8 Easy Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
If you use Office — which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher — at home, chances are good that you pay for it. The price of Microsoft Office 365 begins at $69.99 a year for individuals and climbs if you want other options. With a little ingenuity, however, you can cut those costs to zero. This guide explains how to get Microsoft Office for free.
It’s tough to escape Microsoft Office. Millions of us use one or more of the applications in this software suite every day — at work, at home or both. Following are a few ways to get Microsoft Office for free.
1. Check out Office.com
Microsoft offers Office free to anyone who accesses it directly from Office.com. Just be aware that when you use Office.com, you are not getting the full-powered versions of Office that you get when you pay to use this software. You’ll find all the editing and formatting commands, and some additional features, but not much more. However, if all you need are the basics, this is an option worth trying.
Also, you can only use this free version of Office when you have an internet connection. So, if you start a Word doc at Office.com, you won’t be able to access it later if you do not have an internet connection.
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2. Download Microsoft Apps
You can download Microsoft’s revamped Office mobile app, available for iPhone or Android devices, for free. Released in 2020, it combines Word, Excel and PowerPoint in one app. While the app itself is free, its premium features are not. Microsoft explains:
“The app is free to use, even without signing in. However, signing in with a Microsoft Account or connecting to a third-party storage service will enable you to access and store documents in the cloud. An Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription will also unlock various premium features, consistent with those in the current Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps.”
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3. Enroll in Office 365 Education
Students and educators can access the suite of Microsoft software for free by using Office 365 Education. You get access to a range of Microsoft Office services — including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. To qualify, you simply need a valid school email address.Use Office Online in a Browser; It’s Free
4. Microsoft Office Online
Whether you’re using a Windows 10 PC, Mac, or Chromebook, you can use Microsoft Office for free in a web browser. The web-based versions of Office are simplified and won’t work offline, but they still offer a powerful editing experience. You can open and create Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents right in your browser.
To access these free web apps, just head to Office.com and sign in with a free Microsoft account. Click an application icon—like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint—to open the web version of that application. You can also drag and drop a file from your computer onto the Office.com page. It will be uploaded to your Microsoft account’s free OneDrive storage, and you can open it in the associated application.
The Office’s web applications have some limitations. These applications aren’t quite as full-featured as the classic Office desktop applications for Windows and Mac, and you can’t access them offline. But they do offer surprisingly powerful Office applications, and they’re completely free.
5. Sign Up for a Free one-month Trial
If you just need Microsoft Office for a short period of time, you can sign up for a one-month free trial. To find this offer, head to Microsoft’s Try Office for free website, and sign up for the trial. You will have to provide a credit card to sign up for the trial, and it will automatically renew after the month. However, you can cancel your subscription at any time—even right after signing up—to ensure you won’t get billed. You can continue using Office for the rest of your free month after canceling.
After joining the trial, you can download full versions of these Microsoft Office applications for Windows PCs and Macs. You’ll also get access to the full versions of the apps on other platforms, including larger iPads.
This trial will give you full access to a Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) Home plan. You’ll get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and 1TB of storage in OneDrive. You can share it with up to five other people. They’ll each get access to the apps via their Microsoft account, and will have their own 1TB of storage for a combined 6TB of storage.
Microsoft also offers free 30-day evaluations of Office 365 ProPlus, which is intended for businesses. You might be able to take advantage of both offers for two months of free Microsoft Office access.
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6. Get Office Free As A Student or Teacher
Many educational institutions pay for Office 365 plans, allowing students and teachers to download the software for free. To find out if your school participates, head to the Office 365 Education website, and enter your school email address. You’ll be offered a free download if it’s available to you through your school’s plan.
Even if a university or college doesn’t participate, it may offer Microsoft Office at a reduced cost to students and teachers through its bookstore. Check with your educational institution—or at least look on its website—for more details.
7. Try the Mobile Apps
Microsoft’s Office apps are free on smartphones, too. On an iPhone or Android phone, you can download the Office mobile apps to open, create, and edit documents for free.
On an iPad or Android tablet, these apps will only let you create and edit documents if you have a “device with a screen size smaller than 10.1 inches.” On a larger tablet, you can install these apps to view documents, but you’ll need a paid subscription to create and edit them.
In practice, this means Word, Excel, and PowerPoint offer a full experience for free on the iPad Mini and older 9.7-inch iPads. You’ll need a paid subscription to get document-editing capabilities an iPad Pro or newer 10.2-inch iPads.
8. Join Someone’s Microsoft 365 Home Plan
Microsoft 365 Home subscriptions are meant to be shared among multiple people. The $70 per year version offers Office for a single person, while the $100 per year subscription offers Office for up to six people. You’ll get the full experience, with Office for Windows PCs, Macs, iPads, and other devices.
Anyone who pays for Microsoft 365 Home (formerly known as Office 365 Home) can share it with up to five other Microsoft accounts. It’s very convenient: Sharing is managed through an Office “Sharing” page on Microsoft’s account website. The main owner of the account can add five other Microsoft accounts, and each of those accounts will receive an invitation link.
After joining the group, each person can sign in with their own Microsoft account to download the Office apps—just as if they were paying for their subscriptions. Each account will have a separate 1TB of OneDrive storage.
Microsoft says the subscription is meant for sharing among your “household.” So, if you have a family member or even a roommate with this service, that person can add you to their subscription for free. The Home plan is the best deal if you’re going to pay for Microsoft Office. If you can split a $100 per year subscription among six people, that’s under $17 every year per person.
By the way, Microsoft partners with some employers to offer a discount on Office subscriptions for their employees. Check Microsoft’s Home Use Program website to see if you qualify for a discount.
Microsoft’s suite of productivity software — including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint — typically costs $150 for a one-time installation (as Office 365), or between $70 and $100 every year for a subscription service access across devices and family members (as Microsoft 365). Microsoft is also planning to release a new standalone version of Microsoft Office for both Windows and Mac — for a flat price, no subscription required — at some point later this year.