Chances are you've been spending more time on your work or personal computer this year due to the, so you might be in need of some basic tools like . Formerly known as Office 365, is a service that adds more features to the traditional office software. But if you don't want to shell out the money, there are a few ways you can get the service and its popular apps for free.
Microsoft's suite of productivity software -- including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint -- $150 for a one-time installation (as Office 365), or between $70 and $100 every year for subscription service access across devices and family members (as Microsoft 365). Microsoft is also planning to release a new standalone version of -- for a flat price, no subscription required -- at some point later this year.
Here are the versions of Office 365, Microsoft 365 and their apps that you can find online for free right now.
If you're a student or a teacher
If you're awith a school email address, you are likely eligible to get access to Office 365 for free through Microsoft -- including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Microsoft Teams and additional classroom tools.
All you have to do is enter your school email address on this page on Microsoft's website:. 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.
Recent graduates who want to stick with Office 365 can also get, with a valid school email address.
If you're anyone else
Anyone can get aof Microsoft 365 to try it out. However, it does require you to enter a credit card, and if you don't cancel 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, if you don't need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free -- including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar and Skype. Here's how to get them:
- Go to Office.com.
- Login to your Microsoft account (or create one for free). If you already have a Windows, Skype or Xbox login, you have an active Microsoft account.
- Select the app you want to use, and save your work in the cloud with OneDrive.
Read more at TechRepublic: Microsoft 365: A cheat sheet
Is there a catch for the free version?
You may 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 reason is that the functionality of these apps is limited: They only run through your web browser, and you can't use them if you aren't online. There are also fewer features than the full Microsoft 365 versions.
There are still a number of benefits, however, including the ability to share links to your work and collaborate in real time, similar to G Suite tools. If you're looking for basic versions of each of these apps, the free version should work well for you.