How To Find Microsoft Office Product Keys

Locate Your Lost Microsoft Product Key with a Key Finder Program

Most software programs require a product key as part of the installation process, including all recent versions of Microsoft Office. If you've lost your Microsoft Office product key, you'll need to find it before you can reinstall the software suite.

Microsoft Office product keys are encrypted inside the Windows Registry, so searching for them manually is nearly impossible. You'll find a string of numbers once you locate the correct registry key but what you'll find is encrypted text, not a working Office product key you can enter.

Luckily, several programs, called key finders, do the finding and decrypting for you, giving you your valid, paid-for Office product key - that missing puzzle piece so you can successfully reinstall the program.

Tip: If you don't find your key with using one of the methods outlined below, the only legal option you have left is to buy a brand new copy of MS Office. As often as you may come across free product keys for Office, or key generator programs, neither are good ways to go about this.

Screenshot of a document in Microsoft Word 2013
Microsoft Office 2013 (Word).

The Microsoft Office 2013 product key situation is unique compared to older versions of Office (below).

Unfortunately for us, only the last 5 characters of the 25-character Office 2013 product key is stored on your computer, making a product key finder pretty much useless in this case.

I know, right away I'm going back on some of the stuff I said above! For whatever reason, Microsoft completely changed how they handled product keys with Office 2013.

This doesn't change the fact that you still need that product key to reinstall Office 2013.

See How to Find Your Microsoft Office 2013 Product Key for help on what to do.

It's not all bad news that key finder programs are no longer helpful with Office 2013. In fact, the new way that Microsoft is handling Office keys might not be such a bad thing after all. More »

Screenshot of a document in Microsoft Word 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 (Word).

Like all versions of Office, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2007 both require a unique product key during the installation process.

If you're sure that you no longer have the physical product key for your version of Microsoft Office, or you've lost or deleted the email receipt that included the product key in it, you might, as I mentioned in the introduction above, be able to extract the key from the registry using a key finder tool.

See How to Find Your Microsoft Office 2010 or 2007 Product Key for a detailed tutorial.

LicenseCrawler, the key finder program I recommend for Office 2010 & 2007 product keys in that tutorial, will find your product key in just seconds. More »

Screenshot of a document in Microsoft Word 2002
Microsoft Office XP (Word 2002).

Older versions of Microsoft Office, like Office 2003 (2003), Office XP (2001), Office 2000 (1999), and Office 97 (1996) all also require product keys during installation.

Considering how old some of these versions of Microsoft Office are, I'd be surprised if anyone still has the product key around.

See How to Find Your Office 2003, XP, 2000, or 97 Product Key for details on the best way to find those installation codes.

Note: The Office 2010/2007 tutorial above could be used for any of these versions of Office as well, but I've found that Keyfinder Thing, the key finder tool I recommend in this tutorial, does a better job with these older suites. More »