Microsoft Office family of client and server software and services is in use for over 2 decades and has reached a billion users in July 2012. What’s more, its current flagship product, Office 365, is used by over a million companies worldwide. The software has a superb reputation for compatibility and “just working” on Microsoft operating systems, from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and soon, Windows 11. Sadly, losing the product key, regardless of the reason, brings its functionality to a halt. So, to get things back on track, you must know how to recover the Microsoft Office product key. Let’s get into it.
1. Look for the Microsoft Office product key offline
First, let us ask you this, “how did you acquire the key?” These 3 are common answers:
- I bought Office as a box with a CD/DVD inside. This is common for versions older than Office 2013.
- I purchased a product key card. This is typical for newer Microsoft Office versions, 2013 and later.
- Microsoft Office subscription was bundled with the purchase of a computer.
Where do I look?
In the first two cases, Microsoft prints the product key below the COA (Certificate of Authenticity) sticker on the box or the card, but above the bar code. If you’ve never looked for it, the product key is underneath the silver foil coating you must scratch off. It will be in this format: “XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX”. In the third case, you won’t receive a product key. Instead, it will be hidden in the Windows Registry (methods 3 and 4) and might be bound to your motherboard. That way, Office will be automatically activated if you reset your PC or install a newer version of Windows.
2. Find the Office product key online
This family of software is predominantly sold digitally after Office 2016. This means you can find your Office product key in one of these ways:
Whether you purchased the product key from Microsoft or a third party, chances are, it was sent to your e-mail address. Or, for security reasons, a portion of it was. This is often sufficient for method 5 since method 4 also shows part of the code. Simply search for “Microsoft” or the retailer/reseller’s name in your e-mail client or provider.
The first thing to remember is to sign in to your Microsoft account within any Microsoft Office family software or Windows itself. If your product key is bound to your Microsoft account, it will activate the software automatically, especially Office 2016, Office 2019, and Microsoft 365. In the case that doesn’t happen, and you’re using Office Home & Student or Microsoft 365, skip to the method below. On the other hand, if you have an Office Home & Business and Office Professional subscription or for any Office software individually, do this:
- Head on over to the Services & subscriptions page inside Microsoft account.
- If asked, log in with the same Microsoft account you bought the software with.
- Click on the View product key button.
Note. The product key will follow the same format as the one on a product key card or a box, but won’t be identical. This is intentional.
Purchased Office Home & Business, Office Home & Student, Office Professional, or an Office app individually? Follow these steps to restore the Microsoft Office product key:
- Visit the Microsoft Store page.
- Note. For a key purchased through an employer, visit the Microsoft HUP’s Order History page instead.
- Click on Sign in the top right corner and sign in with the user ID and password you purchased Office with.
- If there are multiple users, click on your name in the upper right corner. Go to Order History.
- Click on Install Office.
- Don’t fret – this won’t install the Office. The note from the method above applies here too.
3. Recover Microsoft Office product key using third-party software
Many third-party tools we mentioned in method 7 of our “recover Windows 10 product key” guide also work for Microsoft Office, but mainly for older versions. We have no affiliation, but ProduKey seems to have the best compatibility – it supports Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2010, and Office 2013. It’s also extremely easy to use. When you extract the ZIP archive and open the produkey.exe file, you’ll see it in the “Product Key” table column.
4. Recover Microsoft Office product key via Command Prompt
Using Office 2016, Office 2019, or the tools above don’t uncover the product key? It’s time for a direct approach. We’ll demonstrate the procedure for one version and typical operating system types, then provide guidelines for other Office versions. Follow these instructions to recover the Microsoft Office product key using Command Prompt:
- Launch Start.
- Search for “comm” and click on Run as administrator under “Command Prompt”.
- Paste one of the following codes to get a product key for Microsoft Office 2010:
- Office 32-bit/64-bit, Windows 32-bit/64-bit: cscript “<drive letter>:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
- Office 32-bit, Windows 64-bit: cscript “<drive letter>:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus
- Replace <drive letter> with the actual letter of your primary drive, such as C.
- Press Enter and you’ll get the last 5 digits of the product key.
- Note. This is for security purposes so that malware or third-party programs don’t steal it. Simultaneously, it allows users to prove ownership to the Microsoft Customer Support representative using the method below.
- For other versions of Microsoft Office, replace “Office14” with:
- Microsoft Office 2003: Office11
- Microsoft Office 2007: Office12
- Microsoft Office 2013: Office15
- Microsoft Office 2016: Office16 (If it doesn’t work, add root in front, like ~\root\Office16)
- Microsoft Office 2019: Office19 (same as Office 2016)
5. Contact Microsoft Support
Whether you failed to find the product key or only discover the last 5 digits, you can reach out to Microsoft Customer Support. We demonstrated the process in method 8 of the Windows 10 product key article we mentioned in method 3. Obviously, instead of “windows 10 product key” in step 2, type “office product key”.