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Microsoft Outlook and 4 best free email alternatives

About Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook, part of the Microsoft Office suite, is a full-featured email app that includes many handy tools: calendar, task manager, contact manager, notes, and more. Microsoft Outlook can be used with various email services or can be tied to Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SharePoint Server for business users in an organization. Outlook is also available online as a Web app.

Microsoft Outlook

Latest versions of Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook FAQs

  • How can you get Microsoft Outlook?

    You have three options for getting Outlook:

  • Should you buy, subscribe, or go free?

    If you plan to use Outlook regularly or as your chief email client, it's worth subscribing to Office 365. It's possible to buy and download Outlook as a standalone app, but you'll find some limitations.

    No free trial: Whereas Office 2013 could be tested for 60 days straight, there's no free trial for the standalone version of Office 2016.

    If you want to test Outlook before you buy or subscribe, Office 365 is now your only option. Get a free trial of Office 365.

    No mobile or cross-platform: You can download Outlook for iOS and Android for free, and you'll get the app's core features. But to integrate with other Microsoft apps, you'll need an Office 365 subscription.

    Similarly, if you want both the Windows and Mac versions of Outlook or Office, you must buy them separately, whereas the 365 subscription includes both.

    With 365 you choose between a one-user license for $70 per year (or $7 per month) or a five-user license for $100 per year (or $10 per month). In addition to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, Office 365 unlocks Outlook, Publisher, and Access at every subscription level.

Free alternatives to Microsoft Outlook


The Gmail app is one of the best email apps around. It supports up to five accounts, organizes your mail by topic, and enables you to manage it in several ways, including archiving, labeling, starring, deleting, and reporting spam. And naturally it plays well with other Google apps, such as Drive, Photos, and Calendar.

Mozilla Thunderbird

From the creators of Firefox, Thunderbird is an open-source, security-rich email, news, and instant-messaging client for all your accounts and identities. The easy-to-navigate app features a powerful address book and excellent mail-filtering and -management capabilities. Thunderbird can also function as an RSS reader and provides plenty of add-ons to extend its capabilities.

eM Client

eM Client is a beautiful, modern, and feature-rich email client that integrates with your Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo accounts. It offers a built-in calendar, a contacts manager, and an instant-messaging client. You can tag, search, and easily filter messages, and the interface is easy to navigate. EM Client also supports Skype, provided you have that app installed.

Opera Mail

Within its intuitive user interface, Opera Mail organizes, indexes, and sorts your messages into various views or sorts by type, such as mailing lists or mail with attachments. It has excellent spam filtering and supports newsgroups as well as RSS feeds.

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Joshua Rotter is a copy editor for and covers iOS.