I want to use Migration Assistant to transfer my data from a Macbook Pro to a Macbook Air. I'm told that I need my product key for MS Office 2011.

Is there a way to find my product key on my mac?

4 Answers 4


This is an old thread, but I ran into this issue and the way to fix it is as follows:

You have to be able to access the hard drive you migrated from.
Make sure all Office programs are closed.

  1. On the new hard drive/computer you migrated to, delete the following file:

  2. Go to the HD you had a working copy on, and copy that same file from the same location to the new HD.

    It should have an older date from when you installed it and activated it.

  • I found that I didn't even have to pull from the old hard drive to do this. I grabbed that plist file from one of my other computers at home and it copied over and worked.
    – kd7iwp
    Sep 16, 2014 at 15:08
  • I got the hard drive replaced in my MacBook Pro. I cloned my old drive with SuperDuper when I resetored I had this problem. I have TimeMachine backups and I got an older version of this file, it didn't work. I'll try again. I have my clone and my old hard drive in storage, but I'm not happy there is no better way to retrieve my key. I could even boot off my clone and use Word, but those drives are in storage...
    – Muskie
    Nov 28, 2014 at 18:32
  • There is also a file called com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist.lockfile do I need to replace that or not?
    – Muskie
    Nov 28, 2014 at 18:35
  • 1
    After my migration, Office not only demanded my product key but then rejected it and told me to reinstall. Copying across this plist allowed it to accept my product key and start working.
    – James
    Dec 20, 2014 at 10:23
  • I had the HDD cable in my macos Mojave 2012 MBP go bad so I had the internal SSD drive connected via USB for a week until the new cable showed up. That change was enough for Office 2011 to revert back to prompting for licensing. Once I had the SSD back in the MBP, I was still getting prompted. I used Time Machine to pull the .plist file referenced above and copied it into place with chown root.wheel and then when I started Excel, it opened without prompting. Thanks @John.
    – Lemon Cat
    Nov 10, 2021 at 17:35

Depending on where you bought Office 2011, you can retrieve the product key from Microsoft using the instructions on their website.

If this doesn't work for you (ie. you probably don't own a legitimate copy of the program) I'm afraid you're out of luck, I believe the licensing information may be stored in the com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist file which is located in ~/library/preferences but it's encrypted so... good luck with that.

  • 4
    The com.microsoft.office.licensing.plist file is at /Library/Preferences, not ~/library/preferences
    – SeanPONeil
    Aug 1, 2013 at 17:50

G/L trying to get a replacement from MS based on the Product ID. I just tried & they want to charge $40 for a replacement key (the product is still only good for 1 license)


In case anyone needs to do this in Office v15, the file has changed to /Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.office.licensingV2.plist

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