Unofficial Microsoft Office Keys

I have seen i few deals pop up on this site advertising Microsoft office one time purchases for pennies compared to offical licenses. Reading the comments I have understood that most of these deals are for key which were supposed to be sold with hardware.

I understand buying these key has a risk of being scammed by the seller and of a future ban by Microsoft but what other downside is there to using these. I think i remember a few years ago looking into these cheap keys and someone in the comments was saying that they can be organisation keys which gives the seller access to all your documents. Is this the case for keys activated through the offical Microsoft store and bound to your Microsoft account?

e.g I am looking at this deal . Where the seller states activation is done through

Any other risks involved with these keys which I am not seeing?

If you wouldn't recommend this method, what is the best method to acquire office or is it best to just buy at retail price?


  • I'd say grab a Microsoft 365 subscription when it is on sale or under the home use program from your employer if they offer it. You can stack subscriptions up to 5 years. You always get the latest features and comes with 1TB storage included on OneDrive. Plus it's all legit.

    • The problem is this software is for my parents who only use office a handful of times per year so most of the benefits of Microsoft 365 are wasted and the price is very high for what they receive. It would also be a plus if the latest features were not included since that would just confuse them.

      • +5

        Perhaps a free office suite? Libre / Open Office may be a good solution?

        • -1

          These options will be way to high of a learning curve for my parents. I use Libre office myself but dont want to deal with tech support calls

          • @brd56: I installed libre for some olds because they couldn't get over the new ribbon interface

      • LibreOffice is allot cheaper and loads & saves MS Office formats. LibreOffice can also edit some PDF files and the price is free.

  • +7

    Why not just use Office for web?

    Free to use for anyone with a Microsoft account and runs in any web browser. Has most of the features that a casual user would want.

    • +1 Am currently using the online MS Office suite and its great. 99% of functionality of Office suite and documents are stored in the MS cloud.

    • I always found it a bit clunky but it's ok in a pinch.

    • I actually wasn't aware of office online, I will have a look at it. Thanks

  • cheap keys and someone in the comments was saying that they can be organisation keys which gives the seller access to

    From my understanding, those sellers sell the business keys. They sell the same key code to many users, which is the reason the user end up with no access.

    Theres some more info here

    • I read that thread and seen the mention of OEM keys and MSDN keys. I think thats what i want to know, the difference and if your account will be linked to the seller

      • Those keys are what the seller on aliexpress etc is selling.
        Doubt you would be linked to the seller. Microsoft might be able to detect same key being used many times, so they might cancel, which means U have to buy another code again
        Alternative is look on Reddit for free

  • +1

    Google allkeys they have a bunch from different sites and they'll tell you what sort of license it is.

    • I guess this was the point of my original question. are the retail key licences linked to the sellers account in any way? for example can they revoke access or see my documents?

  • +1

    Why not just use Google Docs?

    That or download an older version of office i.e. office 2003 - no online needed

    • Its not for me and i dont want to introduce any learning curves


        check it out.. i dont feel there is much (if any) of a learning curve

  • +1

    Give them M365 and use the 1TB OneDrive for yourself.

    • I have no use for it also is that even possible? dont you need to link 1 Microsoft account?

  • Got an old university / education email? You can usually use it to obtain a free license ;)

    • I do but they cut off my office access

      • Microsoft or the place of study?

        • I assume i was taken off the student list at my uni so lost access

    • My uni announced they would be terminating student alumni email accounts.

  • Have a look at this

    Cheap office is cheap for a reason. Mainly involves seller creating a special Microsoft account with office 365, possibly via MSDN, then give you the accout detail. See comment from this Microsoft can ban these accounts at anytime.

    Older version of Office can get away by entering a CID number to activate (prior to 2012 I think). Simple seach of google can find you a CID number generator.

    Newer version of standalone Office must be activated online, and cheap keys you found online are mostly MSDN or possibly grey import keys which Microsoft can ban at anytime.

    But prior to 2019, Microsoft used to sell standalone Office for ~$20 via the Home Use Program.

  • +2

    As far as I'm concerned you're either getting it legit (ie getting it through retail or some other means, workplace, education etc) or you're getting it 'illegally' (ie in breach of the licence terms)
    As its been pointed out a bunch of times (including on the deal you referenced) you're really just buying a key that isn't supposed to be resold to the general consumer, you most well just pay nothing and pirate the software because it's essentially the same thing as far as the licence agreement goes

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