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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This Is What Happens To Your Files When You Stop Paying For A Microsoft Office Subscription

Microsoft wants to change how we buy Microsoft Office software. Instead of paying for the software once, Microsoft wants us to be paying for it monthly or annually.

Microsoft offers a variety of subscriptions for the latest version called Office 365.  This isn't cloud software. It still installs on your PC or Mac and the files will also be stored on your PC (though you can set it up to save to the cloud, too).

But the question is: what happens to your files if you decide to stop paying the subscription?

Microsoft does not delete them. It doesn't delete the Office software from your PC either. You can open them and look at them but you can't edit them.

Our one-year subscription to Office 365 recently came due and we did not renew it. Sure enough, the software deactivated itself.

This is what happened when we tried to use it after it expired.

1. When we clicked on an Office document, the file didn't immediately open. Instead, we got this screen. We clicked on the bottom to view the file for free.
Office 365 expired
Office 365 expired
Julie Bort/Business Insider

2. The file opened, but none of the editing buttons worked. They were all "gray" indicating they were turned off. We were still able to copy and paste from the document into another file, using keyboard shortcuts.
Deactivated Excel
Deactivated Excel
Julie Bort/Business Insider

3. Since the software is still installed, you can click on the icon. The app won't open. It will just load in the launch bar/dock.
Deactivated Excel
Office icon appears in tray
Julie Bort/Business Insider

4. With the app in the bar, you can right click and will give you the option to view a file.

Office 365 deactivated options
Julie Bort/Business Insider

At any time, we can renew our subscription, Microsoft says, and the apps will update to their latest versions and become functional again.

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