There are numerous free and discounted software available to faculty and students for use in their academic work. This page is maintained as a resource for campus users to quickly locate the best free tools available to them as well as how to access additional UW restricted links.

Discounted and Free Academic Software

Current UW faculty, staff, and students are also eligible to download certain retail software at free or discounted prices. Keep in mind that most sites only allow you to install the downloaded software on your personal computer and generally do not allow multiple installs or transfers.

Additionally, those who are affiliated with certain departments such as CSS have access to additional software via the MSDN Academic Alliance and other agreements signed by the UW.

Links for UW Users


Free and discounted software from various sources for faculty and students. Some of the more popular ones include Autocad (Drafting & Design), ArcGIS (GIS), Mathmatica (Graphing & Math), and Sophos (Free Antivirus). Each of these have different terms of use for faculty and students so be sure to read before downloading.

Current UW students who have paid a student technology fee are entitled to a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade as well as the latest version of Microsoft Office for PC or Mac. See the Seattle IT UWare page for more details.

Current UW faculty and staff are eligible to purchase one copy of the latest version of Microsoft Office at the discounted price of $10.00 for download. See the Microsoft Home Use Program page on UWare for more details.

Microsoft Dreamspark

This is a repository of normally expensive development software that is made available for free to faculty and students with an .edu e-mail address. Selected software include Visual Studio Professional, Windows Server, and Virtual PC.

MSDN Academic Alliance

This site is restricted to students in the CSS courses. To gain access, you will have to be registered for a CSS class and a access code will be given to you. MSDN AA gives you free access to various Microsoft software such as Windows 7, Visual Stuido, and others.

Other Options

Virtual Desktop Access (VIDA)

UW Students Only - This feature gives current UW students the ability to remotely access high end software normally only available on campus computers. By using the virtual interface, you can work on your personal device as if you were sitting physically at a campus computer.  All work is deleted upon logout so you must save your files on to something else such as a USB drive.

University Bookstore Academic Pricing

Faculty and students can get academic pricing for various software products such as Adobe CS4 from the University Bookstore.

Other Free Software

The following is a list of free software tools that we have found useful. Anybody can download the following tools for free and there is generally no limit to the number of copies you install.


Free audio recording and editing software. This is installed by default on all campus computers.


Free image editing software and alternative to Photoshop.


An enhanced text editor that used primarily for coding and scripting.

VLC Media Player

Free media player that can play DVDs and many other media formats not supported by Windows Media Player.


Free Autodesk software for students and teachers, including 3ds Max, Maya, Revit, VRED Professional, and more.

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