Troubleshooting Microsoft Office/M365 license issues in Mac OS (cannot save files)


Learn how to resolve issues saving/editing Microsoft Office files on your Mac.


If you downloaded the campus version of Microsoft Office to your Mac but are getting an error message saying you can't save documents (i.e., your Office app is "unlicensed"), here are a couple of things you can try doing to resolve the issue. The IT Help Desk can also be contacted at (716) 878-HELP to confirm if you have an active software license associated with your campus Network credentials.

Step 1: Completely sign-out then sign back in

Some problems with saving/editing files in Microsoft Office can be resolved simply by signing out and back in of Office. This gives the apps a chance to confirm your campus license. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Word (or another Office app such has PowerPoint, Excel).
  2. Click Word from the menu bar at the top, and select Sign Out.

Click Word from the Apple menu bar, and select Sign Out

  1. Click Sign out again when you receive the "Are you sure..." prompt.
  2. To sign back in, click File > New from Template > Sign in.

To sign back in, click File > New from Template > Sign in

  1. When the Microsoft Sign in screen appears, enter your Buffalo State username followed by and click Next.
  2. You will be redirected to the Buffalo State sign-in page. Enter your network password and click Sign In. If you are prompted to Stay signed in? click No.

Enter password

If you've only tried one of the M365 apps and are getting the "cannot save changes" error, try signing back in using a different Office app. Once your license is recognized in one of the M365 apps, it will carry over to all the others.

For example, if signing retrying your sign-in in Word doesn't resolve the issue, sign out of Word and then try signing back in through something like Excel or PowerPoint and then go back to Word and see if that resolved the original issue.


Step 2: Set a local save location (instead of the cloud)

By default, Office apps like Word assume you want to save your files to an online location such as OneDrive, Dropbox or iCloud. If you don't use any of these cloud storage apps, you can choose to save your work directly on your computer by doing the following, which can also bypass issues where you're unable to save:

  1. Open Microsoft Word (or another Office app such has PowerPoint, Excel).
  2. When you are ready to save the file, click the Save button on the menu bar at the top, or choose File > Save.
  3. When the save dialog box appears, click the On My Mac button if there is one. If you see an Online Locations button instead, Word is already set to look for local locations (on your computer).  

Click the On My Mac button if there is one

  1. Click Where to select a local storage location (e.g. Desktop, Documents) and click Save.

Select where you want to save your file



Article ID: 92027
Wed 11/13/19 9:26 AM
Thu 11/16/23 9:01 AM