Can You Download Microsoft Office, Free?

The short answer to this is “No, there’s no legitimate or legal way to download Microsoft Office without paying for it.

But the full answer is actually a bit more nuanced than that.

Because the majority of people actually do want to pay for Microsoft Office for their business.

The problem is they think it’s too expensive, so they look for other more affordable options.

So what other options are there?

Free Office Suites

The first place to start is by looking at the Office 365/Microsoft Office alternatives that you can download free of charge.

Most of these include a version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, at the very least.

But what if you’re a creature of habit and want to stick with the applications you’re familiar with?

I totally get that.

What you’ll realize is that pretty much anyone can afford a legitimate Microsoft Office licence.

It just requires a little bit of lateral thinking, and not shopping in your local chain computer store.

Don’t Buy The Latest Version

Microsoft Office Professional 2019 is available on Amazon right now for the tidy sum of $399.

Even Microsoft Home and Business costs at least $265.

The latest version of any Microsoft product is always going to be stupidly expensive.

So the simple solution here is…don’t get the latest version.

The first reason to not do that that is financial, but an even more important one is that Microsoft built its entire business on the MVP (minimum viable product) model.

And that includes their Microsoft Office product.

In plain English, this means they release software they know has bugs (so do 90% of other software companies, to be fair) but nothing so serious it would stop you using their Office apps on a day-to-day basis.

Then when all the bug reports come in from the beta testers who paid full price for the software (you), Microsoft rolls out an update or service pack, or whatever the hell it is they do these days.

And by the time they’ve finished fixing all the major bugs…it’s time to release a brand new version of the Office suite from the Microsoft store.

Great business model, eh?

So instead of trying to figure out how you can pay almost $400 right now for a shiny new Office 2019 license, why not look at older versions instead?

Example – You’ll find Office 2007 on Amazon for anywhere from $69 to about $120. That’s up to $300 cheaper than the latest version.

If you’re willing to travel a little bit further back in time you’ll find Office 2003 for as little as $20.

Okay, so you’ll be using older software, but it will have 95% of the same functionality as the 2019 version that costs over $300 more.

The only real downside is that neither of these products is supported any more.

So you won’t get any patches or updates.

Office 2019 is undoubtedly amazing, but let’s face facts – if you only need Word, Excel and PowerPoint…does it really matter?

Nope!

But there is another way to get the latest Office software without having to sell a kidney on the black market.

Note: We also do not condone or encourage the sale of human organs on the black market…because that’s just weird…and illegal.

Get Office 365 Instead

Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription-based service where you pay a monthly fee to get access to a full suite of Microsoft Office products.

This includes 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage for all of your files, but you can store them locally too if you prefer.

Microsoft eventually figured out that it’s far easier to get people to pay $10 per month forever for a product than $300 up-front.

And what I mean by that is an Office 365 Business subscription costs $8.25per month.

For that, you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and the 1GB of storage we mentioned earlier.

But you can also choose to pay $9.99 per month for an Office 365 Home plan.

This plan includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, Publisher, 1TB of storage and 60-minutes of Skype calls.

Oh and that license covers up to 6 users across multiple devices.

For all the Office apps you could possibly need.

Basically, you’re renting Microsoft Office instead of buying it outright.

This will be far more expensive for you in the long term e.g. 5 years of Microsoft 365 usage will cost you $700 in total.

But it also means you can get access to the full Office suite right now for almost nothing.

About what you’d pay for a 12-pack of beers.

Or a pizza.

Or anything else that costs roughly $10 – you get what we’re saying here.

Anyways the point we’re making here is that you’re wrong if you think you can’t afford Microsoft Office.

Unless of course, you can’t afford to spend $8.25 on your business.

In which case, there’s nothing I can really do to help you.

Conclusion

So there you go – at least two other options to get Microsoft Office for your new business.

The idea of buying an older version might not appeal to you.

But that still leaves you with Office 365 as a smart and affordable alternative – although they seem to have recently renamed it to Microsoft 365.

Go figure.

So yeah, don’t download Office without paying for it and especially not when we’ve shown you how you can actually afford it.

 

 

Resources

Featured image source: Microsoft.

10 Great Alternatives To Office 365

So you’re looking for alternatives to Office 365?

You’re not alone.

Pretty much everyone needs a productivity suite of some kind.

But with some versions of MS Office retailing for over $300, that puts them well out of the price range of the average person.

So how in the hell are you meant to be able to afford that if you’re just starting out with your small business?

The good news is that there are several alternatives to Microsoft Office, and yes they’re completely free.

Let’s take a look at what’s available to you.

Are there any 100% free alternatives to Microsoft Office?

So, you’re really, really, really broke and can’t afford to spend a single cent on office productivity software?

You’re lucky to be alive in an age where open source and free software exists, you know that, right?

1. Google Docs

One of the best current alternatives to Office 365 suite is to just use Google Docs instead – it comes included with any Gmail account.

So if you don’t have a Gmail account you’ll need to get one.

But if you’ve already got one then you have access to Google Docs right now.

You get the Google version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint but you don’t get an MS Access equivalent.

I know several business owners who exclusively use G Suite instead of Office 365 – they love being able store and collaborate on their files in the Google cloud.

And speaking of storage, you get 15GB of Google Drive space free as part of the deal.

Are there any downsides to Google Docs when it comes to Office 365 alternatives?

I hate the file/folder management interface – it’s a lethargic UX mess that Google should have addressed years ago.

But apart from that Google Docs is excellent, as is Sheets – they’re both compatible with existing Microsoft file formats.

And you also have the option of upgrading to G Suite if you need business-class email and additional Google Drive storage.

G Suite isn’t free though – you’ll have to pay at least $5 per month for the privilege of using it.

2. Apache Open Office

Here we have a free office suite (open source) designed to compete with the behemoth that is Office 365.

I have used Apache Open Office in the past and it’s actually pretty solid in terms of the office suites you can download at no cost.

Actually, when I first started using this office suite it was just “Open Office” – Apache obviously acquired it somewhere along the way.

You get Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (Powerpoint), Draw (drawing stuff), Base (Access) and Math (nerdy math stuff) included with Open Office.

So it’s basically Office Pro, except you don’t have to pay $400 as long as you’re willing to accept it might not be as polished in places.

But you do get a very competent office suite to work with.

The entire package is only just over 130MB in size, and it’s also available in multiple languages.

If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to at least take Apache Office for a test drive.

3. Libre Office

Libre Office is another free office suite, in the same vein as Open Office.

It’s also one of the more popular alternatives to Office 365.

You  get Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint), Draw (graphics), Base (Access) and Math (more nerdy math stuff).

Full transparency here – I have not used Libre Office in a few years.

But I do have author friends who use either it or Open Office because they’re tired of paying for Office 365 when they really just need a word-processing package and not much else.

As free office suites go it’s one of the best available today.

And that’s backed up by tens of thousands of happy Libre Office users.

This suite is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android – so having access to a free productivity suite for your smartphone is a pretty big perk.

4. WPS Office

Next up we have WPS Office, yet another alternative to using Microsoft Office.

Now here’s a really interesting suite, and proof that you have plenty of options when it comes to office software and having no cash.

What you get for exactly $0 is the WPS Office Writer, Spreadsheets, Presentation and PDF applications, and you get 1GB of cloud storage space thrown in for good measure. That’s still ony 1/15th of what Google offers though.

The interface is also pretty innovative – you use a tabbed interface that allows you to jump between apps from the same integrated UI.

Although this might take some getting used to if you’ve been using Office 365/Microsoft Office for several years.

Also, it’s available for available for PC, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and there’s also a web-based version too.

For those of you who choose to download it, WPS Office is only 148MB in size.

5. Zoho Office

Zoho Office is another free suite available for small office or personal use.

The difference here is that this suite is only available online, making it very similar to Google Docs and/or G-Suite.

What you get is their Writer, Sheet, Show and Notebook applications, so all pretty typical fare there.

Notebook is basically a scaled-down version of Evernote, with all your activities synced to their cloud.

Apart from that Zoho Office is available for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android.

Something worth pointing out is that this suite uses Two-Factor authentication as well as a comprehensive backup plan and industry-leading encryption.

Long story short, your data is kept safe.

This is an interesting alternative to Microsoft Office/Office 365.

6. Softmaker Free Office

SoftMaker Free Office is a…well…it’s a free office suite, so no surprises there.

And it’s permanently free – but if you want the 64-bit Windows version it’s going to cost you $29.90 per year.

The 64-bit Mac and Linux versions are completely free though.

What you get is TextMaker (Word), PlanMaker (Excel), and Presentations (guess what that is).

That means no Access equivalent, but how many people buy MS Office solely for the database application?

What stands out straight away about this suite is that it looks and feels pretty much exactly like Microsoft applications.

So that means your learning/migration curve is close to zero.

And the added bonus is that Free Office is, allegedly, fully compatible with current Microsoft file formats.

7. Office on the Web

Now, here’s something interested – a web-based version of Microsoft Office.

And it’s free.

Okay, you don’t get the full suite but you do get scaled-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

You also get 5GB of free OneDrive space to store your files – which makes sense because it’s a cloud-based app.

But you can download a copy of your files to work on locally.

All you need to get started is a free Microsoft Live/Hotmail account.

And yes, the interface is pretty much identical to the desktop apps, so you’ll feel right at home.

8. iWork for iCloud

Next up, we have Apple’s contribution to the various alternatives to Office 365 in the form of iWork.

And the good news is that, yes, Windows users can also use this office suite.

Actually anyone can because the whole deal is available as part of an iCloud account – you just need to sign up for one.

What you get is Pages (Word), Numbers (Excel) and Keynote (PowerPoint) – more than enough for the average small business. But you do also get 5GB of iCloud storage space for your files.

The only real downside to this free office suite is that the interface is very different – the menu bar is off to the left.

If you’re an Apple user then you’ll feel right at home, but there might be a tiny learning curve for everyone else.

9. Only Office

I literally only heard about Only Office the week before I started writing this blog post

At first glance it appears to be a freemium office suite but there is a free version of what they call their ‘Desktop Editors’ tucked away on the site.

What these offer you is Document (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel) and Presentation (PowerPoint).

There’s no need for online storage here either – you can save your documents locally.

How well do their apps work?

You’ll feel right at home if you’ve ever used Microsoft Office or Office 365 – they’re really that similar.

The only major difference is that your work from a central hub, with each application opening in a separate tab.

The OnlyOffice ‘Desktop Editors’ are available for Windows, Mac and Linux, so nobody gets left out.

There’s also currently offering a 180-day trial, so you can get 6-months of access without paying a cent.

10. Oxygen Office

Oxygen Office is an offshoot of the original Open Office project, which was acquired by Apache and now offers a paid version of the applications  as well as the free quite.

Based on Open Office 2.3.0, the goal of Oxygen Office is to make sure that you can always get access to a free office suite.

One of the permanently free alternatives to Office 365.

So what do you actually get when you download it.

You get Writer (Word), Calc (Spreadsheet), Base (Access), Impress (PowerPoint), a PDF creator, a calculator app, a diagram creator and Avast anti-virus.

Or basically, everything you’d get with the Open Office suite, but minus the $59 price tag.

I haven’t tested this one yet, but it does sound interesting.

Summing It Up

And there you have 10 alternatives to Office 365 that you can download and use today without paying a single cent.

Which one is best for you?

The only way to find out is to download or sign up for each one and try it.

There are aspects of G-suite that I love, but I despise the interface, for example.

Whereas SoftMaker Free Office has a very familiar interface but I suspect you need the paid version to get the full experience.

So the goal is to find the middle ground where you’re happy with the tool you’re using.

Just accept that free software is…well…free, so you might have to make some tiny compromises.