It's a common misconception that Windows comes complete with Microsoft Office for every user. However, there are ways of getting Office on Windows 10 for free, including Word, plus on iOS and Android.
If you've got a new PC, laptop or tablet and want Microsoft Office, there are ways of getting it for free (though some restrictions apply and we'll explain the ins and outs) and we're going to show you how. Also, there are plenty of free alternative office suites which are compatible with Microsoft's version.
On 24 September, Microsoft announced a new version of Office, which includes new Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. Office 2019 is available now for volume license customers, and will be available for all customers in the "coming weeks." Find out more about Office 2019 here.
Download the free Office apps for iOS, Android and Windows
Microsoft's current strategy for Office means that you can download its mobile apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for free on a wide range of devices including Android and iOS. You can download these apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 using the links below.
While these are free for any device, they don't simply allow you full access to all the functions, with the full functionality held back for Office 365 subscribers.
You'll always be able to open and read documents for free, but can only create and edit them for free on a device with a screen smaller than 10.1 inches. That means you can edit Word documents from a smartphone or small tablet, but if you're on a larger tablet, laptop, or desktop PC you can only view them.
On iOS, the distinction is simpler at least: you can create and edit documents for free on any iPhone, regular iPad, or iPad Air or Mini, but iPad Pro users can only view files.
It's worth noting that even on a device with a smaller screen, you only get what Microsoft calls the 'core' Office experience, with some editing tools and features held back from free users.
You can get the apps here:
Try Office 365 for free
Being able to view documents alone isn't much use of course, so anyone on a PC, laptop or tablet with a screen bigger than 10.1in will want something more than that.
The easiest option is just to sign up for Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-based subscription service, which costs from £5.99/$6.99 per month for a personal account. It uses the exact same apps listed above, but simply unlocks their full feature set on any device, while saving your work in the cloud so that you can access it wherever you are.
The good news is, there's a one-month free trial of Office 365, so you can try it for free without committing to paying a penny.
If you need more functionality than the Office apps give you for free, but don't want to pay for Office 365, there are various alternatives to Microsoft Office out there that are completely free.
Our recommendation is LibreOffice which is a full suite that's regularly updated and allows you to open and save documents in Microsoft formats. You can download LibreOffice here.
Otherwise, check out our guide to the best free alternatives to Word for more options.