As of 2022, a Microsoft 365 Personal subscription costs ₱3,499.00 per year in the Philippines. The one-time purchase of the standalone Office Home & Student 2021 sets you back ₱6,999.00. While Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office apps are no doubt useful for work and school, many Filipinos just don’t have enough in their budget to spend on a subscription or license at such prices.
But if you really insist on using Office apps, despite the availability of free, open-source alternatives like LibreOffice, here are a few legit options to get Microsoft Office for free.
Get Microsoft Office as a student or teacher
There are several perks of having an email address issued by your school or university. For starters, you can get heavily discounted subscriptions for services, such as YouTube and Spotify. But in the case of Microsoft Office, students with email addresses provided by eligible schools and universities can get the productivity suite for free. Teachers with an official Department of Education email address (@deped.gov.ph) can get and use Office for free as well.
To get it as a student, visit the official Office 365 Education page, enter your school email address, and click Get Started. Select the I’m A Student option. Fill in the required information to finish creating your account. This includes the verification code sent to your school email address. Finally, click Start.
Sign in to your new Office account. At the dashboard page, click the Install Office button, then click Office 365 Apps. Download and run the executable file to begin the installation.
The Office 365 student license assigned to you may vary depending on what plan your university purchased from Microsoft. But all licenses should include the desktop version of common Office apps: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote. The storytelling app Sway and collaboration app Teams are included too. See the subscriptions section of your account page for the list of other apps you can use for free.
Get the mobile version of Microsoft Office
The mobile app version of Microsoft Office is available on iOS and Android for free. This all-in-one app includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and gives you not just viewing but also editing capabilities. Another handy feature in the mobile app is the ability to scan, convert, and edit PDF files.
Admittedly, doing heavy edits is rather impractical on smartphones. There’s only so much you can do on a relatively tiny screen. Using the mobile Office version on an Android tablet or Apple iPad, however, should drastically improve your work output while you’re on the go. Connect a dedicated keyboard and mouse to boost your productivity further.
Some smartphones and tablets may also be powerful enough to provide, with the right software, a full-fledged desktop computing experience. For instance, here’s what Office looks like on a high-end smartphone running on Samsung DeX:
The mobile version of Microsoft Office should have all the standard viewing and editing features to get you going. However, advanced editing features that are found in desktop Office apps may be missing from the mobile version.
Also, note that there’s a screen size limit of 10.1 inches for editing in the mobile Office apps. Devices with larger screen sizes require a Microsoft 365 subscription. This limit also applies to Samsung DeX.
Use the online/web version of Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is available for free online. You only need to create an account and sign in at Office.com. Similar to Google’s online office suite, this web-based Office allows you to create, view, and edit files, which are stored in the OneDrive cloud storage. You can also share documents and collaborate with other users in real-time.
The great thing about the free Office for the web is that after account setup you can immediately proceed to start working on documents on your browser. You don’t have to download and install anything. The downside? You must stay online to work on your documents. If you’re cut off from the Internet, the web-based Office apps will switch to view-only mode. Make sure you reconnect before closing any Office tabs so you don’t lose any unsaved changes.
And like the mobile apps, the web Office version does not have all the features users enjoy in the paid desktop version. Also, your free account entitles you to a mere 5GB of OneDrive storage space, which is easily used up if you frequently deal with documents with heavy multimedia content.
Use the trial version of Microsoft Office
Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office apps are available under the Microsoft 365 subscription service, which you can test for free using a one-month trial. To get the trial, you’ll have to sign up and provide your payment information. Accepted payment methods are credit cards, debit cards, GCash, and PayPal. To avoid getting charged, remember to cancel your trial within 30 days of signing up.
After the trial period, you can still use Office to access your documents but only in a view-only mode. You won’t be able to edit or create additional documents.
Make the most of a Microsoft 365 subscription
Try asking family or a friend if they have an extra slot on their subscription that you can take. Who knows, maybe they’ll give it to you for free. Or you can chip in and divide the cost. With a Microsoft 365 Personal subscription, a single user can install and use Office apps on up to five devices at the same time. The limit is increased to six users on a Family subscription, with each person allowed to install Office apps on up to 5 devices at the same time.