Office 2008 for Mac - free trial

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Try Office 2008 free for 30 days but watch out for the high price at the end.

Mac users can now try Office 2008 free for 30 days. We have some money saving conversion tips that can save you a few hundred dollars.

Where to start

Microsoft itself hasn’t realized the trial version is available – go to their main Office trial web site and there’s no mention of the Office for Mac trial download.

But if you go here you’ll find the free trial.

Registration is required including giving details of your email address, snail mail address and phone number.

USA only?

The registration form supports only USA and Puerto Rico – not even Canada rates a mention., let alone UK, Europe or the rest of the world.

People from other countries might need to fill in a sincere looking address to get the trial. Aside from the details asked for there doesn’t seem any effort to prevent people downloading from anywhere in the world.

Surely this anomaly will be fixed quickly?


After registration a Product Key is displayed on web page as well as sent via email. You’ll need the Product Key to complete the installation.

The 545MB .dmg file should automatically prompt for installation after the download is completed. Office 2004 for Mac will use 1.2GB of disk space.

The trial download has Word 2008, Excel 2008, PowerPoint 2008, Messenger 2008 and Entourage 2008. Entourage is the email, calendar, contacts program for Mac users, in other words it’s the Outlook equivalent for Macintosh. Messenger is for use with Microsoft Instant Messaging services.

Keep your existing Office

The Office 2008 trial installation will detect and offer to remove other versions of Office for Mac but you can leave them on the computer.

This means you can keep your Office 2004 or Office X for Mac while trying Office 2008.


Even though you’ve just downloaded the trial version, a check for updates will prompt you to download another 150MB to bring Office 2008 totally up to date with the latest security patches.

When you first start an Office for Mac program you be asked, again, for the Product Key then activate the product. Activation is usually over the Internet and is required before you use the Office 2008 for Mac trial.

Each time you open an Office application you’ll see this dialog:

833 Office 2008 for Mac   Trial version activation buy and try - Office 2008 for Mac - free trial

Activate purchase will let you enter a Product Key purchased online.

Buy Now will take you to a web site to buy a Product Key.

We strongly suggest you AVOID both those options. Buying a Microsoft Office product key direct from Microsoft is the most expensive choice. See below for money saving tips.

Click Try to use the program you’ve selected.

Why just 30 days?

The Office 2008 for Mac trial is for 30 days only.

However the equivalent Office 2007 for Windows trial is 60 days.

Why Macintosh users get half the time to evaluate Microsoft Office is anyone’s guess.

Buying after the trial

What Microsoft wants you to do is try Office 2008 then go to their web site, buy a product key and convert the trial installation into ongoing working software.

Bzzzzzt – that’s the worst and most expensive option.

As we’ve noted many times before, buying from Microsoft online direct you’ll pay a high, probably full retail, price and be encouraged to get the most expensive Office bundle.

A better option is to decide which Office 2008 bundle you want, Home and Student Edition or Office 2008 for Mac. Maybe you can find the specially priced Special Media Edition which can cost less than the Office 2008 for Mac bundle even though it contains more programs.

Buy Office 2008 for Mac at the best price you can – which is probably from a retail outlet or online store that ships a DVD and product key to you.

At the time of writing, using the ‘Buy Now’ button in the Office 2008 for Mac trial will offer you these prices, in US dollars:

  • Home and Student Edition $149.95
  • Office 2008 for Mac, full $399.95
  • Office 2008 for Mac, upgrade $239.95
  • The Special Media edition (full or upgrade) isn’t offered at all.

Buying from Amazon (with free shipping) will save you at least $36 and up to $180 (buying the Special Media Edition full version for $220). You may get even better prices elsewhere. In other countries you’ll find similar price savings.


You would think it’s possible to use the Product Key from a retail copy to ‘convert’ Office 2008 for Mac trial to fully working version – but alas Microsoft says that’s not possible. Most likely this is to encourage people to buy the more expensive online product key.

The workaround is to uninstall Office 2008 for Mac trial then install it again from the DVD and product key you have purchased.

To remove Office for Mac trial (or any Office for Mac) go to the Applications | Microsoft Office 2008 | Additional Tools | Remove Office and click on the Remove Office program.

833 Office 2008 for Mac   Applications Folder and Remove Office - Office 2008 for Mac - free trial

Your documents and settings should survive the uninstall / reinstall unless you explicitly choose to delete them. Even so, it’s always wise to do a backup, just in case

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