How to get Microsoft Office for free? Microsoft 365 is the most recent version of the Microsoft Office set of tools, and it includes programs you already use at home, school or work. Some of the programs include Word, Outlook and Powerpoint, and buying a Microsoft 365 membership is still the most popular way to access these tools and more.
On Jan. 11, Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft 365 Basic which costs $2 a month, or $20 for a yearly subscription. However, you can snag Microsoft 365 at no cost under some circumstances.
Microsoft’s suite of productivity software consists of classics like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, as well as newer apps like Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint.
The suite typically costs $20 to $100 a year for subscription access across devices and family members. Microsoft also has a standalone version of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac, called Office Home and Student 2021, for a flat $150 — no subscription required.
How to get Microsoft Office for free?
Anyone can get a one-month free trial of Microsoft 365. However, it does require you to enter a credit card number. If you don’t cancel your subscription before the month is up, you’ll be charged $100 for a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Family (formerly called Office 365 Home).
The good news is if you don’t need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer and Clipchamp. Here’s how to get them:
- Go to Microsoft365.com.
- Click Sign up for the free version of Office under the “Sign in” button.
- Log in to your Microsoft account or create one for free. If you already have a Windows, Skype or Xbox Live login, you have an active Microsoft account.
- Select the app you want to use and save your work in the cloud with OneDrive.
Get Microsoft Office 365 Education free if you’re a student or a teacher
If you’re a student, teacher or faculty member with an active school email address, you’re likely eligible to get access to Office 365 for free through Microsoft, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Teams, plus other classroom tools.
All you have to do is enter your school email address on this page on Microsoft’s website: Office 365 Education. In many cases, you’ll be instantly granted access thanks to an automated verification process. If you attend an institution that needs to be verified, it might take up to a month to confirm your eligibility.
College students can also get Microsoft 365 Personal for $3 a month with a valid school email address.
So what’s the catch for the free version?
You might be saying, “Wait a minute, if I can get all of those apps for free, why pay for Microsoft 365 in the first place?” The functionality of the free apps is limited, so they only run in your web browser and you can only use them while you’re actively connected to the internet. They also have fewer features than the full Microsoft 365 versions.
There are still benefits to the free version, including the ability to share links to your work and collaborate in real time, similar to what the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) productivity tools allow. If you’re looking for basic versions of each of these apps, the free version should work well for you.
For more productivity coverage, check out what Microsoft 365 Basic offers customers, all of the best features in Windows 11 and how to take screenshots in Windows 10 or 11. You can also take a look at CNET’s list of the best Windows laptops.
Use Office Online in a Browser; It’s Free
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.
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.
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 Microsoft 365 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 Microsoft 365 for Business, 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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