How to Buy Microsoft Office for Cheap

Cheap Office

Microsoft Office provides important productivity functions that many of us need to use on a daily basis, but at times the cost just seems so prohibitive! Thankfully though, you can buy Microsoft Office for cheap if you know where to look.

Here are some tips and ideas for getting a totally-legal discount off of the world’s most popular productivity suite:

  • Option 1: Buy the college student version

    $80 for
    4 Years

    Office 365 University

    Are you a full-time or even part-time college student? Buy Office 365 University for $80. It includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and Access.

    Office 365 University can be installed on two computers, so you can split the cost with your roommate and make it $40 apiece.

    The “catch” is that Office 365 University will expire after 4 years, so it won’t last beyond your time at college.

    Shop

    Bonus Tip #1: Office 365 University expires after 4 years (as mentioned above), but Microsoft’s previous university versions do not. (The old versions will last indefinitely, like normal software.) So if you’re okay with having an old version, you can still purchase Office University 2010 for Windows or Office Mac University 2011 while supplies last.

    Bonus Tip #2: If your university has a special agreement with Microsoft, you may be able to get Office for even cheaper. Ask around at your university’s bookstore for more info.

    If you’re not a college student, there are still other options for buying cheap Microsoft Office…

  • Option 2: Buy a family pack

    If you have multiple home computers for which you want to buy Office, consider buying an edition of Office with multiple licenses.

    The family pack for the latest version of Office requires you to purchase a monthly subscription, whereas the family pack for Office 2010 is a one-time purchase. If you’re okay with having an older version, Office Home & Student 2010 may save you money in the long run.

    $2/month per PC
    Office 365 Home Premium
    Office 365 Home Premium

    Newest Version
    Office Home and Student 2010
    Office Home & Student 2010

    Old Version
    As little as
    $2 per month per PC

    Costs $10/month and can be installed on up to 5 computers

    Total cost after 3 years: $300-360

    As little as
    $50 per PC

    Costs $150 (one-time payment) and can be installed on up to 3 computers

    Total cost after 3 years: $150

    Includes 2013 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access plus free upgrades to future versions Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
    Shop Shop
  • Option 3: Buy an old version

    Up to 50% off

    If you can do without the latest features in the newest Office release, you may be able to find older versions (like Office 2007 or Office 2003) at a discount at online stores like Amazon.com.

    Shop

  • Option 4: Upgrade Microsoft Works

    Up to 70% off

    If your computer is more than 3 years old, it may have come with a software package called Microsoft Works or Microsoft Works Suite. If so, you’re in luck, because owning either of those packages qualifies you for Office 2003/2007 upgrade pricing. This means you can buy an older version of Office at an even greater discount.

    For example: Office 2007 Ultimate (the highest-end edition) used to cost $680 when it was first released. Since it’s an old version, it now sells for about $350. But if you have Microsoft Works, you can buy the upgrade edition, which sells for about $200. That’s a 70% savings!

    (Unfortunately, Microsoft discontinued upgrade discounts for Office 2010 and 2013, so this only works for old versions of Office.)

    If you own Microsoft Works or Microsoft Works Suite, and are okay with having an older version of Office, then shop around for upgrade options:

    Shop

  • Option 5: Buy the employee version

    $10 if qualified

    If you’re an employee of a corporation that has a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, you may be eligible to purchase a $10 copy of Office that you’re eligible to use for as long as you remain employed with that company.

    Shop

  • Option 6: Use the free online versions

    Free but limited

    If you need only the very basics of Microsoft Office, check out Microsoft SkyDrive, a free service which includes access to online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. As an added plus, you can access your SkyDrive documents from any computer with Internet access.

  • Bonus Tip: Use a free alternative

    Office isn’t the only productivity suite out there. These free alternatives may be worth checking out. Look into Google Docs (which is similar to SkyDrive but has been around longer) or LibreOffice (a free, full-fledged Microsoft Office alternative). Both can export or save to Microsoft Word’s DOC format.

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40 Comments

  1. sally

    what about free open office type software – is that just like Word or Excel and compatible and easy to use if familiar with MS Office? I only need it for school. thank you

    • @sally: OpenOffice.org and its close cousin LibreOffice have interfaces that are fairly similar to those of Office 2003 and prior (i.e. they use menus, rather than the Ribbon interface of Office 2007 and later), but there are definitely some differences. They also have fewer features than Office does. Both OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice can open and save *.doc files (which all versions of Word support), and can open *.docx files (which is the default format for Word 2007 and later). Since OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice are free, you can download one or both and see for yourself if they can meet your needs.

  2. Danielle

    This was very, very helpful. Thank you so much for clearly showing all the options

  3. Natasha

    Thanks that was helpful

  4. rlene Engels

    I love the features in Word from my )ffice2000 Premium Package. I tried to upgrade to 2003, but couldn’t use any hyperlinks. I keep a doc of ad links to write my current puppy ad on so all is in one place. I had to drop 2003 because msg. kept saying the version wasn’t compatible with hyperlinks. However, I loved the improved Outlook 2003 over the 2000 vers. But every time i tried to install outlook only, the 2003 upgrade erased all 2000 software and replaced it. Thank God I use ‘Restore’ a lot.

    My question is that I’d like to know if Wood 2007 uses hyperlinks. I’d buy that pack and upgrade everything (except the defunct Photodraw) if I know I could be as productive. My left arm was amputated & reattached but there is no individual finger movement. Anything I can do to shorten my tasks minimizes the arthritis pain in my good hand, which includes keeping a page of clickable links along with notes re pix & cost. I just traded ‘up’ my 2000 computer for a used 2005 Dell & will be switching over to high speed from dial-up. I found a lot of iold programs don’t work well with this XP-Pro and would like to stay ahead of surprise software death that’s important to my day.

    I will understand if you don’t know about the 2007 version. Thanks anyway!

  5. I have Office 2007 (licensed), will I still be able to access Office Live?

  6. marie

    How can you buy a full fledge product (or better yet, why would you) and only be able to use it for academic studies – what happens when I graduate in a year? I am probably be obtuse, just does not make any sense to me – thanks.

    • Hi marie,
      Good question. The article was written when Microsoft offered Office 2010 Professional Edition, which was restricted to academic use only. The good news is that Microsoft has since renamed it to Office 2010 University, and the packaging no longer says it’s restricted to academic use — it just says you have to be a university student or faculty. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  7. Patricia

    Hi, and thanks for this information John.

    I was wondering how I can purchase Microsoft Project separately.

    I have a laptop with Office 2007, but I don’t have the discs or own the license.
    Can I purchase Project separately and install it? Do you know how much Project will cost me?

    Thanks for any information you may be able to provide!

  8. Bart Simpsoid

    noticed that your link to Office 365 is outdated…however, this article is still great.

  9. Hi John:

    Thank you for the information above. I signed up to attend classes (Search Engine Optimization and Marketing – one year certification) through my local community college and am taking them online full-time. The Microsoft Professional package would really help and I would like to purchase it but I think to qualify, you have to have a .edu e-mail address and I was not given one when I enrolled in school.

    Do you know any other way I can qualify for purchasing one of these packages at the discount rate? I think they use your e-mail address as the qualifier for the discount when you purchase. I didn’t know if there were any alternate ways to verify that I am a student etc. and thought I would ask. Thank you.

    Regards,

    Jeff Minner

    • Hi Jeff,
      I was in a similar situation when I bought the student version several years ago. I was taking a community college class but they didn’t give me a .edu email address for me to use. However, I was able to go to my community college’s website and sign up for an email address on their website. Perhaps your community college will give you an email address if you ask for it on their website or in person.

  10. Hello John:

    Thank you for your reply. I am going to e-mail the college and ask them if I can have an EDU e-mail address and let them know what I’m trying to accomplish. Hopefully I will have good luck.

    I came back to reply but I see that my comment was not in your comment list. I had hoped you would let me have a link back to my blog. Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards,

    Jeff Minner

  11. Clay

    If I purchase office 2007, do you send the cd’s or do I down load online?

    • Hi Clay,
      I don’t sell Microsoft Office myself; in this article, I just post links to places where you can get it for the best prices. Whether it’s delivered by disc or by download depends on which option you pick.

  12. peppermint patty

    i had the student version it didnt ask me for any student email at all just used a normal one. What I like too know if anyone knows where I can get a word for free for like a month till I can afford it its pretty pricey doesnt matter old word new word I just need program I perfer a download but a cdrom well do also. I have a mini i keep forgetting I have a cd drive i got lol but yeah i guess download or cd well do since i do have a cd rom

  13. G.M

    Thank for all of the information as to how to buy microsoft for cheap, better than all of the other stores that are out here they are at a higher price for the software, it was very helpful thanks alot.

  14. cengiz

    Thank you John! Cheap Office advices helped me a lot.

  15. Me

    i just bought a new PC and it came loaded with 2010 but they want $199 to unlock it with the product key. Their student version doesn’t have Outlook which I need. Can I buy the product key and use the software already loaded on the machine? I have 2007 so could I load it and not have the unlocked 2010 interfere with 2007?

  16. EmilyWu

    thank God I found this on google. This is VERY helpful. I am going to try one of your recommandations— LibreOffice. Hope it will work out as Microsoft Office. Thank you for posting this, John Lamansky.

  17. James price

    dear john thank you for the info on openoffice.org. I have decided to download this version of office and give it a try. I will post my thoughts later. thank you again James

  18. Stevan Hall

    Want to know 2 things:
    1). Is Office University 2010 the exact same as Office Professional 2010 or is it a tailored down version.

    2). Once I establish I am a university student, is this a permanent version or is it something I have to qualify for each and every year thereafter?

    • 1). It’s the exact same.

      2). Office 2010 University is permanent. You get to keep it forever. However, Microsoft is changing this for the 2013 version. The 2013 university version will only last for 4 years. So get the permanent 2010 version while you can!

  19. Laurie

    I purchased Office Home and Studentin 2012 and downloaded it 3 x on my lap ,desk top and again on my desk top once a virus attached itself to it. My desk top just crashed,so there goes the Micrsoft office. HOW CAN I RETIEVE MICROSOFT OFFICE FOR MY NEW COMPUTER?

    THANKS
    Laurie

    • If you still have your Office product key (check your order confirmation email), download the trial version of Home and Student 2010 onto your desktop, and then enter in the product key to unlock the full version of Office.

      If you don’t have your product key, contact Microsoft support and see what they can do.

  20. Jeff Moynihan

    came accross this post when looking for a cheaper option to prchasing microsoft office. My wife runs a small business and needs to get MS office but only really need excel and word for documentation purposes. I tried to open option 3 (microsoft skydrive) but it would not load the page, is this option no longer available?

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  21. Meghan Boyd

    In January 2012 I purchased Microsoft Professional for students (the one you mentioned in your article). I downloaded it off the internet and then they sent me a backup disc. If I buy a new computer will I be able to install Professional onto it from that backup disc?

    • Yes. You should be able to install it on your new computer without a problem. (There is a slight chance, however, that the installer will give you an “activation” error message, since Office was already installed on your previous computer. If that happens, you’ll need to call Microsoft’s activation hotline and just explain that you got a new computer, and they should be able to resolve it for you.)

  22. Tina Dufrene

    If my son uses one of the free versions like Skydrive at home and puts his work on a flash drive,will he be able to open it and work on it with Word at school?He’s in middle school and they can only use Word at school.

    • Skydrive includes free access to a “web app” version of Word. That means you can access your documents from any computer with a web browser (you just have to go to the Skydrive website and enter your username/password to access them). As long as the computers at your son’s school have Internet access and permit access to the Skydrive website, your son should be able to access his Skydrive documents from school without needing a flash drive at all.

  23. Kris

    John…Soooo helpful!!! Thanks for your info!

  24. Tracey

    I am considering purchasing Office 365 University as I am planning to go back to do my masters next year. I will finish my BSc in a few weeks time and so there will be a gap between then and when I enroll in January when I am not officially enrolled as a student. I have read that when you install Office you have to enter your uni email address to activate it but when happens if I have to reinstall it between courses? Or, is it just activated once, when you first install it? Also, what happens if you graduate before the 4 years subscription is up? Would you be able to reinstall it despite not having a uni email address any more to activate it with?

  25. Shelly

    On amazon, I see the lower price for the “open box”, what exactly is an open box? It says it has the CD and the product key but do you think that there are any installs left on that key?

  26. Kofi Amoako

    This is great help.

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