Can I Download Outlook for Free?

Picture of the MS Outlook logo
Microsoft Outlook Logo.

Microsoft, Inc.

Yes, you can download Outlook for free, but no, in the long run it is not free software.

Microsoft Outlook is a really popular email client, so it's not surprise to want to find a free Outlook download somewhere. Outlook can handle all your email accounts, supports email rules, and is fairly easy to use. The only problem is that it's not actually free software.

You can download Outlook for free only as part of a trial, meaning that the program can be used for a short time but then will stop working unless you activate it. Microsoft allows you to use Outlook at no cost in this way so that you can try it out and decide if you really want to buy the software.

It's really easy to get an Outlook trial, but if you decide not to keep using it, and therefore neglect to pay for it, you're stuck looking for another email program, preferably one that closely resembles Outlook. Fortunately, lots of options are out there for Outlook alternatives, even an online one from Microsoft itself.

How to Get a Free Outlook Trial

A free version of Outlook is provided as part of the trial, so all you have to do is download the trial from Microsoft's website.

Before getting starting, know that you will have to provide payment information even if you don't plan to buy at the end of the trial (it's easy to cancel the trial and avoid payment; there's more on that below the directions).

Screenshots showing how to get a free Office trial
Downloading MS Office for Free.
  1. Click the Try for free button.

  2. Select For home or For business, depending on how you'll use it.

  3. Choose TRY 1-MONTH FREE on the next page.

  4. If asked, sign in to your Microsoft account.

    It's easy to make a new Outlook.com account if you don't already have one.

    If you get a message that reads, "Sorry, this offer is for new customers only," you'll need to log in under a different email address than the one you used the last time you requested a free trial.


  5. Click Next on the first screen.

  6. Choose a payment method: Credit card or debit card, Bank account, or PayPal.

    Remember that you are not paying right now. You're only storing your information so that should you decide to subscribe to Office 365 on a yearly basis after the trial, you can just let the trial expire and the subscription start automatically. We'll look at cancelling the trial below.

  7. Follow the on-screen steps to add your payment information.

  8. Click Subscribe to actually start the trial.

  9. Once you're on the My Account page, use the Install > button to get to the download page.

  10. Download Office 365 with the Install button.

Now that you've downloaded Outlook and the other Office 365 programs, you can install it like any other program.

Screenshot of an Office 365 trial installation
Installing Office 365.

Just double-click the trial program you downloaded and let the installer put all the Office programs on your computer.

To avoid paying for Office 365 if all you wanted was the trial, don't forget to visit the Services and Subscription page on Microsoft's website to cancel the auto-payment that will happen after the trial. Your trial will continue until its expiration even if you cancel before it's over, but you won't be charged at the end of the 30 days.

What About Other Free Outlook Downloads?

Outlook is not free. Period. If you find a "free" Microsoft Outlook program, it is only advertised as such because there's a hack or tweak involved to fool the program into letting you use the program longer than the trial period.

It's important to avoid all programs that appear to be free Microsoft software, whether it be Outlook or another program like Excel, Access, Word, or PowerPoint. The only legitimate way to get Outlook for free is to download the trial as described above.

If you've already downloaded and/or installed a supposed free version of Outlook, delete it or uninstall it immediately, and scan your computer for malware. It's extremely common for hacked software to include viruses.

Has Outlook Ever Been Truly Free?

From April to June 1998, Microsoft offered the full version of Outlook 98 as a free download. That version of Outlook was also distributed as an add-in CD with computer magazines.

Later versions of Outlook were regularly available as trial versions for 30 to 60 days, either as standalone programs or as part of the Office suite.

Free Outlook Alternatives

There are plenty of email clients available for free, some that can compare to Microsoft Outlook and others that cannot. A few popular Outlook alternatives include Mozilla Thunderbird and Mailbird.

Microsoft also has online email access for every Microsoft email account, called Outlook Mail. There's also a calendar, an area to make tasks, and even free online access to Excel, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint.

Some other email clients that might have better features than the free ones include eM Client and Inky.