Can you download Microsoft Office for free?

Students using Microsoft Office software on their laptops outside.
Microsoft

Chances are good that you’ve used Microsoft Office yourself at some point, and while just about everyone has at least heard of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, few people are aware that this software isn’t actually free. You might not have ever had to have paid for it yourself, though, if you were using it at work or at school. Nonetheless, if you need it and you’re now hunting around for a way to download Microsoft Office for free, you have some options depending on your situation. Here’s everything you need to know.

Can you download Microsoft Office for free?

The short answer is yes, but there’s a caveat. Anybody can download Microsoft Office, but the catch is that you need a license to use it for more than a month — and for that, you need to pony up some cash. There are a few different versions of Microsoft Office to consider, too: Microsoft Office 365, recently rebranded to just “Office 365,” and is the flagship product of the Microsoft Office software line. This requires a license that you pay for with an annual subscription fee. It’s the most complete Office software suite, as it gives you access to all of the online and cloud-based features of Microsoft Office apps, such as OneDrive. Office 365 also receives the most regular updates, which are slower to come to the traditional Microsoft Office packages.

Although Office 365 is the most popular and widely used Office platform today, Microsoft still releases traditional packages every few years. The latest version is Microsoft Office 2021, although you can purchase previous editions, too — just know that you’re not getting the latest versions of the software. For these packages, payment is a one-time deal. For older copies, it’s also difficult to ascertain which sellers, and resellers, can be trusted. When buying at low prices, you risk getting your hands on pirated or cracked software, or packages rife with malicious code and malware.

Moreover, with the older versions, you buy the software and you have the license for life. However, this can only be used on one device, you do not get regular updates or access to the cloud-based services that you get with Office 365, and Microsoft only offers support for these releases for around five years. If you just need certain Microsoft Office apps, you understand the limitations, and the “software as a service” subscription model of Office 365 doesn’t make sense for you, then one of these Microsoft Office packages might be a good fit. You can always get a legitimate license from Mr Key Shop, for both new and older versions of Microsoft software.

If your needs are really simple, however, then there is a free online version of Microsoft Office available to you, although you can’t download it. Office on the Web is a lightweight and walled-down version of Microsoft Office that includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with OneNote, OneDrive, and Outlook. Although it’s not available for download like traditional software, you can install an on-site version of Office on the Web in a private cloud if you’re so inclined.

Get a 1-month free trial of Microsoft Office 365

If you want to download Microsoft Office for free (and you’re not a student or teacher — more on that later) and don’t want to commit to paying for it right away, then you do have another option. Microsoft offers a one-month free trial for Office 365, letting you take the productivity software suite for a pretty thorough test drive. This should be more than ample time to decide whether or not you want or need to open up your wallet for a Microsoft Office download key or subscription license. Decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on an Office license? Feel free to check out our run-down of how much Microsoft Office will cost you after your trial period is up.

Student? Get Microsoft Office 365 Education for free

Perhaps the best way to get Microsoft Office for free is by being a student or educator. That might not be helpful if you’re not a student or teacher, of course, but if you are (and you have a valid .edu email address with which to register your copy), then you may be able to get a free license to Office 365 Education edition depending on your school’s eligibility. Once obtained, your Microsoft Office 365 Education edition is good to install for one user account on up to two devices, and the license is valid for four years instead of one. The Office 365 Education software is identical to the Office 365 Home Premium Edition, so you get access to the full set of apps that you’d get with that subscription.

Save on a Microsoft Office subscription with these deals

Get Microsoft Office through Mr Key Shop.

For some of the best deals, on genuine licenses, we recommend Mr Key Shop:

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