If you're working with text-based documents, Microsoft Word is pretty much the standard. But to use the software you'll usually either have to buy it outright or sign up to a subscription.
So, is there any way to get it for free on your Mac? Technically yes, but you might be better off with an alternative instead. In this article we walk you through your options.
Following 'How to get Word for free videos' on YouTube
It takes about 30 seconds to find videos on YouTube that will show you how to download, install and get Word (plus all the other MS Office software) up and running on your Mac for nothing.
These might look enticing, but the truth is that all the ones we've investigated require some sort of serial code-cracking program to be bought and downloaded to your machine. While this might seem like a victimless crime to some - Microsoft are a multi-billion-dollar company while the user is just a single person with no money - the real victim is most likely to be you.
It's true that some hackers are benevolent, wanting only to free the information so that anyone can use it, but sadly others are most definitely not. Downloading and installing things like this on your Mac is one of the easiest ways to contract malware or spyware software that can cause havoc with your data. That's aside from the fact that you're contravening copyright, which is rather naughty.
Our advice would be to keep well away from these 'free' routes to Word.
Have you tried Microsoft Office Online?
If your needs are simple, then the free online version of Microsoft Word is the best option. You'll need to create a free Microsoft account, but after that you'll have access to a stripped-down version of the word processor that supports Word document formatting and can create, edit, and save new or existing files.
The one major restriction is that Word Online, as the name suggests, is only available via your browser when you have an internet connection. It's not going to be something you'll use for heavyweight documents, but for resumes, smaller projects, letters, reports and other basic documents it could well be a very useful tool.
Get a free month of Office365
Those who only need to use Word for a short period - maybe to work on a project - have the option to sign up for a month's free trial of the full Office365 suite, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and OneDrive.
These are all the most up-to-date versions of the software which normally costs £79.99/$99.99 per year for the Home version that entitles users to share the apps with up to six people or £59.99/$69.99 for the Personal tier which supports a single person.
These are both also available on monthly subscriptions costing, respectively, £7.99/$9.99 or £5.99/$6.99. Alternatively, you can make a one-off purchase for the Personal suite for £119.99/$149.99.
Free alternatives to Microsoft Word
Unless you specifically need Microsoft Word, you'll find that there are plenty of great word processors out there that won't cost you a penny. Any new Mac will come with a free copy of Apple's Pages software, which is a hugely powerful tool for creating and editing documents, and also works well with its iOS/iPadOS counterpart app.
Google Docs is a perennial favourite as the web-based software is free and easy to use. You won't find incredibly advanced features like those on the full-blown Microsoft Word, but for most people it's all they'll ever need.
LibreOffice Writer is another one that's always worth checking out. The open-source software is completely free and yet offers a complete solution for those who want the functionality of MS Word. Yes, it's not quite the smooth and aesthetically pleasing experience of its inspiration, but you can get so much done on Writer that you won't care.
For a roundup of other options, check out our Best Mac word processor roundup.
Remember that the iPad version of Microsoft Word is free
It's worth considering that you can get MS Word for free on your iPad or iPhone. While the latter can be something of a challenge due to the screen size, iPads are an excellent option if you have a Bluetooth keyboard.
It's not just Word that's free, as you can also download Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote too, with the only limitation being that the free status is limited to devices with screen sizes under 10.1in. Sadly, this rules out newer iPad Pros and the iPad 10.2in 2019, for example, but on smaller models it's a steal. For more details on this deal, read How to get free Microsoft Office on iPad & iPhone.