I'm having trouble editing a PowerPoint deck on my MacBook Pro. A colleague suggested I get the latest Microsoft Office for Mac.

I priced it on Amazon, and I came across Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac | Mac Key Card. However, the listing does not discuss the terms or explain the Mac Key Card.

I visited Microsoft's site and found Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac. It does not list the terms or explain the Mac Key Card.

So my questions are:

  • Is this an expiring copy of Office?
  • What is the Mac Key Card?

I don't use third party clouds, like Microsoft or Apple clouds. I'm happy to use my local OpenStack installation, but Microsoft and Apple don't allow me to do it.

According to the FAQ under What's the difference between Office 365 plans and Office 2016 suites?, it looks like Office 365 uses the cloud, but Office 2016 suite does not.

So this question is:

  • Does Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac use an external cloud, like Azure and OneDrive?
  • Can I use my internal OpenStack cloud with Office 2016 suite?

My apologies for asking basic questions. I want to ensure I understand what I am getting into. I got burned in the past with Microsoft, their marketing literature that omits important limitations and details, and their expiring trials.

1 Answer 1


My understanding is that the only difference in the MS Office 2016 apps is the licensing key.

They will all want to phone home to microsoft's cloud services - so no matter how you buy/install it - you'll have to deal with that on a firewall / configuration basis after installing the apps.

The key card just provides you a license so you don't need to log in to authenticate that you're an Office 365 subscriber. Think of it like logging into iTunes or the various app stores. Microsoft gives you an account to verify if you have subscribed to their software.

The key card is the license to avoid that online payment / check.

Apple's web site is actually quite nice for sussing out how the various options are priced and licensed:

Office 365 is a subscription that expires. The rest are not.

  • Thanks Bmike. So I an clear... The Key Card is like a dongle that I have to plug into the MacBook to use Office. Its the license and a bearer instrument. Is that correct?
    – user83961
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 18:45
  • No hardware @jww - printed patterns of ink on paper type of "key". See the Apple text for "what's in the box" - Alpha-numeric PIN and Product Key for downloading Microsoft Office for Mac
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 18:49

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