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It is possible to access Microsoft Word for free, however, and most modern devices are supported. Here's how to access it.
The short answer is simple: yes. Microsoft Word can be used for free.
There's one important requirement you must fulfill. You need a Microsoft account. All modern versions of Word require you to log in with a Microsoft account, even if you have no intention of paying.
Using Microsoft Word for free comes with limitations. These vary based on your platform but, in general, using a free edition of Microsoft Word will restrict formatting and page setup options to a basic set of tools. You won't have access to citations, a bibliography, or advanced proofing, to name a few.
Microsoft Word Online is the quickest, easiest way to use Microsoft Word for free. It’s available through a web browser (just like Google Docs) on Windows, macOS, and Linux, and supports all major web browsers including Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. You’ll need an Internet connection.
Word Online automatically uses Microsoft OneDrive for storage, so documents that you save are accessible on any device with an Internet connection. OneDrive’s free plan has a storage limit of 5GB, but, because Word documents are small in size, you can write and store hundreds of documents (so long as they only contain text or small images). Alternatively, you can download your Word document to your PC before closing the web browser.
Using Android or iOS? Word Online is not meant for mobile, so by default, the website will redirect you to the mobile app. However, you may be able to get around this by having the mobile browser request the desktop website. The process of requesting the desktop mode depends on your platform: Android [Request Desktop Mode on Android] or iPhone [Request Desktop Mode on iPhone].
If you are going to go the mobile route, Microsoft offers the free Microsoft Office app for Android and iOS. You can download it from the Google Play Store on Android or Apple App Store on iOS.
The Microsoft Office app is different from the older Microsoft Word app. The Office app is the most recent, best way to access Word on mobile. It bundles Word with other popular Office apps including Excel and PowerPoint.
The app still requires a Microsoft account to set up and will save documents to OneDrive by default. Unlike Word Online, however, you can use the app offline and save documents directly to your phone or tablet.
The Office app is a bit more basic than Word Online. It can be used to edit text and for formatting, such as changing font size and color or adding bullet points, and also supports proofreading. You won't find as many page layout options, especially when used on a smartphone.
Despite this, the Office app is far better to use on mobile than Word Online, which is often buggy or slow on a mobile device. The Office app feels slick and fast even on a smartphone or tablet that's several years old.
There's an important version of Microsoft Word you can't use for free: the local desktop app for Windows.
This is a source of confusion for those who buy a new Windows computer. Most Windows installations have Office apps installed by default. It's possible to launch the desktop Word app and view documents for free, but document editing is locked until you pay.
The Mac app also requires payment to edit documents.
Microsoft Word Online and the Microsoft Office app for mobile are the most common ways to use Word for free. However, there are a few situations that might let you access Word without paying.
Students and teachers may be able to get Microsoft 365 for free, and therefore get Word free. Visit Microsoft's Office 365 web page to check your eligibility by entering a school email address and selecting Get Started.
Check out our reviews of the best free online word processors to find a free Microsoft Word alternative. Options include Google Docs, Zoho Writer, ONLYOFFICE Personal, and Calmly Writer Online.
To get Microsoft Word for Mac, download it from the Mac App Store as a standalone app or as part of the Microsoft 365 bundle. However, either way, you'll need a Microsoft 365 subscription. To test the program on your Mac, sign up for a free trial of Microsoft 365.
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