Can I Download Outlook for Free?

Use MS Office free... for a while

How to download Outlook for free

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Yes, you can download Outlook for free, but 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.

These instructions apply to Office 365 for Windows and Mac.

How to Get a Free Outlook Trial

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.

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. You can cancel the trial to avoid payment.

  1. Microsoft Outlook home page
  2. Select the Try for free button and then select For home or For business, depending on how you'll use it.

    For home button on Outlook page
  3. Choose TRY 1-MONTH FREE on the next page.

    Try 1-Month Free button
  4. If asked, sign in to your Microsoft account.

    If you receive 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.

    Screenshot of MS login screen
  5. Click Next on the first screen.

    Screenshot of Signup page
  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 will start automatically.

    Screenshot of payment method page
  7. Follow the on-screen steps to add your payment information.

    Screenshot of credit card entry page
  8. Click Subscribe to actually start the trial.

    Subscribe button on Office page
  9. Select Install to download Office 365, which includes Microsoft Outlook.

Now that you've downloaded Outlook and the other Office 365 programs, you can install it like any other program. Just double-click the trial program you downloaded and let the installer put all the Office programs on your computer.

Screenshot of an Office 365 trial installation
Installing Office 365.

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

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.

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 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.