Microsoft 365 is the modern rendition of the company’s classic Office suite, but you may prefer to use an older version that you purchased in the past. But how can you do this if you’ve lost the disk or have deleted it from your machine?
Well, it’s actually quite easy, as we’ll show you.
Which versions of Microsoft Office are still available?
At the time of writing, all Office versions from 2010 and earlier are no longer supported, meaning you can’t download them from Microsoft's website. Since then, though, the company has started linking Office products to your account, so it’s still possible to get copies of 2013, 2016, 2019 and of course Microsoft 365.
How do I download older versions of Microsoft Office?
To get your older version of Office, go to the Microsoft website and log into your Microsoft account. This will need to be the same one that you used to purchase the previous version of Office, as the product key will be attached to that one.
Once logged in, click on the Service & subscriptions option that you’ll see at the top of the page.
All of the versions of MS Office you’ve purchased in the past (2013 and onwards) should be listed in the main pane, along with your product key. If the latter isn’t the case, read our tutorial on how to find your Microsoft product key.
Once you’ve located the correct version and have your product key, click the Install button to begin the download process. If you want the 64-bit version, a good idea on modern computers, or if you want to use Office in a different language, click Other options then select the one that best matches your requirements.
When the download is complete, double click the file to start the installation. Just follow the onscreen instructions and you should be good to go in no time.
Can I download older versions of Office for free?
While you can no doubt locate sites that will let you download a version of Microsoft Office for free, you won’t be able to (legally) use the product unless you have made a note of the product key. Since these sites host Office without permission, we're not going to recommend any, and you should certainly make sure your computer is protected by good antivirus software if you're going to go down that route.
Microsoft has never made Office available as a completely free product, so expect to pay if you want access to its capabilities. There are other options though, as you can always hunt on eBay for an old physical copy of Office 2010 or earlier, although always check to see if it has already been activated as the license is usually only good for installing on one machine.
The good news is that you can get a perfectly good free alternative which is compatible with Microsoft Office document formats. One example is LibreOffice which is a fully-fledged office suite, complete with alternatives to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. There's no catch - it's open source, free software.
Want something you can use in a web browser without downloading anything? Why not use Google’s Office apps? They offer all the features most people need and if you already have a Google account, you already have access to them. Worried you can't print from an online word processor? You can!