Microsoft Office 365 available for free

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Microsoft contract grants free downloads on up to five devices.

By R. Eguia

Microsoft Office 365 is available to download on up to five devices free of charge for all students, staff and faculty, said Dr. Tom Cleary, vice chancellor for planning, performance and information systems.

Students can download the suite at by clicking on the green “find out if you are eligible” button and entering their Alamo Colleges student email address.

The link to download the products will be sent to the student’s email account.

Office 365 has been available for free since the beginning of the semester with the Microsoft district contract, Cleary said.

Office 365 is composed of the latest versions of: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access and Lync.

The Office 365 website explains that the download is cloud-based software, so it’s not licensed directly to a computer.

It is designed to run locally, so an Internet connection is not necessary.

“This is such a huge thing for our staff and students,” said Usha Venkat, this college’s director of information technology.

“A lot of people did not have access to Microsoft Office because they had to buy it, but now it’s just available to them and they get storage.”

Cleary said the district spends $196,000 a year on the contract, which saves students hundreds of dollars.

A regular Office 365 subscription costs $99 a year, or $9.99 per month, according to the Microsoft 365 website.

Students can call for help from the support desk at 210486-0777 or email


Software comes with 1 TB storage

The download also includes 1 TB of personal cloud storage that can be accessed from anywhere.

PC Ninja published a data chart that illustrates how 1 TB (terabyte) is equal to 1,000 GB (gigabytes), 1 million MB (megabytes) or 1 billion KB (kilobytes).

One TB of storage can hold 17,000 hours of music; or 1,000 hours (40 days) of video; or 310,000 photos; or 500 hours of movies.

Read more about storage capabilities at:


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