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Edit: July 30, Availability dates updated to reflect schedule.

 

Over the years, we’ve heard feedback from customers and IT Admins about the difficulty in managing Office activation for subscription-based Office clients, such as Office 365 ProPlus. We’re excited to announce upcoming changes to Office that will help simplify activation management and streamline the Office activation experience for users.

 

In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in January 2020.

 

For your users, here’s what stays the same:

 

  • Sign in to activate Office: Users will continue to sign in to activate Office on their devices. When single sign-on is enabled, Office detects the user’s credentials and activates Office automatically.
  • Sign-in limits: Users can sign in to activate Office on five desktops, five tablets, and five mobile devices.

 

Here are the changes that your users may notice:

 

  • No more prompts to deactivate: Users can install Office on a new device without being prompted to deactivate Office on another device.
  • Automatic sign out: When a user reaches the sign-in limit, instead of being prompted to deactivate, the user will be automatically signed out of Office on the device where Office has been least recently used. The next time the user starts Office on that device, the user will be prompted to sign in to activate Office.

 

Here are the changes that you as an admin may notice when managing devices where Office is installed:

  • Improved device reallocation: Previously, users who received reallocated devices could receive an error if the previous user deactivated the device from the portal or if you removed the Office 365 license from the previous user. Going forward, users will not receive the error because the activation and deactivation is user specific.
  • Improved activation reporting: Previously, when one user activated Office on a device and a second user later signed on to that device, the second activation was not displayed in the Admin Center’s Activation Reports. Going forward, both activations will be identified and displayed in the Activation Report.

 

Keep an eye out for these improvements as we start to slowly roll them out for our commercial customers. No additional action is required on your part.

16 Comments
Super Contributor

You mentioned that SSO will activate Office automatically for the user? Isn't this essentially a transparent for the user unlimited licenses model? You get a 6th device, you activate Office on it by doing nothing, through SSO. You go back to 1st device which was deactivated and it activates automatically. So for a user this looks like you can have Office on unlimited number of devices. What's the point of limiting it at all then? :)

Occasional Contributor

Activation Reporting:  Will you also fix Activation reporting to show the Last Checkin data?

UserVoice: Improve Microsoft Office activations report by basing it on Last Check-In date

 

Senior Member
Does this affect or change Shared Computer Activation? And is Shared Computer Activation still recommended for K-12 or lab environments? https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/overview-of-shared-computer-activation-for-office-365-...
New Contributor
  • Improved device reallocation: Previously, users who received reallocated devices could receive an error if the previous user deactivated the device from the portal or if you removed the Office 365 license from the previous user. Going forward, users will not receive the error because the activation and deactivation is user specific.

IMO this is sensible... This way we ensure max 5 logins per user without frustration for both user and IT

Occasional Visitor

@Oleg KI too am incumbered by the Office activation paradigm that complicates things for us admins...The changes Microsoft are implementing are a move in the right direction to lessen the burden on end users while maintaining licensing integrity IMO. I believe the point that was missed in limiting the number of activations is that if this was not done, any specific subscription could potentially have hundreds of concurrent uses of a single license...As cumbersome as it is to have to adhere to the licensing model, it's the only way Microsoft or other SAAS providers could prevent pirating...

Super Contributor

If you are only using Office 365 for its Office apps, maybe. But who does that? :) Usually there is a bunch of services (Exchange, Skype, etc.) tied to a unique email address, identifier and these services are enabled by assigning a license to a single user.

 

P.s. oh, how i hate this forums software, especially on mobile.. unbearable

Occasional Visitor

Does this change also apply to other subscription apps not part of the O365 bundle?  Example, VISIO or MS Project?

If I add a subscription for VISIO, will It be considered part of the O365 bundle?  and allow me to download on my 5 devices?

@Oleg K thanks for your feedback. When the user goes back to the 1st device (or the device that was auto-signed out) they will see the following prompt:
image.png

@Christopher Gallen This change does not affect Shared Computer Activation. Activating devices on Shared Computer Activation does not count towards the 5 device activation limit. 

@Julian Frank Thanks for your feedback. The key goal we wanted to achieve was to reduce the friction to activate new devices and the calls that go to the support / help desk staff.   

@Ott_Mark thanks for your response and you are right. The goal is to simplify the licensing and activation process for end users while also ensuring the sign in limits.  In the past there were devices that got recycled, and the licensing service would still track these devices. But with the new changes, the old devices will automatically get signed out when the user activates a new device - thereby removing the friction to go to the portal or call help desk to deactivate Office from an old device.  

Occasional Visitor

We have a number of clients just using Office apps and we definitely need to see a report where the last Office activation checked in. This helps with our auditing and management of licensing. 

We would like to see if a licence checked in within a time frame or even checked in at all after activation. Will this be an option in the future?  

You mention commercial. Will this apply to GCC as well? 

Microsoft


>The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in January 2020.

Please let me check just in case. Is this good with SAC not SACT?

Regular Visitor
@Shubham Gupta (LICENSING) Does this apply to Shared mobile devices as well? I'm mainly asking this for enabling Office 365 in retail business using the Office 365 F1 license model.

it says "In August, we’ll start slowly rolling out these changes to commercial customers on Monthly Channel. The roll-out will continue to Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) in January 2020." but new SACT comes in September and March. In January (and July) Microsoft release a new SAC version.

Do we add this in SAC and SACT version 1908 in January 2020 or really just in SACT???