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
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.
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 Home & Student 2010
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
Option 3: Buy an old versionUp 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.
Option 4: Upgrade Microsoft WorksUp 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:
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.
Option 6: Use the free online versionsFree 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.