Note: if you already have an Office 365 subscription, you’re entitled to Office 2016 for free. Regardless, these steps will work, whether you’re on the latest auto-updated version or the slightly older Office 2013.
If you think we’ve missed a legal method to download Office for free from Microsoft, please do share it in the comments.
How to Obtain Legal Office Installation Files
1. From an Office 365 Subscription
If you have an active Office 365 subscription, you’re entitled to download the full versions of some of the most popular Office applications, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This is also applicable if your business has an Enterprise license.
Navigate to the Office account page and log in with the email address your Office license is tied to, whether that’s a personal or organization account. Fill out your details, click Sign in, and click Install Office to navigate to your account. To begin the download click Install.
If you’re using an enterprise account, you should be redirected to your organization’s Office page, where you can click Install now to grab the programs. However, ensure you untick Make Bing your search engine and Make MSN your browser homepage before doing so, unless that’s what you want of course.
2. From a License Key
If your new system came with a copy of Office, it may already be pre-installed. If not, you should have been provided with a product key from the manufacturer, which you can use to download Office from Microsoft.
Alternatively, if you had a copy of Office on disc which is now broken or misplaced, you can use the same method to download replacement installation files.
Whatever your situation, head to Microsoft’s Download Office page and input your 25-character product key. Click Next, then sign in to your Microsoft account. Once your settings are confirmed, you’ll be given a link to download your relevant version of Office.
3. Order a Backup Disc
This isn’t a download, nor is it completely free, but it’s still worth including on this list as an alternative way to get your copy of Office. If you have a disc copy of Office and want to order an additional copy, you can do so for a small fee and have it shipped to you.
For this, go to the Microsoft Office install media site. Input your product key, select your language, and verify with a CAPTCHA. Next, follow the rest of the steps through to order your replacement disc.
An alternative method would be to go to your account page, where you can choose to purchase a disc, and have it shipped to you, or alternatively you can download an ISO which you can burn to a disc yourself.
The installation process will be essentially the same across all the methods. It’s incredibly simple and quick. First, open the installation file from the disc or download. A window will appear to detail that Office is being installed.
When complete, a message will read “You’re all set! Office is installed now” and you’ll see an animation of where to find the Office programs on your computer. It’ll depend on your operating system exactly where they are stored, but they will be in the Start Menu and you can always do a Windows system search if needed.
When you open an Office program for the first time, it will ask you to agree to the license agreement, so click Accept if you do. You might also see the Microsoft Office Activation Wizard; follow the instructions for this. It’s always best to select I want to activate the software over the Internet for the speediest activation.
These methods are all well and good if you already own Office, but perhaps you’re looking for a free Office alternative. If that’s the case, check out our guide on how to get Word for free – and yes, it’s completely legal!
If you need a full office suite package and aren’t willing to pay out, you might want to look into alternative products