While you can freely use some Microsoft Office products in online or mobile form, you’ll find that many core features are missing in the web versions. If you want to buy the desktop versions, it can be pretty costly — unless you take advantage of Microsoft’s Home Use Program.
Here’s how it works: Once you’ve loaded the Home Use Program page, you can select your location from the dropdown menu. If you’re in the U.S., you’re looking at a $9.95 price tag for almost $300 worth of products. U.K. users pay £9.95.
You can choose between two suites: Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2016 (which gets you Outlook, Publisher, Access, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) or Microsoft Office Home and Business 2016 for Mac (which gets you Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook).
After you’ve selected your location, enter your work or school email and hit Submit. If the organization you’re affiliated with has an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, one of two things will happen:
- You may be immediately granted access to the discounted price and can go ahead and purchase the suite of your choice.
- You’ll have to get your organization’s program code to validate your eligibility. They recommend contacting your organization’s benefits administrator for assistance.
It’s also worth noting that just because Microsoft prompts you for that program code doesn’t mean your company is enrolled. There’s a chance that you won’t be eligible for the discount. Some of the fine print about this offer includes:
- You only get one purchase per employee.
- You’re paying for a temporary license which expires if your organization leaves the program or if you leave the organization.
Note that while this is a great way to get Microsoft Office for cheap, you can use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Online for free, and that may be the better option for you depending on your circumstances. Consider it!