The license rules for Office 2019 and Office 2021 are buried deep in the software. Here’s how to find the license wording plus explanation of the rules about installation and transfer to another computer.
Microsoft Software License Terms are the same for Office 2019 and Office 2021, at least when it comes to software use and transfers as copied below. In total, it’s over 6,500 words.
Go to File | Account | About to see the SLT or Software Licence Terms which is the full name for the license rules for Office 2019 and Office 2021 .
The license terms aren’t the whole story. There are other long pages from the Microsoft legal department about privacy (or lack of) and cloud services.
License wording is sometimes vague and difficult to understand because it uses different terminology than other Microsoft documents. For example, Microsoft usually talks about ‘OEM’ software but in the license they instead refer to “Software preinstalled on device.”
What about the EULA?
Microsoft Software License Terms or SLT is the modern name for the old EULA (End User License Agreement). Many people, including Microsofties still talk about the EULA (“Yew-La”).
Retail and Volume licences can be moved to another computer
Here’s the relevant quotes from the Office licenses about transferability (or not) of licenses.
One instance only
Section 2a confirms that only one copy of the software can be used on a computer at any time.
“2. Installation and Use Rights.
a. License. The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install (if you acquired the software from a retailer) and run one instance of the software on your device (the licensed device), for use by one person at a time, …“
Office software transfer
then down in Section 3 – which talks about transferability of Office software.
Section 3 a – applies to OEM or preinstalled software. It limits Office software transfer by saying you can only sell/transfer the whole computer with the installed Office software.
” a. Software preinstalled on device. If you acquired the software preinstalled on a device, you may transfer the software directly to another user, only with the licensed device. The transfer must include the software and, if provided with the device, an authentic Office label including the product key. Before any permitted transfer, the other party must agree that this agreement applies to the transfer and use of the software.”
Section 3 b – is for retail Office software. You can transfer software to another computer you own. A transfer can only be done every 90 days unless there’s a hardware failure.
“ b. Stand-alone software acquired from a retailer. If you acquired the software from a retailer as stand-alone software, you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you, but not more than one time every 90 days (except due to hardware failure, in which case you may transfer sooner).”
Sale or transfer to another person
It appears that it’s NOT allowed to sell or transfer a Office 2021/Office 2019 licence to someone else, except perhaps in some EU countries.
At the start of Section 3 is this vague paragraph:
“ Transfer to a Third Party. The provisions of this section do not apply if you acquired the software in the European Economic Area (EEA) and only transfer it to another person or entity within the EEA, in which case any transfer of the software and the right to use it must comply with applicable law. “
We’ve already quoted the main parts of Section 3 (a and b above).
If you’re in an EEA country, check your local laws to see what’s possible – and good luck.