Except when it doesn’t, Microsoft Office is free. There are numerous ways to acquire Office for free, ranging from a concealed 60-day free trial that does not require payment information to online apps and mobile apps.
Because the Office is one of Microsoft’s biggest cash cows, you won’t be able to download a free full edition of Office 2013 and use it indefinitely. However, there are methods to use Office for free – even if only for a few months.
Office 365 Trial – 30 Days
Microsoft is giving away a month of Office 365 Home Premium for free, allowing you to use Office on multiple PCs and Macs. The only drawback is that you will be required to give payment information at the time of download. If you don’t cancel before the free month is over, Microsoft will start billing you $9.99 each month.
Office Professional Plus Trial – 60+ days
Office Professional Plus 2013 is also available for a free 60-day trial from Microsoft. This free trial does not require any payment information, unlike the usual Office 365 Home Premium trial. You can also prolong your free trial period and acquire more time by using a hidden method. However, you must renew your free trial period before it expires; if it expires, you will be unable to extend it further.
You’ll get a download link and a product key when you sign up for the Office Professional Plus Trial. You’ll need to install a download manager from Microsoft, and you’ll wind up with an.IMG file, which isn’t the most convenient format. It’s as if they’re trying to make this process complicated so that regular Windows users won’t bother with it.
To extract the contents of the.IMG file, we recommend using the 7-Zip file archiver. You don’t need to burn anything to a DVD to install Office; execute the setup.exe file after extracting it.
After installing Office:
- Go to the Activate Office window.
- Select Enter a product key.
- Enter the product key Microsoft supplied you.
The Office Online service from Microsoft is free. It’s a web-based version of Office that can be accessed through your browser. It only works with documents in your OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) account, not files on your machine. Word Online and its siblings have fewer features and can’t be used offline, but they should work well with Office document types. You may use Microsoft Office for free on any PC, Mac, Linux machine, or Chromebook using Office Online.
Most Office’s features are missing from Office Online, but most individuals don’t use them all. It’s not all bad, either: Office Online has greater real-time collaboration features than the Office 2013 desktop version.
Office Mobile for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone
Office Mobile was originally free online on Windows Phone devices, but the Android and iPhone versions of Office required an Office 365 membership. Everyone now has access to the Office Mobile apps for Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. They operate with documents stored in your OneDrive account, just as Office Online. You can now download Office Mobile for free on your smartphone and Office Online for free on your PC.
To edit documents in Office for iPad, you’ll need an Office 365 subscription.
Everyone can now use OneNote for free. Microsoft’s note-taking service is available on Windows, Mac, Windows 8, the web, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone – pretty much any platform you can think of. Please make no mistake: this is a note-taking tool; you won’t be creating Word docs, spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentations with it. OneNote was a favorite of many Office users on Windows, and it’s now a free and worthy competition to Evernote.
Windows Devices With Free Office Included
Microsoft Office is included with some Windows PCs. You will be able to use Office without paying a monthly charge or purchasing a boxed copy if you purchase these devices. In general, Microsoft includes a free copy of Office on lower-end devices that you don’t want to run Office on, but you’ll have to pay for Office on higher-end devices that you do.
- Windows RT Devices: Windows RT is practically extinct, except for Microsoft’s Surface 2 and the original Surface (also known as the Surface RT). This version of Windows can’t run any non-Microsoft desktop programs, although it does come with a free copy of Office.
- 8-inch and Smaller Windows 8.1 Tablets: You’ll get a free copy of Microsoft Office if you buy an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet. Of course, it won’t function very well because Office is designed to be used with a larger monitor with keyboard and mouse, not an eight-inch touch screen. Fortunately, you can always connect smaller tablets to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to turn them into desktop computers.
- Some Low-End Windows 8.1 Devices: A free copy of Office is included with some lower-end Windows 8.1 devices. Even though it features a 10-inch screen, the $349 ASUS Transformer Book T100 convertible includes a free copy of Office. You won’t get a free copy of Office on more expensive devices, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets.
Bonus: Other Office Solutions
When it comes to office software, Microsoft Office isn’t the only game in town. You might also be interested in the following free office suites:
- Google Docs: You can work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with Google Docs, which is available online on the Google Drive website and Google Drive apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad. When you don’t have access to the Internet, you can enable offline access and use Google Dos.
- Apple iWork: For new Mac, iPhone, and iPad devices, iWork, Apple’s simplified office suite, is free. It’s not just for these devices, though: on the iCloud website, you can access a web-based version of iWork, letting you use it on Windows PCs as well.
- LibreOffice is a free office suite that arose from the OpenOffice.org project. It’s a full-featured office suite that runs on your computer and comes with a slew of tools. This office suite retains the appearance of Office 2003, except for the lack of a ribbon.
- Abiword: If you only need the fundamentals, Abiword is a good choice. It’s not spectacular, but it’s compact, light, and has all of the fundamental word-processing functions most people want.
If you’re using Microsoft Office for business, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, the free Office versions that come with some Windows devices are technical “Home and Student” licenses; thus, using them for business purposes would violate the license. Office 365 Home Premium also includes a license that expressly states that commercial use is not permitted.