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As far as word processors go, Microsoft Word is still the king. Even today, we keep discovering hidden Word features 10 Hidden Microsoft Word Features That Will Make Your Life Easier 10 Hidden Microsoft Word Features That Will Make Your Life Easier Microsoft Word is deceptively simple. You are fine as long as you fire up a document and just type. But Microsoft Word wouldn't be the Swiss knife it is without its productive features. Read More  that make our lives easier. And just as surprising, we keep discovering new ways to get access to Word.

Here are all the ways to get Microsoft Word and almost all of them are free.

Word Viewer

Platforms: Windows
Price: Free

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Do you just want to be able to view, copy, and print Microsoft Word files offline, but don’t want to pay for it? Microsoft’s Word Viewer is what you need. It’s an officially supported free download, which lets you open any Word file format like DocX How to Open Microsoft Word 2007 DOCX Files How to Open Microsoft Word 2007 DOCX Files Read More , copy the text to another word processor, or print it. You will need the Office Compatibility Pack with it.

Warning: Microsoft will prompt you to download and install other files along with this; make sure you deselect everything except Word Viewer and the Office Compatibility Pack.

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Office Online

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free

The first thing you need to know is that you don’t have to pay for Microsoft Word 6 Ways You Can Use Microsoft Office Without Paying For It 6 Ways You Can Use Microsoft Office Without Paying For It Read More . If you have an active Internet connection, you can use the free Office Online instead.

We can think of a few reasons why you should use free Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More  instead of paying Microsoft to use Word. For starters, you can access documents through a web browser on any computer. It also accurately retains Microsoft Word formatting unlike other apps. It’s an easy step to cloud computing for anyone who is already hooked into the Microsoft Office ecosystem.

However, you can’t use Office Online without an Internet connection. When you need an offline office suite, fully installed on your own PC, then good old Office is still your best bet.

Office 2016 Preview

Platforms: Windows, Mac
Price: Free Trial on Windows (expires in September), Requires Office 365 Subscription for Mac

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Right now, you can actually download Microsoft Word for free on Windows, thanks to the company’s beta test of the upcoming Office 2016. The Office 2016 Preview can be downloaded and installed to your Windows or Mac computer, without paying anything or even having to save your credit card information somewhere for a future payment. Along with Word, you will also get Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

However, the Office 2016 Preview is only available on a trial basis for a limited amount of time—120 days from when you install it. The program won’t be accessible once the trial period expires, or after Office 2016 is officially released in September.

That said, Office 2016 has smart and subtle changes A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes Office 2016 for Mac was just released and the Windows version will follow in the fall. We show you the new look and features of the world's most popular productivity suite. Will you upgrade? Read More that make it a more powerful application than ever before. Particularly, the new “Tell Me” Box is a great addition, which gives you vital tips and help when you need it most. And in Word, you will also get real-time co-authoring, for actual collaborative work Team Working: 10 Tips For Effective Real-Time Online Collaboration Team Working: 10 Tips For Effective Real-Time Online Collaboration Read More .

If you’re on a Mac, you can just grab Office 2016 as long as you have an Office 365 subscription. More on that at the end of this article.

Download: Office 2016 Preview for Windows and Office 2016 Preview for Mac

Microsoft Word Mobile

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows 10 (touchscreens)
Price: Free

Recently, Microsoft is making great apps for Android How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone How Microsoft Took Over My Android Phone It's honestly surprising how many Microsoft apps are available for Android -- and they're really good! Read More and even on iOS Microsoft Loves Apple – These Mac and iOS Apps Prove it Microsoft Loves Apple – These Mac and iOS Apps Prove it Stuffy, boring, insular. These are three adjectives that have been used to describe the Microsoft of yesteryear. But that Microsoft is gone. They've changed. Radically. Read More . The Redmond giant has separated its Office suite into individual apps on mobile operating systems, so you can actually download a full-fledged version of Microsoft Word without needing to get Excel, PowerPoint, and the others. And yes, it’s completely free.

Perhaps the best part about Microsoft Word on mobile is how well it represents documents filled with charts and graphics. This has historically been a problem on most mobile office suites, but such files show up perfectly on Word Mobile, scroll through smoothly without lagging, and are smartly optimized for mobile screens. Indeed, the new Word Mobile apps show why Microsoft is king of the office suites Microsoft Office For Android vs. Google Docs: Which Is Better? Microsoft Office For Android vs. Google Docs: Which Is Better? Read More  and not Google Docs.

Download: Word Mobile for AndroidWord Mobile for iOS, and Word Mobile for Windows 10

Note: If you are on an older version than Android 4.4 Kit Kat, you will need to download Microsoft Office Mobile for Android instead.

Office 365

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows tablets
Price: Free Trial and Paid Subscriptions (prices starting at $6.99/$9.99 per month)

If you temporarily need the full version of Word installed on your PC or Mac, you should go with an Office 365 subscription. Until a few years ago, buying Microsoft Office was a one-time cost, but a hefty one. Now, Microsoft has embraced the subscription model, which actually increases the price but makes a lot of sense if you are using Office on multiple computers for your whole family. Plus, there are some cool freebies packaged with it.

So why should you be willing to pay more? The new Office 365 subscription model An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? Office 365 is a subscription based package that offers access to the latest desktop Office suite, Office Online, cloud storage, and premium mobile apps. Does Office 365 provide enough value to be worth the money? Read More not only gets you Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher, but it also adds 1TB of OneDrive storage and 60 Skype world minutes.

The Office 365 Home package is available for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. If you plan on sharing your Office with members of your family, this is the best value-for-money deal you can get. It basically applies to five users; so you can install Office offline on five computers (PC or Mac), five tablets, five phones, and get the aforementioned 1TB storage and 60 Skype minutes for five users each. And you also get some additional features for Word Mobile on your smartphone:

office-365-mobile-comparison

The cheaper Office 365 Personal package costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, but supports only one user for the storage and Skype minutes, and offline installation on one computer, one tablet, and one phone.

If you don’t like the new subscription model, you can purchase Office at a one-time cost varying from $139.99 to $399.99. Here’s the difference between the Office packages.

Students can get Office 365 for free Students Can Get Microsoft Office 365 for Free Students Can Get Microsoft Office 365 for Free Starting on December 1st, Universities that license Office Education for their faculty and staff can offer students Office 365 ProPlus for free. Read More , if your school supports it. You can check out eligibility on the official site. However, be warned that the 1TB of OneDrive storage is associated with your school’s account, which means a school administrator can change permissions and access.

Like students, non-profit organizations can get Office 365 Nonprofit for free. Professionals can check out Office 365 for Business to find out more plans.

Have You Left Word Behind? Are You Coming Back?

Microsoft Word has always been a fantastic word processor, but its price meant that several users moved away from it. Microsoft seems to be correcting that now, with several ways to use Word for free. If you’re using Word or another Microsoft Office product, it’s time to re-consider which Office suite is right for you Which Office Suite Is Best for You? Which Office Suite Is Best for You? You'll be pressed to find an occupation that doesn't require word or number processing of some sort. And you may wonder, is Microsoft Office really the best solution? Here are your options. Read More .

Are you a Word user who left and is happy with his new home? Are you tempted to come back, with all these new features?

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