Microsoft is stepping up efforts to encourage customers to check the legality of their Office software in a bid to cut the level of pirated versions in circulation.
As part of its Office Genuine Advantage programme users will have the option to download voluntary updates that inform them if they risk using counterfeit software.
If a customer is found to have been using illegal software then they can submit a report to the vendor which could result in a free copy of Office being given in return.
"People who are using non-genuine Microsoft Office are putting themselves at risk," said Peter King, Office server group manager at Microsoft.
He added that the risk was not just legal but also counterfeit copies tended to have viruses, spyware and other problems that could be a security problem.
In the past Microsoft has found that users have reacted badly to enforced notices that warned of declining functionality and eventually ended with a black screen, hence the emphasis on the voluntary nature of the programme.
Microsoft has continued to keep the pressure up on those channel players that dabble in counterfeit and the usual way it works with a customer discovering that they have been duped into buying a fake version is that the vendor will track it further down the chain.
"My business depends on providing customers with the secure and reliable software they expect - that's why we only sell genuine Office," said Zak Virdi, managing director at SoftwareOne UK.