How to Find Your Microsoft Office Product Key
Are you having trouble reinstalling your Microsoft Office? In all likelihood, you’ve forgotten your product activation key. It’s difficult to find, so you might be panicking trying to remember the lost activation code. There are four types of Microsoft Office software: Retail, Subscription, Volume, and OEM. Each one has specific methods for installation and reinstallation, as well as how the product key gets stored and used.
Unfortunately, Microsoft made changes beginning with Office 2013, where only the last five digits of the product key get stored on your PC.
Any app that claims to provide your Office keys is no longer valid. Of course, they may have a hidden or fine-print statement somewhere stating that Office 13 and up only provide the last five digits.
The bottom line is there is no way to obtain the full Product Key using commands or third-party software unless you use Office 2010 or earlier. Your only option is to keep track of your device installs and the corresponding Office versions. Save any receipts or license emails. That way, you can match the correct version using your list later once you obtain the last five characters of the current product key on the PC.
The only chance you have to get all twenty-five characters of your Office product key is if you have one of the following:
- You received an Office volume key from an administrator in your organization.
- You bought a PC that included Office (usually for one year only, though), and it has a sticker with the product key.
- You purchased a physical, retail version of Office with the product key in the packaging.
- You received an email from a third-party seller/distributor that contains your purchase and new product key.
- You have Office 2010 or earlier.
Once you register the product key in your Microsoft account, your PC will only contain the last five characters of the key for Office 2013 and later. However, you won’t need it anymore because Microsoft attached the install key to your account. All you have to do is log in and choose to download Office—no key is required. Your product key becomes your Microsoft account instead.
There is only a small handful of exceptions that won’t save Office Product Keys as registered software in your Microsft account:
- You have an MSDN (Microsoft Software Developer Network) product key.
- You have a MAK (multiple activation key)/KMS (key management services) key.
- You have certain versions of Office 2013, 2016, and 2019 that have virtual keys.
You CAN have more than one Office version in your Microsft account, as well as more of the same version. If you have two or more of the same, it reports the number of copies to choose from.
Whenever you need to reinstall Office on the same PC or switch it to a different one, you can download the correct or desired Office version from your account and install it without needing a product key. If using a different PC, it will deactivate the previous one, and you may need to use phone activation unless you have a 365 subscription that automatically handles it. For licenses allowing more than one PC, it should automatically activate once opened and attaches it to the same Microsft account it is stored in.
Yes, you can still use product keys to install Office 2013, 2016, 2019, 2021, and 365 if you have one. After that, the key becomes your Microsoft account.
How to Find Your Microsoft Office 2013/2016/2019/2021 Product Key on a Windows PC
Since you cannot obtain the entire product key from your device, or in most cases, from your Microsoft account, you have to do a little scavenger hunt. You CAN get the last five characters of your product key from your PC, search for the original purchase email, obtain the product packaging, or contact your administrator to receive the key again.
When obtaining the last five characters, and, depending on which version of Windows you’re using, the steps for accessing the partial key are a bit different.
How to Find the Office Product Key on Windows 7 and Earlier Versions
With Windows 7 or an earlier version of the operating system, you don’t need additional software to find the product key.
Purchasing Windows from the Microsoft Store
If you’ve bought the Windows license through the Microsoft Store, the product key copy is saved in your Microsoft Account. This means that Microsoft has sent you the key in a confirmation email. Search through your inbox to find it. If you don’t see it, go through the junk folder.
Here’s what to do if the email is nowhere in sight:
- Log into the Microsoft Store and go into Downloads.
- Select Product Keys and open the Subscriptions page.
- Tap the Digital Content tab to view all your purchases and product keys.
You should see the product key among the items on the list.
Purchasing Windows from a Retailer
A licensed retail store can also sell Windows products. They come in a box with a small business card containing the product key. If you’ve saved the card, flip it over to see the key.
Also, you might have taken a picture of the key as an online backup. If you suspect you saved an image, go through your gallery until you find the picture that matches the last five characters.
Alternatively, when you purchased a PC, the product key can be found on the computer’s chassis sticker or in printed materials. Although the sticker can rub off over time, you can check your device to see if the key is still visible.
How to Find the Product Key on Windows 10 and Windows 11
With software like Windows 10 and 11, you can use command prompts or third-party software to recover the last five characters of your product key. Once you have that, you can search your email accounts for a match and get the entire product key, or you can find the original packaging that includes those last five characters, or contact your administrator in networked situations.
How to Find Product Key Using Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt
If you’re looking for the Microsoft Office product key on Windows 10 or 11, you can use Windows PowerShell or Command Prompt as long the Office version is/was purchased through the Workplace Discount Program (formerly Home Use Program). Once again, you’ll only get the last five characters since that is all that Windows stores in your PC.
Here’s how to find the last five characters of the Office product key using PowerShell on Windows 10/11:
- Simultaneously press down on the Windows + X keys.
- Select Windows PowerShell (Admin) or Command Prompt (Admin).
- When the window pops up, type in:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
- You can also use:
(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey
Your product key will appear in the window when the command is executed. If not, you have an Office retail version rather than a digitally purchased one.
Here’s how to find the product key using the command prompt on Windows 10/11:
- Simultaneously press the Windows + S keys to open Windows search.
- Type “
cmd” and select Run as administrator from the search results.
- Enter the following in the pop-up command window:
wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
Your key will appear onscreen. You can take a picture of it or store it online for safekeeping.
How to Find Your Microsoft Product Key in the Windows Registry File
If you don’t want to use a third-party app to recover the product key, there’s an alternate way to do it. It’s possible to access the key in the Windows Registry File, but you’ll need the correct command.
To pull up the key from the Registry File:
- Go to the Search menu and type “regedit” and select it.
- Now, find and open the following key:
- The window will generate a list of files. Go to the BackupProductKeyDefault key.
The product key is recorded next to the BackupProductKeyDefault key in the Data column
How to Find Your Product Key with Microsoft Support
When you’re in a hurry or feel like you need a bit of extra guidance, you can try contacting the Microsoft Support team. Here’s how to ask for assistance:
- Simultaneously press the Windows + I keys to enter Settings and type “Activation settings” in the search bar.
- Tap Get help on the right part of the desktop.
- Choose your reason and select Contact Support.
- Tap your product type and click Confirm.
- Choose Provide your phone number and a support agent will call you.
After you enter your personal information, the support team will reach out to you.
How to Find Your Microsoft Office Product Key on a Mac
There are also different ways to unlock Microsoft Office on your MacBook.
First, try using the one-time PIN. To do so:
- Locate the packaging or card that came with your Microsoft Office.
- When you find the PIN, visit this Microsoft website and type it in.
This method will recover your key only if you’ve never used the PIN.
The product key could be saved on your account page if you’ve used it before. To locate it on your page:
- Sign in to your Microsoft account.
- Tap View product key and then locate it on screen.
When you download Office from an online store, you should receive the product key in your inbox. When searching your email for the receipt, make sure to go through the junk folder too.
If you’ve bought a DVD copy of Office, check the inside of the DVD case. You should see the product key on a yellow sticker.
How to Find Your Microsoft Office Product Key in the Home Use Program
Your Mac could be using the Home Use Program version of Office. In that case, you’ll have to get a product code instead of a product key.
Here’s how to find the code:
- Enter the Home Use Program.
- Type your country or region and work email address.
- Select Don’t Know Your Program Code?
- Tap Verify Email.
These steps will allow you to retrieve your product code.
How to Find Your Microsoft Office Product Key using Third-Party Software
Using additional software can sometimes be complicated. But tools like ProduKey make finding your key a relatively straightforward process.
Find Your Product Key with ProduKey
If you’re not tech-savvy, handling software and hardware can be daunting. Luckily, many excellent third-party apps will do the hard work for you. A good option for retrieving your Microsoft product key is NiriSoft’s ProduKey. It’s malware-free, so you don’t have to worry about the app stealing your data and information.
Some antivirus protection might still flag it and issue a warning because it comes from a third-party manufacturer.
Here’s how to use ProduKey:
- Download ProduKey.
- Unzip the folder.
- Run the app.
The app will then generate your product key in a separate window.
You can also use this app to extract the key from a dead PC that refuses to boot at all:
- Connect the hard drive to a functioning computer.
- Launch ProduKey and select File.
- Tap Select Source, then click Load the product keys from external Windows directory.
This process will retrieve the key stored on the dead PC.
Microsoft Office Product Key Located
For many, much of our personal and professional lives revolve around accessing our Microsoft products at any time. When you upgrade your software or have to reinstall it, getting locked out of your Office Suite can be frustrating, especially if you’ve forgotten the product key.
The good news is that you have all the tools necessary to bypass this problem. Whether you’re a PC or Mac user, this article has hopefully helped you learn how to find your product key anytime and anywhere.
When was the last time you had to search for your Microsoft Office key? How did you restore it? Tell us in the comment section.