Microsoft Office, now known as Microsoft 365, has long reigned supreme in the world of productivity and workplace apps. You’ve probably used it at some point in your life and know others who have. According to Microsoft, over 1 billion people worldwide have downloaded Microsoft 365 apps to their devices. The app suite, which includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook (among other programs), has become a must-have for anyone from employees to students to business owners who need to write documents, create presentations, and create spreadsheets. To use these features, you or your company will need to pay a yearly subscription fee ranging from $69.99 to $99.99 depending on the package.
This is not the same as Microsoft’s free 30-day trial, which allows you to try its services after providing your credit card information. This is genuine free access granted by Microsoft to specific users or businesses. Want to find out how you, too, can get a freebie? Let’s get started.
Educators, students and nonprofits can have free accounts
If you are a student or teacher, you can get all of the Microsoft 365 programs for free. To gain full access, you must provide Microsoft with your school e-mail address. If your school is eligible, you should be able to get instant approval through its automated process, according to its website. If your school or institute requires additional verification, a representative will contact you to request additional information. This should take no more than 10 days, and you will receive an email informing you of the status of your school (via Microsoft).
If you own or work for a nonprofit, you can avoid yearly subscription fees as well. These free programs, dubbed “grants” by Microsoft, are distributed to nonprofit organizations that are registered as 501(c)(3) organizations in the United States. If your nonprofit is located outside of the United States, you are still eligible for free access once your organization has the equivalent of a 501(c)(3) status (3). These grants are available to the organization’s executive employees and volunteers, but not to beneficiaries, donors, or members.
Use the online version free of charge
Another option is to use the online version of Microsoft 365. This free site uses cloud-based storage, but it lacks features such as extra storage and specific templates that come with premium apps. However, if you want more bells and whistles, you can upgrade. Despite its limitations, Microsoft’s web app may be sufficient for the average user. The disadvantage is that they only work if you have an internet connection (via CNET).
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A mobile app allows you to download Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for free. According to user reviews, people like the app’s layout and convenience, but they dislike the small print, which makes reading and entering data difficult. Finally, borrowing from family or friends who have a paid subscription is one of the simplest ways to use Microsoft for free. Microsoft’s family plan costs $99 per year and can be shared by up to six people, according to its website. If a generous family member offers you free access, you may have hit the Windows jackpot.