5 Alternatives to Paying for Microsoft Office - dummies

5 Alternatives to Paying for Microsoft Office

By Faithe Wempen

Microsoft Office is great, but it’s not free. (Well, not usually.) If you need Office capabilities such as word processing or spreadsheets, but don’t want to spend any money (or don’t have the money to spend), here are some workarounds:

  • If you’re a student or teacher, check with your school’s IT department. Many schools have site licenses that allow faculty and students to get free copies of Microsoft Office.

  • If you have a job, check with your employer. Depending on the way Office is licensed in your workplace, you may be eligible for a copy to use on your home computer.

  • Check out the web-based free productivity apps from Microsoft. They are simplified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and all you have to do to get access to them is create a free Microsoft account (which you might have already if you have a Windows 8 system). Go to the Microsoft site to get started. These applications work only while you are online.

  • If you want a free Office alternative that is available when you are offline, consider OpenOffice. This suite of applications has many of the same features as the corresponding Microsoft Office applications but is totally free. The programs can save and open files in the same file formats as Office applications, so you can share files with others who use Office.

  • Check out Google Apps, a competitor to the Microsoft online apps. Google Apps has some advantages that you may find useful, such as the ability to easily share calendars and spreadsheets online and allow others to edit them.