Microsoft Office is one of the best desktop office suites, but it doesn’t come cheap. For the full suite, you have to pay $300+ that many people can’t afford. Even if you go for monthly subscription of $9.99, it is still relatively expensive in the long run.

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However, there are many ways to have access to the Microsoft Office suite for free. You can either get the actual Microsoft Office temporarily or use a limited version permanently. Below are some ways to satisfy your taste buds with Microsoft Office for free.

Office Online

If you really need the Microsoft Office suite for your regular work and don’t want to pay for it, then Office Online is the best option. It doesn’t have any limitation on usage and is completely free to use. Basically it is a Microsoft Office suite with limited features, but it is online and you need internet connection to use it. It is surprisingly little-known by the general public.

It offers all basic-to-average editing tools and also offers some extra features that even Microsoft Office doesn’t have: For example, “Tell me” lets you search for Microsoft office functionalities when you are stuck and it also has some advanced collaboration tools.

For an average user, Office Online offers more than enough tools to create documents. It integrates with OneDrive and your documents will be saved there while being synced on all devices and editable from any device. It should be noted that Office Online will not work without an internet connection, so you will be out of luck if you disconnect.

Microsoft Office Smartphone Apps

Microsoft also offers free Microsoft Office apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. The apps also have reduced features, but are good enough for an average user. The interface is quite intuitive and makes it very easy to edit document both offline and online. On smartphones, it is the best Office suite you can find with easy to follow interface.

Of course, it cannot truly replace the desktop app, but can satisfactory if you are desperate for some kind of Microsoft Office functionality.

Free Trials (Temporary option)

If you are not satisfied with the limited features tools and need to use features only available in the full version of Microsoft Office, then there are some temporary ways. You will not be able gain a permanent access, but it can be a good option if you just want to try Office before buying it, or need one of its advanced features to achieve a one-time task.

Office 365 Trial

Office 365 offers a 30 day free trial. However, it can also be a risky decision because to download the free trial, you need to provide payment details and when the trial finishes the subscription will start if you haven’t canceled, and it’s easy to forget.

If you don’t mind providing your payment details, and can remember to unsubscribe (or buy it) before 1 month trial end, then it is a good option.

Office Professional Plus 2013 Free Trial

Microsoft also offers 60 days free trial of Office Professional Plus 2013. It doesn’t require any payment details making it less risky. After the trial period ends, Office Professional Plus will revert to a limited suite with just few features.

If 60 days are not enough for you, then you can also increase the trial up to total 180 days. For this purpose, you need to execute a command from the command line, however, there are apps too that can do that for you automatically.

You can use the app Office 2013 Trial Extender to extend the trial with a single click. You will have to use the app at the end of each month to gain maximum benefit.  You can read the app’s details for complete instructions.

OneNote is Free!

If you like the Microsoft OneNote and need access to only this tool, then you will be happy to know that it is free to download separately along with all the features. You can legally download it from the Microsoft’s website without any kind of catches. However, you will have to sign in to Microsoft account to use OneNote once installed.

Get Office 2016 Preview

You can also get your hands on Office 2016 Preview if you really want to try out Microsoft Office. It might still have some bugs, but it is free to use until officially released in September 2015. You will have to hurry up as the time is ticking, but you will surely get better experience than the current Microsoft Office suite available. Keep an eye out for a similar trial for next year’s edition…

You won’t have to provide credit card information and if you are able to download it before it expires, you will get to use it for 120 days for free even after the release. You can download Office 2016 Preview and start using it without any restrictions.

Conclusion

Above are the free methods to get your hands on Microsoft Office suite or at least its features. All the methods come with some kind of catch, you just need to select the one that fulfills your needs and you can also bare the catch associated with it.

Did we miss any other legal method to get free Microsoft Office suite, let us know in the comments below.

Filed in Computers. Read more about Microsoft Office and Productivity.

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