Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Product key problem when installing Office 2004 on OS X

I have 3 legitimate product keys for Office 2004 for Mac, but none of the original install media. However, I have plenty of Office 2004 installation CDs from other machines, so I thought it shouldn't be too hard to just use one of those with my unused product keys. That was a wrong assumption. I double-checked the keys I had typed to make sure I hadn't transposed any letters, and also tried a couple of the keys, but the installation continued to tell me that the product key was not valid. At this point I had no choice but to turn to Microsoft Support.

I was told that this was a bug with Tiger and Leopard, and that if I did a manual install and updated to the 11.5.0 upgrade prior to trying to activate, the problem should be solved. Sure enough it worked. I couldn't find any documentation of it anywhere though, so hopefully others having the problem run across my post.

To perform a manual install, just drag the Microsoft Office 2004 folder from the CD to your Applications folder. This can take a short time while the files are transferred. After that, go to and download the 11.5.0 update. Once downloaded, you'll have to launch the installer. Go through the install process, and once that is finished, try to launch one of the Microsoft Office applications. You should be prompted for the product key again, and this time it should work. Once you're in, I'd recommend going through the rest of the updates available using the AutoUpdate feature (under the Help menu).

It seems like a silly problem, but at least it's not too difficult to resolve. Hopefully this saves you from pulling hair and turning to Microsoft for help. If you're going to need to open the newer docx, xlsx, pptx, etc formats with your new Office 2004 install, you should check out my other post. Good luck!

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