When people set out to look for freeware, they are often looking for free alternatives to Microsoft products – free office suites, free alternatives to built-in programs like Paint, Notepad, Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer… even free alternatives to Windows itself. However, Microsoft does provide a collection of free software that is definitely worth checking out. This article is designed to provide an overview of the best free Microsoft programs, some of which are featured in other articles on this website.
Using free Microsoft software does have some advantages. A big company like Microsoft has the resources to produce a multitude of help resources for users, from support and Technet pages to video overviews and tutorials. Some of the programs can conveniently be updated as part of Windows Update. Perhaps the best advantage is knowing that you’re installing a program that is safe and not bundled with anything extra.
There are several guidelines for this list. An unavoidable fact is that some alternatives will be better than programs listed here, but the programs listed here are still good and useful. However, if a Microsoft program is markedly inferior to other free alternatives, it is not included. If a program has a loose affiliation with Microsoft but is not actually a Microsoft product (e.g. Paint.NET), it won’t be listed here.
indicates a 64-bit version is available.