How do I get Microsoft Office?

There are multiple license for Microsoft Office or its equivalents at UCSB. You may fit into one or more of the below categories.


All UCSB students with a UMail account are eligible for a free Mac/PC copy of Microsoft Office 365 via the Student Advantage program.

Please see:

Faculty, lecturers, and staff inside the College of Engineering

Faculty, lecturers, and departmental staff for the College of Engineering can get it here, using the College of Engineering Account Login. Different software will appear based on your affiliation and OS your are downloading from so these instructions are generalized, please read the README file as install instructions will vary with OS, OS version and affiliation.

If you already have office installed, please log out if you are logged in as the serialized version of Office and the license tied to email are mutually exclusive.

While uninstalling old versions of office is technically not required per communication from Microsoft or even recommended by them, you may want to do so anyway and then reboot before installing new versions to avoid files being carried forward from older versions of Office that may or may not be fully compatible. ECI is not responsible for lost files, contacts, etc.. so please back up all work and configurations you wish to save before doing any install.

For Mac: Office 365, 2016, 2019, 2021, etc.. all use the same combined installer that can be downloaded directly from Microsoft, but different Serializers and different Config files. Config files are OS dependent and config files from multiple versions may conflict.

Microsoft does not recommend using time machine backup to transfer Microsoft Office from an older Mac to a newer Mac and instead recommends doing a fresh install.

For Macs: Once you login to the above portal and download the Office 2021 zip file, it will unzip into a folder with two packages, a base installer and serializer, both need to be run for Office 2021 to work.

Office is registered with a serial number, when opening office for the first time, DO NOT SIGN IN, if you sign in, it will wipe the serial number and attempt to register the software with a Microsoft account.

When launching office for the very fist time, just click the small-font option that says "skip" the login. You can then open a new office document.

Windows 10 and 11 Users

There is a problem with Microsoft Edge with our website as far as getting the software is concerned.

We recommend you use either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to download the software.

Please also note that after unzipping the folder and all sub folders, you will want to run the .bat file, not the exe as there are multiple install and configuration options that need to be specified at time of launch.

If you have other Microsoft software installed, please choose the minimal install option or uninstall all other versions of Apps that are part of the Microsoft Office suite.

For example, OneNote, OneDrive, Teams, Skype, etc... are all considered part of the Microsoft Office Suite but may be installed separately. Components installed separately may not be fully compatible or work with components installed in a batch.

Please note that Microsoft Licensing, depending on which type of license you get, may be restricted in some form. MCCA licenses are restricted to UC owned computers only. 0365 license may be used on personal computers but only in "support of education". If you run into issues either downloading or installing office, please submit a help ticket and we can double check licensing restrictions. Please note that if you are trying to download from off campus, you must use the UCSB Pulse Secure VPN.

Post Docs

As of January 2022 MCCA has expanded eligibility to include Post Docs that meet ALL of the following conditions. Many post docs will however fall under "other members of the UCSB community" for one reason or another.  MCCA licenses are explicitly limited to UC owned computers. If you are not using a UC owned computer or still have an active email alias please either skip down to "Other members of the UCSB Community" or contact your home department about purchasing a license outside of MCCA.

  • Office must be installed on a UC owned computer.
    • MCCA license does not allow installation on any personally owned computer even if used for work purposes.
    • If you are using a personally owned computer for work, you may still qualify for other options listed below.
  • You must work "full time" (40 hours a week)
  • You may not be enrolled in any academic or research units
  • You must work in a subscribed division/department/unit (not all departments have agreed to pay for Post Docs)
  • You do not have eligibility under any other program at UCSB
    • You may not be a "Student", "GSR", or "TA"
    • You may not have a umail email address
  • You must submit a help ticket so we can double check the above licensing restrictions, automatic downloads are disabled for Post Docs.

Other members of the UCSB Community.

Anyone with a UCSBnetID may use the online version of Microsoft Office found inside or Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) within Google Drive , which is associated with your UCSB Connect account:

Free alternatives to Microsoft Office, such as LibreOffice and OpenOffice, are offered from a variety of sources.

Microsoft Office is available on all COE lab computers. Please see: Where are the ECI Labs?

Microsoft Office is also available in several locations across campus such as in the Collaborate labs and in the UCSB Library.

If you are not a member of the College of Engineering, please inquire with your departmental IT organization for more information about departmental labs and licenses.

Anyone who does not qualify for the above licenses such as Researchers may still be eligible for the online-only version of Microsoft Office provided directly to people with an .edu email address by Microsoft.

Please see:

You normally are only eligible for one license at a time, students under the student advantage license, graduate students under a departmental license and Faculty and full time administrative staff under the College of Engineering License may get error messages telling them to contact their system administrator.

If you still wish to have a local copy of Microsoft Office on your computer and do not fall under the above categories, you can purchase an academic priced copy of Microsoft Office through one of the following options: