I have several legal license keys for Office:mac 2008. I want to do a quick audit of the two machines I've installed office on and verify which license keys are being used where. But I don't see the license key anywhere on the about dialog (or elsewhere).

I've seen other postings on the 'net directing me to look at various .plist files, but those only give me the "Product ID" which is different from the license key (which MS calls the "Product Key" on the little sticker).

Is there a way outside of calling MS to correlate the Product Key (which is required for installation and is the real license key) to the Product ID I see in the app itself?

1 Answer 1


It looks like the serial number is in the SetupInfo.plist file, but it's obfuscated in some way.

EDIT: The following comes from here:

Is there an easy way to do trial and error and change the key if it was already used?

If you look in the Application menu for the About item and display that, it will display the Product ID to you.

If you find two machines on which all but the last five digits match, the same key was used on those two machines.

It won't tell you "which" key was used, just that the "same" key was used.

Only trial and error will let you sort out which key belongs to which computer. You can change the licenses without removing and reinstalling however.

Easiest method: Launch the Remove Office tool and hold down Option at the first dialog, and the "remove office" option will change to "remove licensing information".

/Application/Microsoft Office 2008/Additional Tools/Remove Office

If you have the 3 systems connected, start one of the Office apps on the oldest of the bunch (IIRC the product keys are in a list so you probably used the top one on that system.). Then launch the same app on one of the other two. If there is a conflict modify the second one's product key. If not the 3rd one must be the odd man out - although you may still have to get 2 & 3 to bump heads in order to be certain.

  • Also, there was this bit of fluff: griffmiester.com/2008/04/17/…
    – user3463
    Jul 17, 2010 at 21:31
  • Thanks for that info. I have one further wrinkle: one of the licenses is for the "full" office (professional?) while the others are all student editions. I really can't re-enter keys on the system where I'm 99% sure that the pro version is installed, without risk of a conflict (right?). But I think my problem is mostly solved by this answer. Jul 18, 2010 at 1:09
  • Glad it could help. I did try as best as I could to find more info because it's an interesting question. If you do solve your wrinkle, please post it here as well.
    – user3463
    Jul 18, 2010 at 4:16

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