How to cancel or change Microsoft Office subscriptions

Microsoft Office used to be sold on CD and you paid the fee and that was that. Recently though, Microsoft has been encouraging use to download it from the internet and then pay a monthly subscription in order to use it. What if you decide you no longer want it? What if you want to change your subscription?

Microsoft Office is the office software that millions of people use and it has become one of the most used application suites. Word, Excel and PowerPoint and the documents they create have become industry standards. However, some people may find that they do not need such a powerful suite of applications and included in the suite is Publisher, Access and OneNote, which you may never use.

Do you really need your Office 365 Home subscription? It includes five licenses and this means that it can be installed on five PCs or Apple Macs. Could you manage with just one license? Office 365 Personal saves you money each month and is otherwise identical. Would you like to switch to a cheaper subscription?

If your office software requirements are minimal and you find that you do not use any of the advanced features in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, you might consider cancelling your subscription completely.

The alternative to Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal is Office Online. You may never have looked at it if you have Office on your PC, but it is really quite good and it is free. From Outlook.com or OneDrive.com, click the grid button in the top left corner of the page and you will see Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint online and OneNote Online. It is Office, but it runs in the browser window. Advanced features are missing, but all the basic ones are all there and it is sufficient for some people.

 Microsoft Office subscription

Let’s see how to change or cancel your Office subscription.

1 Go to Outlook.com

You can go to Outlook.com or OneDrive.com, click the button in the top left corner and a collection of tiles is displayed. Click Office Online.

 Microsoft Office subscription

2 Go to your account

On the next screen there is a menu bar at the top of the page and you should click My Account to go to your account.

 office-subcription-2

3 Payment and Billing

Scroll right down to the bottom of the page to the Payment and Billing section and there are several links concerned with your subscription. There is Cancel Subscription and Turn off auto-renew. You don’t really need to cancel and turning off auto-renew is sufficient to stop payments being taken out of your account. You will be able to use Office normally until the next due payment. If you pay yearly, there could be several months left, but if you pay monthly there may be only a few days. It depends on your subscription.

 Microsoft Office

4 Stop payments

Click the option to turn off auto-renew and you are taken to a new page where your subscription details are displayed. Down near the bottom of the page is a button to turn off auto-renew. Click it and no more money will be taken from your account.

 Microsoft Office subscription

5 Changed your mind?

You are taken back to your account page and at the top is a message stating that your subscription has been cancelled. If you ever want to restart it, just return to this page and click the link. If you want to change your subscription to a different one, just click the link.

 office-subcription-5

What happens now?

You have until your current subscription expires (the renewal date) to continue as normal. When the next payment is due, Office applications like Word and Excel will switch to a limited mode in which you can open, view and print documents, but you cannot edit them or make any changes.

This is not the disaster that it appears to be. You can put your Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents on OneDrive and open them and edit them in the Office web apps. Instead of using Office applications running on the disk drive, you will use Office applications in a web browser.

Another option is to install an alternative office suite, such as LibreOffice or OpenOffice. These are both are free and they load and save Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. They don’t support every feature of Microsoft Office, but they are powerful applications and they are sufficient for many people.

One final option is to use Google Docs. If you have a Google account, such as Gmail, you can access Google Drive and upload your documents to it. Then they can be opened and edited in the web browser online.


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A Microsoft Office subscription comes with 1 TB (1,000 GB) of online storage space. Once your subscription expires, you will have access to just 15 GB. If you have more than 15 GB of files stored on OneDrive, save them to disk and reduce the files online to below the 15 GB limit. If you need online storage space, Google provides 15 GB free too.

6 Comments on How to cancel or change Microsoft Office subscriptions

  1. joseph burroughs // 2015/04/27 at 18:17 // Reply

    please make sure that my Microsoft office subscription is canceled immediately with no further charges to my Visa card

  2. Stop my payments now !!!

  3. Mary-Jane pritchard // 2015/12/10 at 18:45 // Reply

    My daughter set me up on a free trial for office 365 ages ago which is now a £7.99 monthly subscription. I have no way of knowing my account set up details as my email and usual password does not work and she does not remember what she put in!
    Can you help.?
    mj

  4. Isn’t a Microsoft account the only way of getting an Office subscription? Either you or your daughter must have one. You should both go to a Microsoft service like onedrive.com or outlook.com in a browser and log in. Click your picture in the top right corner and click View Account. Select Services and subscriptions, and you’ll see your Office subscription.

    If you don’t know your Microsoft password, go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-live/account-reset-password-forgot-faq

  5. Susan Angell // 2016/09/11 at 18:18 // Reply

    If I cancel my subscription altogether will I still be able to create documents in Word & Excel? The rest of the programs I dont use.

    • Susan, I am pretty much the same, which is partly why I cancelled. You can still create and edit Word and Excel files. On opening Word and Excel you get a warning that your subscription has expired, and it prompts you to renew it, but you can just click the close button and continue. It does not stop you using the software.

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