How to Use Microsoft Office for Free on the Web

I work with many small businesses who generally don’t have a need for Microsoft Word or Excel or other Office applications. They haven’t invested in Microsoft 365 when those funds could go toward something that has a direct impact on their business growth.

But when communicating a digital strategy or developing a website there is a need for exchanging and sometimes collaborating on documentation.  Google Docs could be an option but the output is clunky and doesn’t always work without workarounds.
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Instead of buying and installing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your computer, you can use free, cloud-based versions these programs in your browser.  They don’t have all the bells and whistles of the paid versions but for many people they are enough. And rather than store your files and documents on your computer, you save them to Microsoft OneDrive, the cloud-based storage service.

First, you’ll need a free Microsoft Account. If you have a Hotmail, Outlook or Live account you may already have one.  If you don’t already have one, set it up at the Microsoft Account website. A Microsoft Account includes 5GB of free cloud storage in OneDrive.

Second, go to the Office website and click the “Sign in” button. Sign in with your Microsoft Account, and you’re forwarded to the Office website.

Next, when the Office page opens you can “Create a new file” or click the “X” to close the pop-over screen and look for the “Upload and Open” link.  You can then upload the document that was sent to you and read, write, print or collaborate on the document.

For example once a Word document is uploaded and opened you can read or start editing.  The Word application will automatically save your work as you go.

At any point you can click on “File” in the upper left corner.  Here you can choose to “Save as” or “Print” or “Share” the document. Or you can open or create another a new document.

When you are done interacting with the document that had been sent to you, click on the blue “Share” button in the upper right corner. You can then fill in an email address along with a message and click “Send.”

Or you can click on the “Copy link” icon and paste that link into an email message. The recipient will then be able to open the document that was stored safely in the One Drive Cloud.

Now you can always open and use the free versions of Word, Power Point, Excel and more.  For great training direct from Microsoft support watch these Office for the Web training videos.

Of course if you want to use Microsoft 365, visit our Marketplace to choose the version right for you.

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