macOS Sierra and discovered that my MS Office applications were also activated without asking for a subscription or license fee. I assumed that each Office suite would require separate licensing. Has anyone else experienced this?
Yes. For example, when you buy Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac, what you actually get is just Office Home & Business 2019 for Windows or Mac. Which one it is isn't determined until you activate it. And worse, there really aren't different versions of the Windows Office application; it is all controlled by which license you activate it with. But, you don't pick a license. What happens is you just sign into your Microsoft Account, and it picks an available license to use up.

In my case, I bought Office Professional Plus 2019 for Windows and Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac. I tried to activate Office Professional Plus on Windows first, but what happened was it snatched my Office Home & Business 2019 license, leaving no more macOS license. Permanently, since it is not possible to deactivate an Office 2019 installation on Windows.

The key is that Office Professional Plus and Office Home & Business use completely different activation and license tracking systems. What I was supposed to have done was ignore all of the Windows installer's desperate pleas for me to sign in to my Microsoft account, and find my way instead to the tiny text where you can enter a product code. But like an idiot, when the installer frantically begged me to sign in, I did, and that was the end of my macOS license.

(I did get this straightened out after hours on the phone with Microsoft support.)
 


Microsoft has released updates for Office 2016 (MAU 4.7 and Office 16.16.6), and the release notes include information re vulnerabilities for Word.
FYI... It looks like those of you using Office 365 and Office 2019 for Mac will enjoy some "Microsoft Teams" default installation follies with Version 16.21. Install packages now have "with or without" Microsoft Teams designations.
 


I have multiple Macs using the same Microsoft 365 account. One was running 16.19, and two were running 16.20. Neither one of them saw that there was an update to 16.21 and I had to manually search for and download the update.
 


After updating, Excel, upon first launch, it asked for access to my contacts, which I refused... just tried Word and same thing, “to make it easier to collaborate with others.” Yeah, right.
 


After updating, Excel, upon first launch, it asked for access to my contacts, which I refused... just tried Word and same thing, “to make it easier to collaborate with others.” Yeah, right.
That's because all of the Office apps integrate with Outlook, to let you mail documents straight from the editor. The access is to support that capability. If you don't plan on doing this (or if you will be able to type in e-mail addresses when you do), then there's no harm in refusing the access.
 


Microsoft have actually been adding significant features to the AutoUpdater application (and there are also the ubiquitous Microsoft security updates).
Unfortunately, it looks like one of the new "features" in the AutoUpdater application is the "Turn On Automatic Updates" nag notification. It's been appearing on my two main Macs frequently since at least the February update, if not the January one.

Beyond how much I dislike being distracted by an unwanted pop-up while I'm trying to concentrate on my work, I despise the coercive choice between "Turn On" and "Not Now" in response to "Always install new features and updates for Microsoft apps." How about, "Never! Just let me know when there is an actual update, and let me decide if and when to install it!"

On top of that, if I decide to open the AutoUpdate app manually, instead of the historic behavior of going directly to the "check for updates" dialog, it now also prompts me to turn on automatic updates before letting me accomplish my desired task.

Why is it so hard for companies to understand that when I explicitly choose to be notified of updates only, I actually mean that I only want to be notified of updates? If I keep getting these disruptive notifications, I'm going to disable all notifications, which, I presume, is even worse in Microsoft's eyes.

I'm going to submit a request to Microsoft to disable this disrespectful "feature," but if anyone knows how to turn off this particular nag while keeping notifications of actual updates active, I'd love to hear about it.
 



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