Microsoft rolls out free Office for students, worldwide

microsoft office 365

In 2013, Microsoft said it would offer Microsoft Office 365 to U.S. students for free, provided their schools licensed the software for faculty and staff. Now, that offer is being extended worldwide.

Microsoft said Tuesday that the offer for free Office is being extended anywhere Office is available: from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, or dozens of countries around the world. As before, the school must license Office in order for its students to be eligible. 

How do you check? Students can go to and enter a school-provided email address, and teachers can visit the site and do the same. (Microsoft launched this self-serve service in the United States last September.)

Microsoft has warred with Google and other office-suite providers to convince businesses, governments, and other organizations to adopt Office—and it has quietly shifted away from a disc-based, one-time Office purchase to a subscription that can be budgeted for and automatically approved year in and year out.

Why this matters: Microsoft knows an Office 365 subscription is one of those productivity safe bets that gently lock in an organization to Microsoft’s products, and “train” students to prefer Office when they move on to the real world. Once there, students can buy their own personal Office 365 subscription if their employer goes another route. Previously, Microsoft tried to hook students with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, as well.

As in the United States, students gain access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher installed on up to five PCs or Macs, and on up to five mobile devices like iPad, Android, and Windows tablets; plus, Office Online and 1TB of OneDrive storage.

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