Known as Office 365, from the popular Microsoft productivity suite it was renamed simply Microsoft 365 from April 2020. Although it is essential in practically all computers, not everyone can afford it. Therefore, in this guide we help you learn how to download Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office for free, if you prefer to continue calling it that.
Although today there is also a version of Office for mobile devices, many still prefer the comfort offered by a computer, be it laptop or desktop. If you are one of them and you need to work from home, we tell you about the options to get Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office for free. The process is not so direct or fast, but there are several alternatives. We are talking here about a basic productivity tool, not a whim or any other program. If you are not an advanced user and do not need all the P functionsremium, you can save yourself some money and that is what we want to explain next.
In case you did not know, personal and family subscriptions to Microsoft 365 are available worldwide from April 21, 2020. With them you will have access to everything Office 365, in addition to the new features. The cost of Microsoft 365 Personal will be $ 7 per month, while a family of six members can contract Microsoft 365 Family for $ 10 per month.
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Use the free web and mobile app
Microsoft has been gradually expanding the number of programs that you can use online for free. Also, now, it offers an impressive suite that can be easily merged with downloaded applications if necessary and has many functions.
Signing up is also very easy. You have to go to this web page, choose the application you want (scroll down to see all the options) and log in to your Microsoft account to get started. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, registering is easy.
Also, since you need Office Online, it’s a good idea to create an account. This allows you to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Calendar, and other traditional Microsoft applications. It also gives you access to more niche apps, like Sway, an interactive presentation / reporting app, or People, which is an advanced, Skype-compatible contact list, as well as Docs.com, for uploading and sharing documents.
But while these apps are useful, they are also limited to very basic functions. They don’t offer the full features of Office 365 and of course you need an online connection to use them. It works for simple tasks, like putting together a simple document, but it doesn’t work for more complicated tasks.
Get Microsoft 365 through your school
If you are part of an educational organization (student, teacher or staff), take the time to enter your school’s email address on this site and see if you can get a version of Office 365 for free. Microsoft extends this to all students, but the school must register first or just be very lucky.
If your school is not part of the program, an administrator can easily enroll. The benefits are basically the same as in the trial version of the software, with the addition of a separate Class Notebook for class management, unlimited online meetings, and intranet customization options.
If you have just graduated, you may not be able to get Office 365 for free, although at a very low cost. Various discounts for recent graduates allow you to obtain Office 365 Personal for just $ 1 per month, in addition to a subscription to LinkedIn Premium, ideal for those who are taking their first professional steps.
Try a 30-day free trial
Luckily, the free trial is still alive. If you want to experience the Office 365 service for free, you can do it for a full month. Just head over to the free trial page and sign up.
The trial version allows you to download Microsoft 365 on up to five PCs or Macs, and allows you to use the Office mobile applications on up to five tablets and five phones.
Plus, you get 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage for every user to experience. The trial version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other applications.
The downside is that you only get one month of use, which obviously doesn’t solve anything if you need the service in the long term. Another caveat is that Microsoft requires your financial account information before download and will automatically charge you after the end of the month.
It’s a good way to test the full version of Microsoft 365 to see if it offers enough to make it worth paying, but be prepared to cancel if you don’t want to be charged.
Note: Some product offerings can be a bit confusing, such as the “Try” link Microsoft 365 Personal Free ”in Microsoft Store. This refers to the same one-month trial version. Also, don’t try websites that offer “mostly free product keys”.
Sign up for an evaluation (30 to 60 days)
In the TechNet Evaluation Center, Microsoft also runs an evaluation program that allows you to test certain Office applications over a period of time. This includes Project Professional (60 days), Visio Professional (60 days), and Office 365 ProPlus (30 days). It’s basically another way to get a free trial, but with more specific, full-featured software.
However, remember that it is an evaluation period, so the service will stop after the established period of time. Also, Microsoft can use this service to help solve problems in newer applications, so don’t expect everything to be perfect the first time.
Don’t forget the free alternatives to Microsoft 365
If you need applications similar to those of Microsoft 365 – and you need them “now” – remember that there are several alternative and free versions available. These applications tend to have very similar interfaces, and their files can often be easily transferred to the Microsoft suite.
But remember: they are excellent solutions in case of trouble, or only if you need to save yourself some money.
* Article updated on June 13, 2020 by Rodrigo Orellana