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How to Get Microsoft 365 for Free

 How to Get Microsoft 365 for Free


Microsoft 365 is a productivity suite that includes programs such as Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneDrive cloud storage. Because these tools are useful for work and school, you’ll likely want access to them.

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A paid Microsoft 365 membership is the most common way to enjoy these apps, and you’ve got multiple tiers to pick from, starting with the $2 a month or $20 a year Microsoft 365 Basic plan. Normally, you’ll pay anywhere from $20 to $100 annually for a subscription depending on the plan you pick. You can sometimes bag Microsoft 365 at no cost.

Here’s how to get Microsoft 365 for free. 

Get Microsoft Office 365 Education free if you’re a student or a teacher

Say you’re a student, teacher or faculty member with an active school email address. You’re probably eligible to get access to Office 365 for free through Microsoft, with access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Teams, plus other classroom tools.

All you have to do is punch in your school email address on this page on Microsoft’s website: Office 365 Education. In many cases, you’ll be instantly granted access thanks to an automated verification process. If you attend an institution that needs to be verified, it might take up to a month to confirm your eligibility. 

College students can also get Microsoft 365 Personal for $3 a month with a valid school email address.

How to get Microsoft 365 for free if you’re not a student or faculty member

Not everyone can take advantage of an email address through an academic institution to get the Microsoft Office suite at no cost. Thankfully, anyone can get a one-month free trial of Microsoft 365. You do need to enter a credit card number. If you don’t cancel your subscription before the month is up, you’ll be charged $100 for a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Family (formerly called Office 365 Home). 

The good news is that you can access a number of apps online for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer and Clipchamp as long as you don’t need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools. Here’s how to get them: 

1. Go to Microsoft365.com.

2. Click Sign up for the free version of Office under the “Sign in” button.

3. Log in to your Microsoft account or create one for free. If you already have a Windows, Skype or Xbox Live login, you have an active Microsoft account.

4. Select the app you want to use and save your work in the cloud with OneDrive.

Microsoft Word running in a web browser Microsoft Word running in a web browser

Use the browser-based version of the Microsoft Word app for free.

Screenshot by Alison DeNisco Rayome/CNET

So what’s the catch for the free version?

You might be saying, “Wait a minute, if I can get all of those apps for free, why pay for Microsoft 365 in the first place?” The functionality of the free apps is limited, so they only run in your web browser and you can only use them while you’re actively connected to the internet — there’s no online version. They also have fewer features than the full Microsoft 365 versions. 

There are still benefits to the free version, including the ability to share links to your work and collaborate in real-time, similar to what the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) productivity tools allow. If you’re looking for basic versions of each of these apps, the free version should work well for you. 

For more productivity coverage, check out what Microsoft 365 Basic offers customers, all of the best features in Windows 11 and how to take screenshots in Windows 10 or 11. You can also take a look at CNET’s list of the best Windows laptops.



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