Microsoft Excel is a well-known and powerful spreadsheet application that is available standalone or as part of the Microsoft Office or 365 suite of applications. However, buying Excel by itself can often be more expensive than bundling it or even using the free version available online.
Below you see the Microsoft Office and 365 suites of products and the standalone version of Excel. So you could be saving by not buying Excel as a standard alone product and bundling it or paying for the cloud version.
|Microsoft 365 Personal||$69.99 / year|
|Microsoft 365 Family||$99.99 / year|
|Microsoft Office 2021 Complete||$249.99|
|Microsoft Office 2021 Home||$149.99|
|Microsoft Office Excel||$159.99|
Is There a Free Version of Microsoft Excel?
Microsoft Excel does not have a standalone free version; however, Microsoft Office Online provides a stripped-down version of Excel and the other core components of Microsoft Office for free.
Microsoft Office Online is free for life, but you must have an internet connection at all times to use this version of Excel. You’ll get all of the Office core components for free, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even 5 GB of cloud storage, which you could use to replace your other cloud storage services.
Depending on what features you need, getting the Microsoft Office Online service for free may cover everything you need and save you at least $70 per year.
How to Download Free Microsoft Excel
The free version of Microsoft Excel can not be downloaded, and you must use an internet-connected device with a web browser to access Excel.
To access Microsoft Excel Online for free, simply go to Outlook.com and select the “Free Account” option, which will let you create a new account and give you access to Excel and all the other core Office products.
If you require offline access, you must get either Microsoft Office or Microsoft 365, both of which have a trial, and you can download those versions to your desktop or use them on your mobile apps.
What Can Free Version of Microsoft Excel Do?
Microsoft Excel Online is best suited for minor spreadsheet creation or modification, and it has many limitations in the features available to it, so basic usage is recommended. However, any core components of Excel are still available; you can view, create, print any spreadsheets.
What you’ll find is many of the advanced features, addons, and formulas are not available in the free online version, so it’s suited for personal use and not business use.
Take a look at the complete list of features currently available in free Excel online.
Difference Between Free and Paid Microsoft Excel
The free version of Microsoft Excel is best suited for personal users that just want to create, edit, or view simple spreadsheets and don’t need any of the advanced functionality that many businesses may require.
It’s a great option to build budgets or other home financial use, or even some high school work, and a free option to train in Excel. As long as you have an internet connection, it’s a perfect basic spreadsheet product.
A paid version of Microsoft Excel or the Microsoft 365 suite of products would be a better option for anybody that requires advanced spreadsheet manipulation and wants to retain functionality with other spreadsheet products. If you require offline or desktop usage, the free product will not meet your needs.
|Microsoft Office Free||Microsoft Excel 2020||Microsoft 365|
|Free Version||100% Free||30-Day Trial|
|Full Office Applications||Core Applications||Excel Only||Full + extras|
|Desktop Versions||Desktop Only||✓|
|Multiple Installs||Web-Based Only||✓ , 5 desktop installs|
|Online Storage||5 GB||1 TB|
Can Free Version of Microsoft Excel Be Used on All Devices?
You can use Microsoft Excel for free from any device that is connected to the internet and has a web browser. It won’t be ideal or overly useful on mobile apps due to the size of the screen, but it is possible.
You can not work on the free version offline or in anything other than a web browser.
Is Microsoft Excel Still Free in 2023?
Microsoft is providing a free Office suite to any users that have an internet connection, you will never have to pay for the service, but you can’t use it offline or with native applications on your desktop or phone.
Microsoft Excel Online is best for anybody that only needs simply spreadsheets for personal use and for viewing any spreadsheets sent to them. Unfortunately, modifying external spreadsheets or creating complex or advanced spreadsheets will not be possible, and you’ll need a trial version or will have to pay for Microsoft Office, Excel, or Microsoft 365.
Click here to create an account and start using Microsoft Excel for free.
Benjamin is a certified financial advisor, with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is knowledgeable about various business and financial topics, such as retirement planning and investment management. Ben has been recognized for his work in the financial planning industry. He has also been featured in various publications.