If you're a student or working in education and have an academic email address that can receive external email, you may be able to get a couple of decent freebies from Microsoft
Free Microsoft Office
- What do you get? The ability to download the entire Office software suite – including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access – on up to five PCs or Macs (the last two are on PC-only).
- Who can get it? Students and staff at universities, colleges and schools which have licensed Office institution-wide through the Microsoft Volume Licensing programme. Microsoft says 99.9% of universities, 87% of colleges and a "large number" of schools in the UK are eligible.
- How do I get it? Enter your academic email address on the Office website. You'll be asked to log in through your institution's online portal and if you're eligible, you'll be redirected to a page where you can download the software.
1TB free online storage
- What do you get? A whopping 1TB of free online storage through OneDrive (others now only get 5GB free) and use of collaborative platforms like Yammer and SharePoint.
- Who can get it? Again, this is aimed at students and staff with an academic email address, though the university, college or school doesn't have to have licensed Office as above.
- How do I get it? Enter your uni, college or school email address on the Office website. You'll be asked to log in through your institution's online portal, then follow the instructions.
How long can I get these for?
You can use the free Microsoft Office and/or the free online storage for as long as you're enrolled at or employed by the academic institution. Microsoft says student eligibility may need to be be reverified at any time.
If you graduate or leave, the Office applications enter a 'reduced-functionality' mode (meaning documents can be viewed but you can't edit them or create new ones). OneDrive and other online services accessed through your academic address will also stop working.
What if I'm not eligible?
If your school doesn't qualify, Microsoft suggests asking your IT department to consider licensing Office through Microsoft's Volume Licensing program. Alternatively, if you really must have Microsoft Office and the alternatives below won't do, full and part-time students at academic institutions can get a four-year subscription to Office 365 University for £59.99.
For those who aren't able to get Microsoft's Office suite for free, the package is a costly proposition with the single-user subscription costing £59.99/year (or £48ish on Amazon* at the time of writing).
Yet you can furnish your machine with equivalents to most of its applications for nothing, thanks to open source alternatives.