Error: Your account doesn’t allow editing on a Mac

Last updated: September 20, 2022

Office 365 ProPlus error: “Your account doesn’t allow editing on a Mac”

Office 365 ProPlus for Mac will restrict itself to read only under certain circumstances. The error appears at the top of Office apps and can include messages like “Your account doesn’t allow editing on a Mac” or “Activate Office to Create and Edit”.

If the “Activate” button is missing or does not work, several potential fixes are included on this page. We recommend trying each fix individually since each of these solutions can potentially eliminate the error.

Use Microsoft’s license removal tool

Microsoft’s Office license removal tool will remove any corrupted license data, allowing you to reactivate Office 365 ProPlus. For instructions on how to use the license removal tool, please refer to Microsoft’s support page: How to remove Office license files on a Mac.

Note: Be sure to close all Office applications before using the license removal tool.

Once the license has been removed, start an Office application. When you are prompted to log in to Office 365, enter your Office 365 account name in the following format: your-UWNetID@uw.edu (where your-UWNetID is replaced with your own personal UW NetID). Your password is the one associated with your UW NetID.

Clear Keychain passwords

The Mac Keychain stores saved passwords which occasionally may need to be removed and replaced. For more information, please see Apple’s support page: Keychain Access User Guide.

Start by closing all Office applications. Next, search for and remove any keychains that include any of the following terms:

  • ADAL
  • Office
  • Exchange

If a key includes any of the terms listed above, delete it using the instructions found on Apple’s support page: Delete a keychain in Keychain Access on Mac.

Once the keychains have been removed, start any Office application. When you are prompted to log in to Office 365, enter your Office 365 account name in the format: your-UWNetID@uw.edu (where your-UWNetID is replaced with your own personal UW NetID).  Your password is the one associated with your UW NetID.

Complete Removal of Office

If the solutions above do not fix the error, the next step is to perform a complete removal of Office. Microsoft support provides a walk-through guide to assist this process: Uninstall Office for Mac.

Every step of this process must be completed to effectively remove Office from your Mac.

Once Office has been removed, restart your Mac and reinstall Office using the following UW-IT guide: Install Office 365 ProPlus.

Additional help is available

If you need additional assistance, please contact help@uw.edu for further assistance.