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Troubleshooting and FAQs for Microsoft Office - Knowledgebase / Software / Microsoft Office - OIT Service Center

Troubleshooting and FAQs for Microsoft Office

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Which Microsoft Office should I install?

  • Are you a Brown Student? Install Office 365
  • Are you a Brown-paid Faculty or Staff on a Personally-owned computer?  Install Office 365
  • Are you a Brown-paid Faculty or Staff on a Brown-issued computer? Office should already be installed. If not, install Office 365

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Brown's implementation of Microsoft Office 365 allows Brown-paid faculty, staff, and students to use the Office components on up to 5 devices while an active member of the Brown community. Your Office 365 subscription allows you to download and use the full version of Microsoft Office Professional for Windows or Mac, or the versions of the Office Apps for iPad and Android.  The feature sets between Mac/Windows/iOS/Android are slightly different, but all available apps for each operating system are licensed for use.

The software will check in automatically to make sure you are still an active member of the community. If you aren't able to log in for 30 days (for example, if you are not connected to the internet), the software will operate in read-only mode. You must connect to the internet and log in periodically to maintain your access.  If you change your Brown password, you may be asked to reenter your password.

I'm not a Brown-paid faculty, staff, or student. Can I get a discount on Office?

As long as you have an "" address, you qualify for a discounted one-year auto-renewal subscription of Office 365 University for PC or Mac. After one year, the software expires, and you may auto-renew for $69.99 each year. Order here.

I'm logging in with my usual information but I see a message "Incorrect User ID or Password" - what should I do?

Make sure you are logging in at with your Brown username and the password for your Brown username. If you're logging in at or another Microsoft page, make sure you're using your Brown Microsoft account, "".

Do I need an Internet connection to install and run the software?

To install the software initially, you need an internet connection. In general, to use the 365 version of Microsoft Office, you do not need an internet connection.  However, the software occasionally checks in to determine whether you are still an active member of the Brown community.  If your computer does not check in for 30 days, the Office installation will go into a limited mode, where you cannot modify or save new documents.

Why can't I download certain Office software like OneNote?

If you are using a Mac, you can only install the software that is available for Mac - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Additional software is available for Windows.

What happens when I graduate or leave Brown employment?

Student Advantage is only available for active students at Brown. Approximately 30 days after departure, your software will go into read-only mode.  Microsoft will offer you an opportunity to purchase a subscription to the consumer version of Office 365 so you can continue to use the software.  Any files you create using Office 365 will be accessible to licensed users - the files themselves do not go dormant when your subscription stops.

I get an error message that says “You don’t have a license to use Office 365” - why?

This service is only available for students (undergraduate, graduate, and medical), and Brown-paid faculty and staff.  Inactive students, and other affiliate types will get this error message after logging in. If you see this error message, check with the IT Service Center to make sure your account is in the correct group.

What if I am reformatting my computer or get a new computer? Can I deactivate my license?

Once you have installed at least one copy, you will see a list of devices on which you have installed Office 365 when you log in to You can deactivate a device by clicking the deactivate button in the list. Deactivating a device prevents it from counting against your 5 installations.

Do mobile devices count against my five computer limit?

No. When you choose Office Mobile or OneNote from the download portal, you will be prompted to send a text message to your device that will help you install the appropriate mobile app.

What if I need Visio or Project?

Visio and Project licenses for these must be purchased separately. Please contact for assistance.

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