Microsoft Office is by far the most popular office suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) of programs in the world. It is used by millions of people around the world. There is but one problem: it is overpriced at $100 for a one-year subscription (to $160 for the full version). Indeed, there are dozens of free and low-cost competitors to Microsoft Office and most of the competitors work just as well as the marketplace leader: Microsoft Office.
However, if you want the real thing, it is also available free of charge although the free version is missing a few things.
Obtaining the free version is simple:
1. Go to Office.com.
2. Log in to your Microsoft account or create one an account for free. (If you already have a Windows, Skype or Xbox Live login, you have an active Microsoft account.)
3. Select the app (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) you want to use, and save your work in the cloud with OneDrive.
That’s it! It will work forever.
What’s The Catch?
OK, so there are a few drawbacks.
1. First of all, the free versions want you to save your output in OneDrive. It is possible to save it someplace else but the programs default to OneDrive and saving it elsewhere requires a number of extra mouseclicks.
2. The free versions only run in your web browser, and you can only use them when you’re online.
3. The free versions also have fewer features than the full Microsoft 365 versions. To be sure, all the features used by the majority of users are fully functional. However, that is not very reassuring when the “missing features” include one that you really, really want to use.
Obtain the free (online) version and use it for as long a it meets your needs. If it doesn’t work for you, you can always later purchase the full version of Microsoft Office or obtain one of the competitive free products (LibreOffice, Apache Open Office, WPS Office, SoftMaker FreeOffice, Apache Open Office, ONLYOFFICE Personal, Polaris Office, SSuite Office, Google Docs, DropBox Paper, or any of several other products. I recommend LibreOffice).
However, if you’re looking for basic versions of Word, Excel, and/or PowerPoint, the free version should work well for you.