If your device isn’t one of the few with Microsoft Office pre-installed, you’ll most likely receive a product key when you purchase the software.
That important information is required when installing it on your computer and means you can reinstall it at any time if something goes wrong. Some versions of Microsoft Office can even be installed on multiple devices.
But what if the worst happens and you lose your product key? Does that mean you can’t reinstall office again?
Fortunately, all is not lost. Here’s how to retrieve your Office product key via Windows.
How do I find my Office product key?
For recent versions (back to 2013) you can find the key in your Microsoft account. More details are available in our separate guide: how to download older versions of Microsoft Office.
If you are a connoisseur, you can think of finding the product key by searching through the Windows Registry. But this is not possible because the code is encrypted. Fortunately, there are many apps that will help you.
Our favorite of these is ProduKey, a free app that will drill down into the Registry to find and decrypt your Office product key, for versions older than Office 2013.
Once downloaded, run it and it will immediately show the product keys of any Microsoft Office software up to (but not including) 2013, as well as the keys of operating systems like Windows Vista , 7 and 8. You can then copy the keys for future use or export them to an HTML file and save it for future reference.
If that doesn’t work, try Belarc Advisor, or if you’re willing to pay for software, Recover Keys can do a deeper scan than any free app (including Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder).
While you may be interested in just finding your Office product key, Recovery Key is more helpful
9000 applications, can remotely scan Windows and Mac computers, recover license keys from external storage, scan multiple Windows installations, and can even run from USB drives. And at £24.95 / $29.95, it’s cheaper than buying another copy of Office.
How to find Office 2013, 2016 or 2019 product key?
If Office came pre-installed when you bought your PC or laptop, you might find a sticker on the machine with the code. But we assume that you have looked at all those obvious places before turning to the site and finding this article.
Whether Office comes pre-installed or not, here’s the bad news: Microsoft has changed the way it stores product keys, so starting with Microsoft Office 2013, only the last five digits among the 25-character codes stored in the Registry for Office 2013, 2016 and 2019.
This means – as with all Windows 10 product keys – any code that the key finder shows you will not work. If the first 20 digits are displayed for an Office product, they are generic.
However, the useful part is that the last five digits should be the exact digits for your license, which means you can search your email and your computer’s hard drive to see if you can find any emails. or which matching file contains the full product key.
If that fails, your remaining options are to do a full factory reset on your computer (but only if there’s a recovery partition that includes all of the original software that came with it) or buy a copy New Office.
However, if you don’t know, there are some great free office suites that work like Microsoft’s versions and can save in the same formats, which means that the files you create with them can opened and edited by others using Microsoft Office. See our recommendations for the best Office alternatives here.
If you need to, here’s how to get the product key for Windows itself.
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