Cheap office software for students

By Ali
Category: Financial | Date: Sun 12 Oct, 2008

Whatever you’re studying, chances are you’ll need to produce word-processed documents – and quite possibly spreadsheets and slideshow presentations – at some point during your studies. Don’t fork out hundreds of pounds for Microsoft Office; use a free alternative or get the full version of Microsoft Office at a cut-price student rate. Here’s how…

Free software (for anyone, not just students)

When I was an undergrad, I used Open Office for word processing and the occasional spreadsheet. It can save and open .doc files, and has similar features to Microsoft Office. I did struggle to get footnotes to work smoothly the Open Office version of Word (this may have just been me…) and I’ve been using Microsoft Office 2003 for the past couple of years.

For students who switch between a Mac/PC/Linux machine, Open Office is a great way to keep all your files compatible, as it runs on multiple operating systems. (You can see the full list on Wikipedia.)

If you want to give Open Office a try, download it while you’re on your university’s super-fast connection rather than at home! You can find out more, and get it from:
The Open Office site.

Microsoft Office for students

The best deal for students comes straight from Microsoft itself, on a site called “The Ultimate Steal”, which has oddly little publicity. You can get Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for just £38.95 ($59.95 in the US) and it includes:

  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • Outlook 2007
  • PowerPoint 2007
  • Publisher 2007
  • Access 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • Groove 2007
  • InfoPath 2007
  • OneNote 2007

The site is 100% legit, and it really is a bargain price – I’m planning to get it myself. (I used Office 2007 in my tech support job, and once I got used to the new interface, found it much slicker and easier to use than 2003.)

Note that in order to be eligible, you’ll need to have an academic email address, and be enrolled either on an undergrad or postgrad course, or studying on a further education course with at least 15 hours of contact time per week. As far as I can tell, it only allows one user licence (there doesn’t seem to be anything specific about this on the site). The offer runs until June 30th, 2009.

If you don’t want to go via Microsoft, or want something slightly different, you could try the following sites instead:

Software 4 Students, which offers the standard Microsoft Office 2007 package with 2 licences (meaning you could install it on your home PC and your laptop, or split the cost with a friend or sibling) for just £35.50. The standard package includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. Again, you’ll need a university email account.

They also have Microsoft Office Enterprise, Professional and Mac, as well as various other Microsoft items for musicians, programmers, web designers and more.

Alternatively, Amazon offers Microsoft Office Student and Home 2007 for £58.98. This includes three licences, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. Don’t forget to go via Nectar if you have a Nectar card, and use your NUS Extra discount if you have an NUS Extra card…

Whichever way you choose to get MS Office, remember that the licence lasts for ever – so if you’ll be graduating this summer, get the software while you still have your student status!

Have you found MS Office cheaper anywhere (a legit version, not one on an unmarked CD from your dodgy mate)? Do you know of a great free alternative to MS Office other than Open Office? Or will you be taking advantage of one of the great deals above? Tell us in the comments…


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