Change Product Key Of Mac Office 2008

Chances are, you may want to change the product key of your Mac Office 2008 upon finishing an update from their site because the product key used to install your Office 2008 installation used an invalid product key.

If after the update it does detect that an invalid product key was used, the office assistant will keep on popping up while the application that you chose to open will never be seen. To reset the product key, delete the following files and send to trash.

  • /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008/Microsoft Office 2008 settings.plist
  • /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Office/OfficePID.plist

[username] would be the username of your laptop. Run any Mac Office 2008 application and the office assistant will now have a textfield of the product key for you to input.

Mac OSX Lion users: here is a tip from commenter Tyson.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. This is amazing! It worked… this has been getting on my nerves for months. Whenever my dad uses office I wouldn’t be able to use it because we have the same product key. Thanks!

  2. I had a similar problem installing Office Mac 2008 for the first time. During the installation I was not asked for a product key, and later it would not launch, but just stopped after running the customer experience and updates sections of the installation manager.

    The solution was:
    1: trash the OfficePID.list file from Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/OfficePID.list

    2. trash the folder “Office 2008” from [username]/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008

    After that, running any application brought up the product key entry window normally. The installation manager asked for customer experience entry and updates timing one final time. Then, after closing installation manager and re-opening the application it worked fine, as did the others.

    Thanks to microsoft tech support.

  3. Thank you…thank you…and thank you again.
    Of course the MS support site was useless and Mactopia forums and blog sites were not working. Sure they had the pages where you could buy more crap working….but if you were a customer that needed support…oh well. Typical Microsoft.
    Thank you so much for this. Worked perfectly.

  4. @barbara sorry got no other ideas. it worked for me so i did not check for any other alternative

    @JD: welcome 😉

    please do rate this post

  5. @Jodi: go menu is under finder. 🙂 if you still are having a hard time, use the short cut


    make sure the finder icon has the focus.

  6. I did all this and everything is all well and good—except now I don’t know what product key to use or where to find it. I downloaded the software online, and there were product keys in my confirmation email, but now I am not sure how to return to the email. What do I do?

  7. Adrian got it right above. Just deleting the OfficePID.list file didnt work. I had to delete the preferences folder as well.

    The solution was:
    1: trash the OfficePID.list file from Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/OfficePID.list
    2. trash the folder “Office 2008″ from [username]/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008

  8. Thanks for posting this, I followed the direction precisely and Office is now running. I don’t know what I would’ve done without this. Very helpful and simple! Thank you again!

  9. Hey gang, I found this tip and tried it . . . but when the assistant pops up for me to input a new product key, when I click it doesn’t do anything. At all.



  10. This will help in imaging… we can install 2008 on a machine to be cloned to many machines and then do this trick to enter a new code. Much better than having to install office a number of times. Cool!

  11. hey guys…i tried it…and i couldnt find the ”microsoft office 2008 settings.plist file… so i tried it just like that and when i type on the new code and press continue ..and it doesnt do anything…it doesnt move at all .. please help

  12. After an automatic update, my key was not recognized. Then I put the named files in the bin. After opening an office application I entered my key but after clicking continue it does not do anything!

    I am desperate! What else to do?

  13. Thank you SOOOO much. I have been trying for days to get this fixed. Your suggestion fixed it and I’m very thankful!


  14. i have done wat it says in here… after that i go and open it again and a box saying activate purchase comes up! asking me for a product key…any key i put in ut doesn’t recognize it. =[

  15. The whole thing with getting it to work with this link that’s supposed to provide you with working keys is just crap! Do what I did: uninstall Microsoft Office 2008 for mac, reinstall it and NEVER do an update again. Works fine for me since then!

  16. Same problem as gins. Removed those two files just fine. The box comes up to activate what I opened, Word, and when I put the key in, it says in red text you’ve entered an invalid product key please try again. It also says my 30-day trial version has expired. But I searched for the trial version just in case and it’s called Test, which isn’t on my computer anymore.

    I tried the manual activation with the product key and it says call cust service for the activation code. That pages takes you to another page that you have to fill out and THEN it says they’ll get back to you in 2 biz days. Does anyone know any other way to contact customer service to get a real person in order to get the lousy activation code? First mac, I’ve never been so frustrated. Ever.

  17. Gins, I hope you’re reading! I just spoke with a microsoft tech rep, 800-936-5700, and she was the best. Did you have the 30-day trial version first by any chance? I did, and that was the problem. Yes, I searched for it with the Remove Office tool, but it doesn’t always find it apparently, and some components remain, interfering with the components of the full version. If you have a blue folder called Microsoft under Go, Home, Library, Preferences, it needs to be put in the trash. (It has confused registration components in it). Empty trash. Restart. If a Microsoft Office 2008 folder is still in the trash, empty the trash. Next, trash the W, X, P, E, messenger, and doc collection icons on the bottom. Empty the trash. Reinstall MS Office from the disc. Check for updates and first install 12.2.3, then it’ll auto check for updates again. Install 12.2.4. It should be good to go. -Tammy

  18. Hi i have downloaded the Microsoft office 2008, and and i have mac. and after download the installation page did not come??? any thre to help me please.. am not good with computers Thanks

  19. hi nas, your problem is very vague. there are many possible causes with what you just mentioned.

    unless you can specify something more in detail, people here may be able to help you.

  20. i deleted those files but it still pops up and asks for the product key.. then when i typed the product key it says it is invalid..

  21. i got the product key from microsoft… it was sent to my email… after i use it, the office worked but when my mac collapsed and restarted, suddenly that irritating product key verification pops again… then i retyped the given product key to me and it says it is invalid..

  22. Ok, I still can’t get this to work.

    I deleted the plist, but apparently don’t have the other file that I need to delete. Is there anything else I can do to reset the key? I have a new product key to use, and when I enter it in with just the plist deleted nothing happens, although I don’t get an error message, which is promising.

    Anywho, this is really helpful, I just need to know if there’s anything to do when I don’t have that other file to delete.

  23. I have the same problem a lot of other people have been mentioning; that after I delete the files and start up the setup assistant, nothing happens when I paste the key and click continue. It’s pretty frustrating.
    Any ideas? Help would really be much appreciated. Thanks guys.

  24. I have the same problem a lot of other people have been mentioning; that when I delete the files and start up the setup assistant, absolutely nothing happens after I paste the key and click continue. It’s pretty frustrating.

    Any ideas? Help would really be much appreciated. Thanks guys.

  25. I deleted the two files recommended for fixing the invalid product key for office 2008 for the mac, and restarted my iMac. When I returned, I discovered that my computer had taken a trip back to April 2010. I went into Time Machine and “yesterday’s” files are dated April. I went back a month and those files are even older (December). My desktop looks like it did 3 months ago and all my files from April to July have vanished.

    Help, has anyone else experienced this? Any suggestions on how to fix it?

  26. please help me re-install a valid product key for my Mac PC, it isn’t allowing me to open up any programs on my mac..i have class coming up, can anyone out there help me?

    respectfully yours,

    Ty Ross

  27. Hi I have send you a donation for a cup of coffee via paypal as i’m interest in finding the hidden files and Product keys .I have MacBook 13.3 2007 model black

  28. Sorry, didn’t work like a charm. On snow leopard there is no microsoft subdirectory under library. Still at square one here.

  29. This worked perfectly and easily first time – thank you, helped me loads!
    – I use OSX

    – Needs products from China? We run a product sourcing and trading business based from within China.

  30. I had the 2004 Office and upgraded to the 2008 via the web and not from Microsoft. How do I find the files you mentioned above. I am now in a quandary because I can not run any Microsoft products.


  31. this saved my life…I accidentally downloaded the same office I had on another mac from the home and student addition…now I can use office! thanks

  32. Hi, I can’t find the file
    /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008/Microsoft Office 2008 settings.plist
    no matter how I look for it (by name, from the folder etc etc)
    and thus I am not able to make the change you suggested. It might be because I messed up with documents a bit in the past.
    Any suggestions? Other ways to do it?
    Thanks a lot

  33. I having the same problem. I did all the above just as it is written. Microsoft office setup Assistance comes up but there is no option to enter the product key, only feedback and get started.

  34. Hi Tech, I read your tricks and deleted the 2 files. Yet, when the assistant came up, it asks me if I want to provide user opinion, then sent me to the registration site of Microsoft 2011, never for 2008. It never asks me for any key product !

  35. Brilliant! Saved sooo much time. I have 3 licensed copies, only used 2 but when I wanted to install the 3rd I didn’t know which product key to use. My first attempt led to a conflict with the other user but by following the instructions I was able to change just the key and now have 3 happy users!
    Thank You.

  36. there must have been an update to hide the library file in OS Lion. To find the “Library” folder, close all windows, click on “go” at the top of the desktop screen. hold the “option” button. While holding the “option” button, the hidden Library file will be exposed. then follow these directions like already stated.

    1. @tyson: thanks for the tip. this is a very gold post during leopard’s time so your tips should be helpful for osx lion users. ill put your tip within the post itself

  37. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Yes it works for me too! But of course after hours and hundreds of megabytes of updates.

    Thank you again!

  38. Thanks for your added input, Tyson, and for the original posting. It took a little order of operation shifting, but it finally worked for my case. So grateful that threads like this exist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *