Similar question here

but that doesn't address the fact that I have a valid key. 4 years ago I purchased Office University 2010 and it included a free upgrade to Office 365 when it became available with the option to go back to whatever the current non-cloud Office product is.

Now my sub has expired and any time I open, say, OneNote, I get a popup about needing to renew or enter a key. I tried the University key but its not valid.

How do I continue to use Office 2016? Or was that "offer" non-existent?

Anyone have any insight?

Edit: I'm not looking at continuing Office 365. I'm looking to use the downloaded versions of Office 2016 that are currently installed (via Office 365 subscription which has now expired). The offer I accepted included the ability to continue to use Office even if the subscription was cancelled or expired. There wasn't any indication about how to do this and I can't find any info abou this via MS help. I paid for a stand-alone copy of Office which included an optional upgrade to 365. I am under the impression that I would get to keep whatever version I had currently, not the original 2010 or '13 or whatever it was. As such, I don't believe I need to completely uninstall and install and old version. If this isn't correct, provide me with more than "enter key" or "install from your media" (there is no media, it was digital distribution). I know how this typically works, and this isn't a typical situation.

  • why not try the key/ – Andy Feb 22 '17 at 1:08
  • Updated my question. – user565955 Feb 22 '17 at 1:23
  • @SiXandSeven8ths has anything worked as you wished, or have you found the "Upgrade Offer" to see what it said? – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 28 '17 at 5:44
  • @GypsySpellweaver, no, nothing is at it should be. The original "offer" has long since been deleted from Microsoft help, it would seem, that's why I was asking here to see if anyone had some insight into this particular issue. Instead all I get is generic answers. – user565955 Feb 28 '17 at 17:35
  • 2
    Well, last time I talked to one of them chat monkeys it was a complete waste of time. I'm accepting your answer but I think what I'll end up doing is resubscribing in the near future or using an alternative. – user565955 Feb 28 '17 at 21:54

The "offer" probably includes the ability to save the cloud data to the local system once you have a local version installed. The 2010 key will only work to install Office 2010. (Probably only the Office University 2010 that you had, and not some other, Standard or Professional, version.) To install Office 2016 you will need to purchase a 2016 key. If you are still a student, you may be able to get a decent discount on that, but not likely to be free, although not impossible either. Anyway, to use the 2010 key, find the 2010 disc somewhere in your old collection and reinstall it. Then you can use the "offer" to migrate the cloud data to your computer. Once you have a 2016 key, if you choose to get one, you can upgrade your Office 2010 to Office 2016.


I haven't dealt with MS Office since 2010 versions, and avoid subscription-based services for my data. Consequently, most of the above about Office 2016 is way off base. However, misunderstandings of the "free" offer aside, the solution for you is the same.

Since you still have the 25-character product key from Office 2010, you can reinstall that. BTW some sources suggest that doing a "repair" option rather than an install will work, and experimentation with that is up to you.

First you need the installation media for Office 2010. If you have the old disc gathering dust somewhere, find it. If you don't have, never had, the disc, then MS will let you download a copy. Go to their download page, enter the product key you own and follow their instructions.

Now that you have installation media, either insert the disc, or go to the downloaded files, and run the installer. (The disc will probably AutoStart, but if not, find the disc in My Computer and double click it.)

Depending on what the installer detects on your computer, you will have one or more of the following options: Install Office 2010, Re-install Office 2010, or Repair Office. Choose the one that's available, that best fits your plans. FWIW I'd go for a complete new, total, installation, to be sure that all programs are installed, and nothing is 'linked' to the expired version you upgraded to.

Finally, save you install media somewhere in case you need it again; virus issues, buy a new computer, etc. Enjoy the perpetually licensed version, subscription free.


As you correctly say, your subscription to Office 365 (which is where your "Office 2016" came from) has expired:

Now my sub has expired and any time I open, say, OneNote, I get a popup about needing to renew or enter a key.

Office 365 is only a subscription-based product:

Office 365 is subscription-based. This means that, in the case of most of its subscription packages, it guarantees that you and your team will always have the latest desktop version of all the office software you've subscribed to. Those desktop versions will stop working if you don’t keep paying your subscription fees though.

(emphasis mine)

So that "free-upgrade" can't mean you now own a perpetual license. If you choose to stop paying for the subscription, you can no longer use Office 365, no matter how you got into the product.

Fortunately it sounds like you have a valid license for Office University 2010. If you wish to avoid continuing your Office 365 subscription you should install the product for which you're licensed:

  1. Uninstall Office 2016 which was provided by your Office 365 subscription.
  2. Re-install Office University 2010 using the corresponding key.
  • 1
    I don't care about the 365 subscription part of it. I just want to continue using office. I understand how the subscription works. – user565955 Feb 22 '17 at 4:47
  • 2
    @SiXandSeven8ths Then as my answer indicates you need to go back to the version of Office for which you have a valid license. – Twisty Impersonator Feb 22 '17 at 4:52
  • @SiXandSeven8ths I understand this can be confusing, but this and the other answers you're getting are pointing you in the correct direction. While you do have "Office 2016" installed as part of your Office 365 subscription, and this is the same software (from a functional perspective) as what you would install if you bought a perpetual license for Office 2016, there is no standalone Office product license in any Office 365 plan. Once you're no longer and Office 365 subscriber, you lose the legal right to run the "Office 2016" software acquired through the subscription. – Twisty Impersonator Feb 22 '17 at 5:01
  • 1
    @SiXandSeven8ths Obviously it would be helpful to find that information. As it stands you're here asking this question because you've found that you cannot use the software now that your Office 365 subscription has expired. I know it's not what you want to hear, but the only thing you own is an Office 2010 University license. Sorry mate. – Twisty Impersonator Feb 22 '17 at 5:22
  • 2
    Your only hope of getting the "current" non-cloud version of Office is with the people who told you that. We are telling you the actual public information available for MS licensing. If your situation differs then that is up to the people who offered it to you, not us. – music2myear Feb 25 '17 at 0:07

It is my belief Office 365 subscriptions are giving you the ability to USE the software on up to 5 devices and it will stay activated as long as your subscription is up to date. If you want to "keep" the product you would need to actually buy it. Like the actual disk or key. This, I believe requires a third party vendor like Digital River, etc. You could then reduce your O365 bill by only using the email hosting features.

Again this is just my understanding of it.

The whole reason they came up with O365 was because people were trying to rock Office 2007 in 2016. MS didn't want to support it for one and for two, they want money quicker. If you run 7 to 10 year old Exchange and O2k7 you haven't given MS a dime in like 10 years. They want reoccurring revenue so they lease the software and host the services to get paid monthly...indefinitely.

  • No. The deal included being able to revert to the standalone product. I wish I could locate info on this. I swear it said I could keep whatever the current version is. – user565955 Feb 22 '17 at 3:29
  • I think what they meant is you can type in an actual key and it wouldn't require a reinstall. I could be wrong though – Nerdslogic Feb 22 '17 at 3:33
  • @SiXandSeven8ths Your information is wrong. There is no standalone product for Office 365. – Twisty Impersonator Feb 22 '17 at 4:55
  • @SiXandSeven8ths I was referring to Office 2016 as a stand alone – Nerdslogic Feb 22 '17 at 18:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy