Microsoft 365 is the latest edition of the Microsoft Office suite, which includes familiar programs like Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. While purchasing a Microsoft 365 subscription remains the most popular method for accessing these tools and more, there are actually ways to obtain Microsoft 365 for free.
Explore Microsoft Office 365 Education for Students and Teachers
If you’re a student, teacher, or faculty member with an active school email address, you likely qualify for free access to Office 365 through Microsoft. This includes applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Teams, along with other helpful classroom tools. Simply visit Microsoft’s Office 365 Education page and enter your school email address to begin the verification process. In most cases, you’ll be granted immediate access. However, validation for certain institutions may take up to a month. Additionally, college students can receive Microsoft 365 Personal for just $3 per month with a valid school email address.
Free Option for Non-Students and Non-Teachers
Even if you aren’t a student or teacher, you can still get a taste of the Microsoft Office suite for free. Microsoft offers a one-month trial of Microsoft 365, although it does require a credit card number. If you don’t cancel your subscription within the trial period, you’ll be automatically enrolled in a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Family for $100. However, there is good news. For those who only require certain Office 365 apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer, and Clipchamp, these can be accessed online without charge. Here’s how to access them:
- Head to Microsoft365.com.
- Click “Sign up for the free version of Office” located below the “Sign in” button.
- Log in to your Microsoft account or create a new one for free. If you already have a Windows, Skype, or Xbox Live login, you already possess an active Microsoft account.
- Select the app you need and save your work using OneDrive.
Limitations of the Free Version
You might be wondering, “If I can access all these apps for free, why should I pay for Microsoft 365?” It’s important to note that the free apps have certain limitations. They can only be used while connected to the internet, and they run exclusively in your web browser. Furthermore, they offer fewer features compared to the full Microsoft 365 versions. Despite these limitations, the free version still carries benefits, such as the ability to collaborate in real time and share links to your work. This feature resembles the productivity tools found in Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). If you require basic versions of these apps, the free version should meet your needs.
For more information on productivity software, you can explore Microsoft 365 Basic and discover its features. Additionally, you may want to explore the best features in Windows 11 and learn how to take screenshots in Windows 10 or 11. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, don’t forget to check out CNET’s list of the best Windows laptops.