Licensing Guides for Microsoft Office

In this brief, we outline some of the key points in Microsoft Office licensing to help you make a better, educated decision when shopping with us.
Licensing Guides for Microsoft Office

Knowing how the licensing of Microsoft Office works is crucial when you’re looking to purchase software for you or your business.


In this brief, we’ll outline some of the key points in the licensing guide to help you make a better, more educated decision when shopping with us.


Microsoft Office



This licensing guide addresses some of the frequently asked questions about how Microsoft Office suites are licensed.


We’ll focus on the use rights of Microsoft Office for the Windows operating system, acquired as a software product under a desktop application license. This is typically called a perpetual license.


Licensing Microsoft Office software in Commercial Licensing


Here are the modes of licensing Microsoft Office in Commercial Licencing:


Per Device Microsoft Office Licensing

Microsoft Office 2019 is licensed on what’s called a “per device” basis. This means each Microsoft Office license must be assigned to single physical hardware, which then becomes a “licensed device.” This license permits the use of the software on the licensed device only.


Customers who shop for Commercial Licensing options have the right to install and use Microsoft Office software any number of times on the licensed device, both physical and/or virtual machines.


Remote Access for Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office licenses include Remote Use Rights, which means all customers can access Microsoft Office remotely, as long as they own a license.


  • If installing on a desktop, the desktop device must be licensed for Microsoft Office. The primary user of the licensed device may remotely access any Office software running on the licensed device using any other device.
  • Non-primary users may access and remotely use Office software on the licensed device, as long as the device they use is also licensed for Office.
  • Hosting Microsoft Office applications on a dedicated server for remote access doesn’t require a license assigned to the server itself. However, all end users need to connect to the server with a device that does have a valid Office license assigned to it.

Licensing Office for use with Windows To Go


Microsoft Office may be used on a USB drive with Windows To Go, as long as you license the work device for the following:


Microsoft Office Downgrade Rights


Some customers with rights to recent versions of Microsoft Office may choose to use older versions of said suites. This is permitted for Microsoft Office under desktop application licenses, which is a practice known as “downgrade right.”


A customer may downgrade to earlier releases of Microsoft Office software, as long as the editions match. This means that a customer who owns Office Standard 2019 can’t downgrade to Office Professional Plus 2016.


The following table shows the downgrade rights for the most recent Microsoft Office versions:


Owned Microsoft Office license

Downgrade rights

Office Standard 2019

Office Standard 2016

Office Professional Plus 2019

Office Professional Plus 2016

Office for Mac 2019

Office for Mac 2016


Software Assurance benefits for Microsoft Office


While Software Assurance benefits vary by product and product pool, there are key benefits applicable to all versions of Microsoft Office.


With Software Assurance, customers are eligible to upgrade to a newer version of licensed Office software under New Version Rights. In short, this means that during the Software Assurance period, a customer may upgrade to the latest available version of their licensed Microsoft Office product without additional fees.


If you currently have a license for the latest version of Microsoft Office and a new version is made during the term of your coverage, your licenses will automatically upgrade to the new latest version.


For instance, people with an Office Standard 2016 license were able to upgrade to Office Standard 2019 if the release fell on a date while their Software Assurance coverage was still active.


Microsoft Home Use Program


Employees of a customer may buy Office 365 subscriptions for their own personal use at a discounted price under the Microsoft Home Use Program.


Those who purchased an Office 365 subscription under this program for lower than the retail price can permanently renew their subscriptions for the same price, regardless of the licensing status of customers.


Final thoughts


For a more in-depth, detailed licensing guide, make sure to read Microsoft’s official licensing brief. Our article only touches the Microsoft Office surface; we urge you to learn more before making a purchase.


If you need any further help, don’t be afraid to reach out to our customer service team, available 24/7 to assist you. Return to us for more informative articles all related to productivity and modern day technology!


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