Overview of the Volume License (VL) Serializer

Applies to: Office 2019 for Mac, Office 2016 for Mac

The Volume Serializer (VL) is used to activate Office 2019 for Mac or Office 2016 for Mac as a volume licensed version. It's an approximately 4 mb package file that you run on a user's computer, either before or after you've installed Office.

Download the Volume License (VL) Serializer from the VLSC

To download the VL Serializer, do the following:

  1. Sign in to the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).
  2. Select the Download and Keys tab.
  3. Depending on the version that you're deploying, search for "Office 2019 for Mac Standard" or "Office 2016 for Mac Standard."
  4. Select the Download link in the results panel.
  5. Select the Continue button at the bottom of the window.
  6. Select the icon (circle with download arrow) to download the VL Serializer .iso file.
  7. Once the download is complete, mount the .iso file to extract the VL Serializer package file.

Make sure you have the correct VL serializer version for the version of Office that you're deploying to your users.

Version File name
Office 2019 for Mac Microsoft_Office_2019_VL_Serializer.pkg
Office 2016 for Mac Microsoft_Office_2016_VL_Serializer.pkg

Then, deploy and run the VL Serializer package file on each computer that you want to activate Office as a volume licensed version.


  • You can't use the VL Serializer for Office 2019 for Mac to activate a volume licensed version of Office 2016 for Mac.
  • Volume licensed versions of Office 2019 for Mac have version numbers of 16.17 or higher. Volume licensed versions of Office 2016 for Mac have version numbers of 16.16 or lower, such as 16.16.2 or 16.15.

Additional information about the VL Serializer

  • The volume license is located in the /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensingV2.plist directory.
  • The licensing plist generated by the VL Serializer contains data that's encrypted by using the serial number of the boot drive on the computer where it was generated. Upon each Office application launch, the plist is decrypted by using the current boot drive serial number as the decryption key. If the data cannot be decrypted (for example, boot drive serial number is different), Office will go into an unlicensed state without warning.
  • Because the license plist file is encrypted using information from the computer on which it's installed, you can't copy it to a different computer to activate Office on that computer.
  • There's a single VL Serializer package that contains a single key that's shared between all volume licensed customer installations.
  • The VL Serializer package contains a binary executable that's named "Microsoft Office Setup Assistant." It's this executable that actually activates the volume license.
  • If you install the volume licensed version of Office 2016 for Mac from the .iso file downloaded from the VLSC, you don't need to run the VL Serializer. That installer package already has the VL Serializer functionality built-in. But, we recommend that you always download and install the most current version that's available on the Office Content Delivery Network (CDN) on the internet. For more information, see Download Office for Mac to your local network.
  • The VL Serializer package is compatible with mobile device management (MDM) servers such as Microsoft Intune, Jamf Pro, or FileWave.