If the cost of purchasing an Office software license is holding you back from learning some new office skills, you may be interested in the following 5 tips on how to learn office skills on a budget:

 1.  Use Free Office Software

Apache Open Office is a free, open-source office suite used for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  Apache Open Office comes with a full suite of products including Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Impress for creating presentations, Base for database management, Math, an equation editor and Draw for creating graphics.  The software is easy to download and install from the OpenOffice website.

Office Online offers free web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote that let you create, view, edit, and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes.  You do not need an Office 365 subscription to collaborate and work together on team projects or group assignments.   This free version of Office is perfect if you need an office suite for creating just basic documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases.   If you need more advanced features such as mail merge, you will need to purchase the full suite of software.  To access and use Office Online, you will need to create a Microsoft Account login.  Once logged in, you will be able to begin creating your office documents right away.

2.  Save Your Files in the Cloud :

OneDrive:  OneDrive allows you to easily store and share photos, videos and documents for free. You automatically get 15 GB of free storage when you sign up at office.com.   You can also access OneDrive from any device you own which makes storing and accessing your files easy and convenient.

3.  Use Online Notetaking Software

OneNote:   Get up to date with notetaking by using this free digital notebook from Microsoft that you can use on your PC, Mac, phone or tablet.  You’ll find it’s very easy to type, handwrite or sketch your thoughts into OneNote.   In addition, you can also embed tables, attach files, insert links, webpages, photos and videos into your notes.   OneNote also allows you to organize and save your notes in notebooks and sections for easy retrieval and sharing with classmates, colleagues or co-workers.

4.  Buy a Subscription of Office

Office 365 University:  If you want the full fledged version of Office and you’re a student or faculty member, you can purchase Office 365 for just $79.99 USD for a four-year subscription.  This will get you the latest Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook) for two devices, including PCs, Macs, iPads, or Windows tablets.

5.  Access Free Tutorials or take an Office Skills Class

Now that you’ve learned how to obtain or access a version of Office software for free, take advantage of some of the readily available free tutorials to get started using your software.  Free Microsoft Office Tutorials can be found at http://officeskills.org/microsoft-office-tutorials.html.   For more in-depth learning, take one of the affordable office skills classes offered on officeskills.org.  View our schedule at http://officeskills.org/ecourse_schedule.html.