Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Office


I need some licensing feedback please. We have recently purchased Dynamics NAV and a new server for development testing before be turn it over to a hosting service at time of go-live. My question relates to Microsoft Office (primarily Excel). We have purchased 20 concurrent licenses for NAV. Our 20 user all have a local version of Microsoft Office on their PC. Do we also need to purchase an additional 20 CAL licenses of Excel for the server if we are planning to use the export or import to Excel for the server? I am very confused on why the server would need to have MS Excel licenses if we have already purchased them for the local machines. Any MS Licensing Experts out there that can help me out with this?

Hi Lori and welcome to forum,

I have never heard that CALs for Excel even exist - but I’m not a MS Licensing Expert, maybe I’m wrong.

If you have enough “normal” Excel licenses, your users may use it for whatever you want, including exporting, copy/pasting, or querying data into it. Even if MSO is not locally installed and your workstations run it from server installation - then Licensing manager checks concurrent MSO user count, that is all - while you don’t exceed licensed user COUNT, you can use it for whatever reason.

What you should know - Navision has a naughty habit to start a new instance of Excel, when you export something, never mind a copy is already running.
While everything goes OK, there’s nothing to worry about, but if something crashes and export process doesn’t complete normally, you are left with an Excel instance running with no visible interface, which you can kill only through TaskManager. In production run it doesn’t happen often, but at development/debugging time you may encounter that.

Hi Modris,

Thanks for you input. I purchased a retail version of MS Office Professional to load to the development server where NAV is installed. We are being instructed to purchase additional CALs to support all users that will be using NAV. We are being told that the local licenses that exists on our notebooks do not matter and that we each need to have a CAL on the server to utilize Excel. I am most confused by this since I believe MS would be double dipping by having each user double licenced on Excel.

I am really lost. Sorry.


Why do you need MSOffice on the SERVER?

Navision client is run on workstation, that same workstation has a licensed Excel (MSO) on it, and user runs two LICENSED programs, where is the problem?

Or you intend to run on the server a copy of Excel, querying data from Navision DB and performing some complicated analysis afterwards? Then a question about additional Navision (actually SQL CAL) user might arise, but CAL for Excel - are you sure you haven’t misunderstood something? Excel is NOT a server-type app, that runs on its own, and everybody willing to “access” needs a CAL.
CAL stands for CLIENT Access License, HOW Excel can have a “client”, not being a server - only “user”, and that license you have.

However, MS licensing policy and costs vary from country to country…


I do not plan for any manipulation or analysis to occur on the server via Excel. We do not want any documents stored on the server, they should only be stored locally. Our NAV service provider is indicating that we need Excel CALs on the server in order to use the download and upload functionality within Excel. This is where I am confused. I hate to purchase something that we don’t need. I gave them a single retail version in the event the needed to validate something on the development server but they are asking for additional CALs for Excel.

Here is some feedback that I received from our service provider:

You will need at least Excel installed on the terminal server because any function that you perform (like importing a budget file, or exporting a AR report in excel format) will require Excel installed. You can then save the file onto your local machine and work with it locally, but you wouldn’t even be able to create the files unless Excel is installed.

You can copy data though from the remote desktop and paste it into your own local excel, but that’s the only thing that works without Excel being installed on the remote desktop.

Does any of this make sense? Like I said, I did provide them a single retail version but I have been told that we need a CAL for every user.

Lori, THAT changes things substantially… You didn’t mention earlier, that you will be using TerminalServer and RAS…

In this case your Partner is right - working remotely thru TS, you need Excel installed on remote computer running TS, because in that case Navision hasn’t access to your local Excel. Navision is run in TS session on remote computer, all you have is “picture” of it onscreen and KB/Mouse with “very loooong wires” to TS box [:)].

Is your company’s users spread over large geographical area (diferent cities, warehouses / manufacturing plants distant from HQ / Accounting Dept)? Then you need TS. In one city (if the city is not as big as Beijing or Brasil) borders however a speedy WAN link might be enough…

OK, I think I am getting it now. The company is virtual (no inventory either). The NAV users all work out of home offices. When in production, the solution will be fully hosted. Can I assume that VPN would also not work in this type of situation to allow for local applications? As you can tell, I am not a network expert…

That is correct, Navision wont run over a VPN/WAN.

I am also not a licensing expert, but I believe that the Excel license allows a user to intall Excel twice. One on a fixed computer and one on a laptop, provided they are not using both versions of excel at a time. If this is the case you should be able to use the same “CAL” on both the terminal server instance AND the laptop. My guess would be the only issue is that you would need to install each Excel license individually on that users TS session, so you can’t install it for all users at once.