How to Activate Microsoft Office XP 21 Years Later
Back in the day one of the most important programs you’d have installed on your computer was an office suite. You may not have always used the office suite or all of the programs included with it, but if you had a computer you had a dedicated program for writing letters and documents, balancing your accounts, and probably an email client.
In the late 1990’s you could have used Star Office or Netscape Communicator. In the early 2000’s it would have probably been OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Thunderbird — or Sea Monkey if you’re a real one — but as for my family, we were a Microsoft house. Whether we were running Windows 95, 98, Me, or XP my parents always paid for the accompanying version of Microsoft Office.
Microsoft’s productivity offering has changed a lot over the years. Features have been added and removed, and UI changes have been made for the worse, but still it remains a solid contender for the title of the Best Office Suite around.
Is Office XP even usable today?
Short answer: yes.
While not as full featured in some ways as the latest releases, my favorite version of MS Office remains Microsoft Office XP. I used it extensively on my Windows XP box from 2004 until the fall of 2009 primarily for word processing, but also to put together data sheets and presentations for school. Since then, anytime I have a Windows XP machine setup I make a point to install and activate Office XP to go along with it.
Whether you’re running Windows XP, Vista, 7, 10, or 11, installing Office XP is as straight forward today as it ever was — and yes you can run it just fine on Windows 10 and presumably Windows 11. The only problem you’ll likely run into is compatibility with the newer Office Open XML formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx) as that standard was not introduced until Office 2007. Thankfully, this can be remedied by applying the OOXML Compatibility Patch from Microsoft. Unfortunately they seem to have stopped making this patch available for download, but I tracked a copy of it down on CNET and have added it to the Internet Archive here.
Activating Office XP in 2022
It used to be that you could simply activate Office over the internet using Windows Update. This still works for modern Office, and with Office 365 you don’t even need to activate because your subscription takes care of that for you. In older versions of Windows like 2000, XP, Vista, and (I believe) 7, you’ll need to activate over the phone as Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows Update for these systems.
When you first launch the program after installation the Activation Wizard will pop up.
Click next and select Activate by using the telephone. Then click next again.
Select your country - the US in my case — and dial whichever number applies to you. For the sake of SEO and people looking for this number in the future, the activation in the US the number is 888-652-2342.
Calling the number, just follow the prompts the automated menu gives you. For English, do nothing. Para español seleccione dos. Pour français sélectionnez-en trois.
If you’re using a smartphone you can also have them send you a text message with a timed link to activate Office. Otherwise, just continue with the phone option. In my case I went with the link.
Select the appropriate option for your install. Office XP uses 6 digit segments so I selected 6 Digits.
Enter each segment in the Installation ID from the Activation Wizard into the appropriate field and then tap Submit.
The next page will give you a Confirmation ID that needs to be entered into the lettered fields in the Activation Wizard. I blurred all of these numbers because you never know what needs to be blurred with this stuff and what doesn’t, though I’m pretty sure these numbers are generated on the fly so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Once all of the fields have been filled, click next.
If all goes well you should see Activation Complete on the next screen. Click finish and you’re all set.
Now you can enjoy using Microsoft Office XP in all it’s glory. The process is the same if you’re trying to activate any other version of Office or Windows that requires it including Office 2003, 2007, 2010, and Windows XP, Vista, and 7.
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Thanks for this article. Very useful. I remember Office XP. I got the education version because I was in high school and it was cheaper.