Device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
Commercial customers can use Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (device) to assign a Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise license to a Windows client device instead of to a user. Education customers can do the same thing by using the Microsoft 365 Apps for Education (device) license. This device-based license is designed to simplify management of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (previously named Office 365 ProPlus) on devices shared by many users. Anyone that signs in and uses that device can use Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to create and edit documents.
Device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise is available as a license only for some commercial customers and some education customers. For commercial customers, the license is Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (device) and is available only through Enterprise Agreement/Enterprise Agreement Subscription. For education customers, the license is Microsoft 365 Apps for Education (device) and is available only through Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES). For more information, read the blog post on education availability. For commercial availability, contact your Microsoft account representative.
Requirements for using device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
The following are the requirements for device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise:
- Version 1907 or later of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.
- A supported version of Windows 11 or Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel
- The Windows client device must be Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) joined or hybrid Azure AD joined.
To verify that Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and the Windows client device meet these requirements, do the following steps:
On the Windows client device, open an Office application, such as Word, and go to File > Account. The version number of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise that is installed on the device appears in the About section of the Product Information section.
On the Windows client device, from the Start menu or a command prompt, type
winverand then hit Enter. The About Windows dialog appears and lists the version of Windows client.
Sign in to the Microsoft Azure and go to Azure Active Directory > Devices. The type of join for your Windows client device is listed in the Join Type column.
If the Windows client device doesn't appear, sign in to the Windows client device. Then go to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school, choose Connect, and follow the steps to join the device to either Azure Active Directory or to a local Active Directory domain.
Steps to configure device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
After you have verified that your Windows client devices and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise installations meet the specified requirements, you need to do the following tasks:
- Add the Windows client devices to a group that's available in Azure AD.
- Assign the appropriate licenses to that group by signing into the Microsoft 365 admin center and going to Billing > Licenses. You can't assign the licenses in the Azure portal.
- Configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to use device-based licensing instead of user-based licensing.
Be sure to create the Azure AD group and assign the licenses before you configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to use device-based licensing. Otherwise you will receive error messages in Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.
Add Windows client devices to a group in Azure AD and assign that group licenses
To configure device-based licensing, you first need to add your Windows client devices to a group that's available in Azure AD. The following table provides information about the types of groups that are supported and where you can create those groups.
|Group type||Create using these tools|
|Security, with assigned or static membership. The security group should not be mail-enabled.||Azure AD portal
On-premises Active Directory and sync to Azure AD with Azure AD Connect
|Security, with dynamic device membership||Azure AD portal|
|Distribution list||On-premises Active Directory and sync to Azure AD with Azure AD Connect
On-premises Exchange Server and sync to Azure AD with Azure AD Connect
Microsoft 365 admin center
|Office 365||Not supported (type of group in Azure AD|
For more information about Azure group management, see the following articles:
- Create a basic group and add members using Azure Active Directory
- Create a dynamic group and check status
- Azure AD Connect sync: Understand and customize synchronization
After you have created the appropriate group type and assigned the appropriate Windows client devices to the group, you need to assign licenses to that group. For the steps on how to do that, see Manage licenses for devices. You can assign licenses to only one group, but you can nest groups within that one group.
- The license assignment has to be done in the Microsoft 365 admin center, under Billing > Licenses. You can't assign the licenses in the Azure portal.
- After you go to Billing > Licenses > Subscriptions in the Microsoft 365 admin center, be sure that you select either Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (device) or Microsoft 365 Apps for Education (device) (depending on which license you have) to assign those licenses to the group you created.
Configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to use device-based licensing
After you have assigned licenses to the group in Azure AD that contains your Windows client devices, you need to configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise to use device-based licensing instead of user-based licensing. You can do that by using either of the following methods:
- The Office Deployment Tool and the DeviceBasedLicensing setting.
- Group Policy and the "Use a device-based license for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise" policy setting
Using the Office Deployment Tool
If you use the Office Deployment Tool to install or configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, you'll want to add the following line to your configuration.xml file:
<Property Name="DeviceBasedLicensing" Value="1" />
To configure device-based licensing by using the Office Deployment Tool, you must be installing Version 1909 or later of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. There was a problem with earlier versions that prevented device-based licensing from being properly configured using the DeviceBasedLicensing setting with the Office Deployment Tool.
If you're using an earlier version of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, you can configure device-based licensing by using Group Policy. Or, from an elevated command prompt you can run the following command:
reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration /v O365ProPlusRetail.DeviceBasedLicensing /t REG_SZ /d 1
- Be sure you're always using the most current version of the Office Deployment Tool available on the Microsoft Download Center so that you have the latest features and bug fixes.
- Instead of using a text editor to create your configuration.xml, we recommend that you use the Office Customization Tool (OCT). The OCT provides a web-based interface for making your selections and creating your configuration.xml file to be used with the Office Deployment Tool. For more information, see Overview of the Office Customization Tool. There is a choice to configure device-based licensing under the Licensing and activation section of the OCT.
For more information about using the Office Deployment Tool and the configuration options that it supports, see the following articles:
Using Group Policy
If you use Group Policy to configure Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise settings, you can enable the "Use a device-based license for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise" policy setting. This policy setting can be found under Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office 2016 (Machine)\Licensing Settings.
- To use this policy setting, download the most current version of the Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) from the Microsoft Download Center.
- This policy setting was previously named "Use a device-based license for Office 365 ProPlus." If you configured the previously named policy setting, the setting you chose still applies.
Troubleshoot device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
You can view device licensing status by signing in to the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center and going to Health > Licensing. That page shows devices that failed to activate with a device license.
You can also verify that Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise is using a device-based license by opening an Office application, such as Word, and going to File > Account. In the Product Information section, you should see Belongs to: This device.
If the device hasn't been properly configured for device-based licensing, when a user tries to use Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise on the device, Office will be in reduced functionality mode. That means the user can open and print existing documents in Office applications, but the user can't create new documents or edit and save existing documents.
In those cases, the user will also see a banner beneath the ribbon in the document with the following message:
LICENSE REQUIRED Your admin needs to assign an Office license to this device so you can edit your files.
To troubleshoot this issue, make sure the device is correctly joined to Azure AD and that the device is added to the group that has been assigned the licenses. Also, there can be a delay of approximately one hour after you add the device to the group, so that might be causing this message to appear. Close the app and open the app again later.
In other cases, the user might see this message:
CAN'T VERIFY LICENSE We're having trouble verifying the Office license for this device.
In this case, the device is having problems contacting the Office Licensing Service on the internet. Office tries to contact the Office Licensing Service to ensure the device is properly licensed and to automatically renew a license that is about to expire. A device-based license is set to expire in 90 days, so the device doesn't have to access to internet constantly. The CAN'T VERIFY LICENSE message usually appears about 10 days before the license is about to expire.
Transition from subscription licensing or shared computer activation to device-based licensing
If Microsoft 365 Apps are already installed and activated with user-based subscription licensing or shared computer activation, you will need to reset the license state on the device before it will transition over to device-based licensing. To reset the activation state, see Reset Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise activation state.
Make sure the device has access to the internet or that your firewall isn't preventing access to the Office licensing service. For more information about firewall settings, see Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges.