Completely remove Microsoft Office 2010 from my Mac?
I installed a demo of Microsoft Office 2010 before I realized that the Apple iWorks suite gives me everything I need, between Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Now I want to remove Microsoft Office from my Mac OS X system, but there's no "uninstaller". Um, how do I completely, cleanly remove Office?
Welcome to the sticky world of big software installation on your computer. Whether you're on a Mac or PC, complicated applications can be so deeply embedded in your computer and operating system that it can be well-nigh impossible to fully and completely remove it. You want to really see the bleeding edge of this, go do a search for "remove norton antivirus" and read about the years of frustration people have had with that particular Byzantine removal process.
On the Mac, at least, it's not quite as bad, muchly because Apple doesn't have the cursed registry file that is the bane of all Windows and PC administrators. Still, an application like Microsoft Office does install a lot of stuff in a staggering number of different locations on your computer.
I figured out how to remove it thanks to a somewhat confusing Microsoft Tech Note ingeniously titled How to Completely Remove Office for Mac. Fortunately, you don't have to unravel their confusing instructions, I can show you how to do it instead.
It is a big job, however. Ready?
The first step is the most obvious and probably the single biggest step towards reclaiming the disk space that the app suite has consumed: removing the Microsoft Office 2011 folder from your Applications folder:
Okay. You can theoretically stop here if you want and don't care about configuration and preference files, license data files, etc.
Don't want that, want to go through to the bitter end, removing every possible trace of the applications? OOooookkkaaayyyyy....
For the rest of the process, you're going to be delving into directories that are usually hidden from you, so you won't be able to browse to them using the Finder and your usual approach to navigating Mac OS X. Instead, you'll become friends with "Go to Folder..." off the "Go" menu in the Finder:
Note the keyboard shortcut too, it'll come in handy: Shift-Cmd-G. Try it. Easy, eh?
And here we go!
First stop is ~/Library/Preferences:
In this and other cases, the tilde symbol ("~") is a keyboard shortcut for your home directory. I could have also typed in "/Users/taylor/Library/Preferences" but, well, that's more work, so the shortcut is a good thing.
Once you're in your Library/Preferences folder, you want to sort by name (click on "Name" on the top) then find all the preference files that start with "com.microsoft", select them all as I've done (easy way to do that: click on the first one, then Shift-click on the last) and delete them all (again, easy way is to Option-click on any of the selected entries and choose "Move to Trash").
That basic two-step of moving to a directory, finding and deleting the Microsoft related files is going to come up again and again, so let's keep moving along...
Next stop is the first true system folder rather than one that's in your home directory:
Notice in this case we're going to /Library/LaunchDaemons without any "~" symbol involved. This folder contains the little helper apps that start up when you boot your Mac and we need to axe the license helper that ensures you don't violate the MS license terms:
Deleted? Good. You'll probably need to enter your admin password at this point, by the way, since Apple tries to ensure you don't accidentally remove system files and mess up your operating system.
Next we need to jump to /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools:
Here we'll remove the actual license helper app (the other was its .plist file):
More preferences to remove too, system-wide preferences rather than for your user account. Go to /Library/Preferences:
Remove the "com.microsoft.office.licensing" files...
Go to /Library/Application Support...
And here you'll want to remove the entire "Microsoft" folder:
I should note that this will remove everything from Microsoft from your computer. What I did was remove everything, then reinstall Silverlight, the only other app I have from Microsoft. I'll give you the link when we're done, but if you have more Microsoft utilities or tools on your Mac you might need to step through the Application Support/Microsoft folder to ensure it's only Office related files and apps...
Most people don't realize it, but Mac OS X has an app package management and history capability built-in to the system. That's where we'll go next: /Library/Receipts:
That'll probably be empty, especially if you're running 10.7 Lion, but check anyway for "com.microsoft.office" files.
If you're on a newer OS, you'll also need to check a second folder for these receipts, /private/var/db/receipts:
Here's what I found when I got to that even more obscure directory:
All of those can be safely removed. Delete 'em and we're down to our last folder and deletion!
Last stop is back to one of your own directories, ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft. Again, notice the "~" has reappeared.
And there it is, the last folder of stuff we need to axe:
Final steps. First, empty the trash:
Now, if you have Microsoft Office 2010 apps on your Dock, simply drag and drop them onto the Finder's background window to remove them.
Quite the task, eh?
More Useful Mac OS X Help Articles:
✔ Audacity can't find LAME library, I can't save Mp3?
Hey Dave. I read your article Audacity can't save mp3 audio files and am still puzzled because I downloaded the LAME Mp3 converter...✔ How to remove Dashboard as a "space" in Mac OS X Spaces?
I'm a big fan of the Spaces utility in Mac OS X that lets me have multiple virtual screens [see Set Up Mac...✔ Best place to buy a cheap MacBook laptop?
Hi Dave. I am looking for two gently used MacBook laptops for my teen daughters. Personal computers would greatly facilitate their studies as...✔ File too big error copying to USB flash drive on my Mac?
I'm baffled. I have a 16GB Kingston USB flash drive that I use on my Mac system and I'm trying to copy a...✔ Stealth image capture photo from webcam on my Mac?
Someone sneaks into my cubicle while I'm at lunch and takes candy out of my desk. Petty, but stupid too. I want to...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+