How to get Microsoft Office for free

We may earn commission from the links on this page.

Microsoft now bundles its Office products with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. The Microsoft 365 Personal bundle comes with access to all Office programs, as well as 1TB of storage in OneDrive. But it costs $69.99 per year for an individual and $100 per year for a family plan. Now, Microsoft is taking a step in the right direction by launching a new plan called Microsoft 365 Basic that offers access to all Office apps plus 100GB of OneDrive storage for $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year step.

But what if you don't want to pay for Office at all? What if you only use it occasionally, or can't afford the subscription? There are several legal ways to access Microsoft Office applications such as PowerPoint, Word, and Excel for free.

Microsoft 365 Education is free for students and teachers

If you're a student or teacher, Microsoft is making the entire suite, including Teams and Classroom tools, available to you for free as long as you're a member of an eligible institution. Simply enter your school's official email address on the Microsoft Office Education page to get started. If your domain is verified, you will be granted access to Office tools using an automatic authentication process. But if your institution still requires verification, it may take up to a month to complete account setup.

There are some caveats here, Microsoft doesn't quite know how everything works. If your school qualifies, you should be able to go. However, in addition to Microsoft Teams and OneDrive, you may only be able to use the free Office web apps. In other cases, your school may not qualify for any of these.

In this case, Microsoft is offering a discount of $2.99 ​​per month to all college students with a valid college email address. The subscription includes all Office products plus 1TB of OneDrive storage and normally costs $6.99 per month.

How to use Office apps online for free

If you're not a student, you still have free access to Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer, and Clipchamp.

First, go to the Microsoft 365 website. If this is your first time using a Microsoft product, click the "Sign up for a free version of Office" button here. If you already have a Microsoft account, click the "Sign In" button.

This will open the Microsoft 365 online portal with convenient options for creating new Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel workbooks, and more. You can click any button to get started.

Then, select the app you want to use and it will open immediately. All your work is automatically saved in your OneDrive account.

While these Office apps are truly free, there's a problem: They're not the full-blown desktop versions you're used to. You only have access to the web app version of each app, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. These web apps are very reliable and have the most important features of each app so you will be able to do all your regular work in these apps. In fact, collaboration features are still available here. Of course, the downside is that they only work in the browser, so you need an active internet connection.

If you want desktop Office apps, you can always get a one-month free trial of Microsoft 365 by entering your credit card details. Just make sure to cancel your subscription before being charged.

Alternatives to Microsoft Office

If you find the online version of Microsoft Office limiting or too finicky, there are other free options.

google workspace

Although Google Workspace is entirely online, it serves as a comprehensive replacement for Microsoft Office for free. All features for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations are available online, with superior collaboration capabilities. What Google Workspace lacks in functionality, it makes up for with its plug-ins and APIs, where third-party developers can provide additional functionality on top of the basic functionality.

Free office

If you miss the old days of Microsoft Office, where you bought a piece of software and it ended up staying the same, working consistently, then you might like FreeOffice. FreeOffice can open all Microsoft Office files for free, and its interface is very consistent with Microsoft Office applications. It won't be as feature-rich as Microsoft 365, but if you want a simple and compatible set of apps for personal and work use, FreeOffice might be the choice for you.

free office

LibreOffice is open source, developed by the community, and completely free to use. It supports various Office formats. Because it is open source, it has an active community that constantly updates the app to ensure it runs smoothly as new versions of Windows and macOS are released.

LibreOffice has a customizable interface. This is its biggest advantage and also its disadvantage. If you like tweaking applications and UI, you'll love setting up LibreOffice just the way you want it. But if you're the kind of person who prefers a plug-and-play experience, the interface itself can be annoying. In this case, we recommend you use FreeOffice or the next option on the list.

Apache Open Office

Think of OpenOffice as LibreOffice's more mature cousin. It is also open source and has a great reputation in the industry. But it has a much slower development cycle and fewer additional features. OpenOffice gets the basics right and sticks with them. If you want a more traditional office suite experience with the knowledge of open source community support, Apache OpenOffice is a good choice.