Identify Your Version and License of Microsoft PowerPoint and Office on Mac

Created: Wednesday, August 31, 2016, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 4:00 am

Updated: at



Do you use PowerPoint and other Office programs on a Mac? Do you know which version you are using? And if the version question seemed easy, do you know what sort of license you are using? In this post, we will explore an easy way to identify version and license details for Microsoft Office on the Mac.

Broadly speaking, new versions come with new features. For example, PowerPoint 2011 for Mac introduced Sections, Presenter View, and other niceties.However, the introduction of new features is no longer dependent upon the release of a new version—your license type may provide you with new features even a new version is not released yet! Yes, we are talking about Office 365 Subscription licenses that bring you new features every few months. That’s the reason why it is important to find out whether you have a Subscription or a Perpetual product installed!

We have used PowerPoint for all the screenshots. However, the same process should also work with Word, Excel, and other Office programs. Follow these steps:

  1. Run PowerPoint. If you see the Presentation Gallery, opt to create a new presentation, or alternatively open any existing presentation. Yes, you do not want to create or edit presentations now—but PowerPoint will not let you identify it under the hood unless you open a presentation first! We just created a new presentation, as shown in Figure 1 below.
    PowerPoint for Mac interface
    Figure 1: Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac interface
  2. Next choose the PowerPoint | About PowerPoint menu option, as shown in Figure 2 below.
    PowerPoint for Mac About
    Figure 2: About PowerPoint
  3. You will see a dialog, as shown in Figure 3, below. Do notice that you can identify that this dialog is from a Retail License product, as highlighted in red. You can also find the version number of your installed product, as highlighted in blue.Does the version number, 15.21.1 (160411) confuse you? Don’t worry; we will explain what these numbers mean at the end of this post.PowerPoint for Mac Retail
    Figure 3: Office Retail License

    The same dialog from a subscribed version will show a different license type: Office 365 Subscription, as you can see highlighted in red within Figure 4 below (compare with Figure 3). Again, you can also find the version number of your installed product, as highlighted in blue.

    PowerPoint for Mac 365
    Figure 4: Office 365 Subscription License

    Although Microsoft names their releases with nomenclature such as Office 2016, Office 2011, etc. — they follow a different nomenclature internally. Any version number that begins with “15” in the About dialog box indicates that you are running Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac.

    Similarly, any version number that begins with “14” indicates that you are running Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.

    PowerPoint for Mac 2011
    Figure 5: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

    And any version number that begins with “12” indicates that you are running Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below.

    PowerPoint for Mac 2008
    Figure 6: PowerPoint 2008 for Mac

    Additionally, there may be other numbers after the 15, 14, or 12 in the About dialog box. Those other numbers indicate updates released after the initial first release. These links provide details about these updates:

    MacUpdate: Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac

    Additionally, a dedicated PM on the Office 2016 for Mac team maintains the Release history for Office 2016 for Mac/Microsoft AutoUpdate page.

    MacUpdate: Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac

    MacUpdate: Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac

    No Version 13?

    Yes, you are right. The reason there is no version 13 of Microsoft Office for Mac is because thirteen is considered by some as an unlucky number!

Thank you so much, Anneliese Wirth, at Microsoft who helped me create this post.

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