Microsoft Office 2013 is now available for free download as a 60 day trial for evaluation purposes.
The download is for the full Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 version which includes the usual home user products (Word, PowerPoint, OneNote and Excel) plus the more business focused Outlook, Access, Publisher, and Lync.
Office 2013 is expected to be released for sale within the next month so this is a good chance to try before you buy. It includes support for additional file formats and much better Cloud integration using SkyDrive plus several new features e.g. better ability to sync a Word document between different PCs, tweaks to the Ribbon user interface and a new way to buy Office.
Note: if you purchased Office 2010 recently (after October 19th 2012) you can claim a free upgrade to Office 2013 before April 30th 2013.
That article also details a potential catch with the way that Office 2013 is to be sold – all Office 2013 products will ship with a license for just 1 PC, not the 3 PCs that home users may have grown accustomed to. Alternatively, Office 365 offers you the chance to buy Office 2013 on an annual subscription basis – $100 per year for the Home Premium version, licensed for up to 5 PCs or Macs.
Download Office 2013 Trial – visit the download page and review the requirements – note that Office 2013 is only compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 7, not Vista or XP.
Then click the Get Started Now button and log in with (or create) your Microsoft account.
Both 32bit and 64bit versions are available to download. Select the version that you want and Continue then download the Product Key – you will need this Product Key to activate the trial version so save it somewhere safe on your PC.
Now select the desired language (14 to choose from) and download the disk image (.img format) – this may take some time on a slow connection as the size of the download is between 600MB and 800MB.
Once downloaded, you could burn the disc image file to CD (or DVD – the 64bit version may not fit on a standard CD) and install the Office 2013 evaluation in the usual way, activating it with the Product key you saved earlier.
However, a better alternative is to mount the image as a virtual drive – no need to burn a DVD and much quicker to install.
Those wishing to try before they buy can download and install the trial version of Office 2013 – if possible use a spare PC to avoid conflict with any existing versions of Office and make it easier to remove the trial after it expires if you don’t wish to buy it.