If you want to have Excel for your home computer but don’t want to spend a lot of money, the answer to your problem is Microsoft’s Home Use Program (HUP). While you can obviously buy the software on your own, the HUP allows you to purchase the entire Office suite for just $10 dollars.
Microsoft’s Home Use Program is a part of the company’s Software Assurance guarantee, which is a perk that Microsoft gives to its volume licensing customers. Basically, if your company has already purchased Microsoft Office for all of its employees, and you are one of those employees, then Microsoft will allow you to buy the software at an incredibly steep discount.
Before you think that this might be some type of scam, the program actually makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. The company has essentially already sold the software to you. If you use Office at work and you need to use Excel or PowerPoint for personal endeavors, you’re either going to use your work computer or try one of Office’s competitors, such as Google Drive. Bottom line is you’re probably not going to buy the software again.
From Microsoft’s perspective, they’d prefer that you stay on their platform rather than use and become accustomed to a competing product. And as a side benefit, the company collects a small amount of income on top of boxing out the competition.
If you are employed by a large corporation and use Office at work, you’re most likely eligible for this program. And even if you don’t work for a large corporation, you have to realize that one of largest segments of Microsoft Office customers comes from the higher education sector. Most universities and colleges have some agreement with Microsoft. Therefore, if you attended a university and have a .edu email address, you are likely eligible as well.
To test your eligibility, go to the Microsoft HUP home page and enter your email address. In the field for program code entry, you can simply click the blue text stating that you don’t know your program code, and the entry box will go away.
It’s important to know that Microsoft is generally pretty generous when considering eligibility. I’ve heard stories of people being out of college for years, having a .edu email address, and still being “eligible” for the program. If you do have a qualifying email address, the website will show you the following message after hitting the submit button:
Shortly after, Microsoft will send you an email with a “Buy Now” link:
The link takes you to the ordering page, where you can officially purchase the software at the discounted price. From there, you just go through a standard checkout procedure and your software will be ready to download.
One of the issues I encountered involved ordering the backup DVD. Even though I checked the box to receive a backup disc and provided a mailing address, I never received a copy of the backup media. Given how great a deal this is and the fact that I rarely use DVDs anymore, I didn’t make much of a fuss, but it’s something you should note before ordering.
Also, before I finalized my order, I needed to know how many computers I could install Office on, given that I was in the process of upgrading laptops. I spoke to a customer service representative and was told that I could install this on up to two different computers. However, I couldn’t find any supporting documentation of this on the website.
Excel by itself for only $10 is already a great deal. With Microsoft’s Home Use Program, you also get Word, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, Outlook, OneNote, InfoPath, and Lync. If you’re even remotely interested in having the latest editions of this software package, go to the HUP home page and check your eligibility now. Office 2013 currently retails for $260 on Amazon so you can potentially save yourself a ton of money if you ever need the software in the future.