For decades, Microsoft’s Office apps have been the default when it comes to productivity. Huge numbers of people still turn to Word for creating and editing documents, while Excel and PowerPoint remain the go-to when it comes to managing spreadsheets or producing presentations.

Microsoft releases new standalone Office versions every few years, but the latest bundle will set you back £119.99/US$149.99/AU$199. It also means you won’t get the regular updates and new features associated with a Microsoft 365 subscription, but they’re pricey too.

If you’re a student, it's understandable if you’d be reluctant to spend so much on software, especially when the likes of Google Workspace offers similar features for free. However, Microsoft does offer special pricing for those in full-time education, including free access to Office 365 apps. Here’s everything you need to know.

Can I get Office 365 for free as a student?

Yes, although you’ll need to meet two criteria. Firstly, your school, college or university will need to be paying for access to Office 365 apps, although most usually are. You’ll then need to have an active a valid school email address, whether you’re a student or educator.

Once the verification process is complete, you’ll get full access to all the key Microsoft Office apps. We’re talking Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Microsoft Teams, alongside other tools designed for education. You’ll also get unlimited cloud storage in OneDrive.

This plan, known as A1, is all most students will ever need. However, there are also some cut-price premium subscriptions. For A3 at £2.20/US$2.50/AU$3.60 per user per month, you can also get Microsoft’s Publisher and Access apps, alongside a bookings tool. The £5.30/US$6/AU$8.70 per user per month A5 plan gets you extra security management, compliance and analytics systems, but it’s overkill for most people. See the full range of plans on the Microsoft website.

How to get Office 365 for free as a student

Provided you meet all the requirements, signing up for an Office for Education subscription is relatively simple:

  1. Head to the Office 365 page on Microsoft’s Education website - it’s available in the UK, US, Australia and many other countries around the world
  2. Enter your education email address and click ‘Get Started’
    Office 365 Education signup
  3. From the next screen, fill out your name and date of birth
  4. Check your email for a verification code, then copy and paste it to this screen
  5. After a few seconds, you should be redirected to office.com, where you can access all the relevant apps via the web. If you’d prefer, there’s also the option to download desktop versions of each

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