8 Best Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac Users
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It’s easy to leave Windows behind 7 Features You Will Love When Switching to Mac 7 Features You Will Love When Switching to Mac I used to be that guy who rolled his eyes at MacBook users, then I bit the bullet and bought an iMac. Read More . Just buy a Mac, take a couple of days to settle in and never look back. But for Microsoft Office users, the need to buy Office for Mac again can be a hassle.

If you work in the traditional office environment that runs on Excel and Word, you might have to bite the bullet. But if you’ve outgrown that world and still need to edit and send Office documents every now and then there are alternative options.

If you’re not ready to buy Microsoft Office for Mac or run your old Windows apps using a VM VMWare Fusion 6 Opens Windows On Your Mac VMWare Fusion 6 Opens Windows On Your Mac While Apple provides Bootcamp, a built-in OS X application for installing Windows on your Mac, virtualization program VMWare Fusion 6 allows users to run Windows without restarting their Mac first. Read More , these are your best alternatives.

1. Google Suite

If you’re going to let go of the Microsoft world, your best bet is to join the Google alliance. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are the three alternatives to Microsoft Office, Excel, and PowerPoint. There’s no real alternative to Outlook beyond Gmail, and you can get OneNote on the Mac for free.

mac office alternatives google docs

Google’s suite is really quite good. It integrates well if you already have a Google account. You’ll be able to add and open an Excel file you received via Gmail in Google Sheets by pressing a button.

You can easily import Microsoft Office files to work on them, export them once again in Microsoft Office formats to pass them around. And if what you’re doing is fairly basic, and you use fonts and formatting that’s standard these days, you can get away with it. The other party will never find out that you’re not using full-fat Microsoft Office.

mac office alternatives google docs

In some ways, Google Docs is more powerful than Microsoft Word. There’s an extensive add-on gallery Google Docs Adds-Ons For Students: These 5 Will Help You Write A Paper Google Docs Adds-Ons For Students: These 5 Will Help You Write A Paper Word-processing for students has long been the domain of Microsoft Word, but the recent release of add-ons is making Google Docs an appealing free option. Read More , beautiful templates, there are superior research tools built-in and then there’s Google search capabilities.

Plus, there’s the advantage of Google’s cloud prowess. Collaborating with multiple users simultaneously in a document is a pure joy. It’s a little thing but it does wonders for productivity.

The entire suite is free and you get 15 GB of storage for free as well. The only problem is that there’s no real desktop app for any of these (you can work offline on documents in Chrome, using the Offline mode How to Use Google Docs or Drive Offline on PC & Mobile How to Use Google Docs or Drive Offline on PC & Mobile The downside to cloud-based services and apps is that you always need to be online to use them. We show you how to take Google Drive offline & what to keep in mind. Read More ). Accompanying apps for iPhone and iPad are quite good as well.

2. LibreOffice

LibreOffice is widely recognized as the best open source alternative to Microsoft Office suite, which means it’s completely free and available on a whole host of platforms.

If you’re used to the Microsoft Office user interface (pre-ribbon era), it won’t take you long to adjust to LibreOffice. Unlike Google’s apps, LibreOffice suite comes with fully featured offline desktop apps with all the pro features you expect.

mac office alternatives libreoffice writer

To make the deal even sweeter, LibreOffice recently added an online component. So you can sync files from Google Drive or OneDrive and edit then right in LibreOffice (there’s no collaboration feature, though).

LibreOffice also does a good job in regards to formatting when importing Microsoft Office documents. Even complex Excel spreadsheets (like mortgage calculators) imported in LibreOffice Calc work like they should.

mac office alternatives libreoffice spreadsheet

LibreOffice actually grew out of OpenOffice, which used to be the de facto alternative to Microsoft Office. But OpenOffice hasn’t seen any meaningful updates recently and the management is considering retiring the project. So we advise you to stay away from OpenOffice Is OpenOffice Shutting Down? 4 Great Free Office Suite Alternatives Is OpenOffice Shutting Down? 4 Great Free Office Suite Alternatives OpenOffice is no longer a free Microsoft Office alternative you can count on. We have compiled the four best options for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Read More . LibreOffice’s track record in the recent past has been great.

3. iWork Suite

You’ve got a new Mac and it’s likely you’re never going back to Windows. Included with your Mac was the iWork Suite: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. These are Apple’s own alternatives to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

As these are Mac apps, the UI is quite different. Instead of being top heavy, the options show up in a contextual menu on the side. And you just won’t have as many options as the Microsoft Office suite. All three apps are now quite mature and all the basics are covered.

mac office alternatives pages

Once you get used to them, they’re actually a joy to use (something I can’t necessarily say about Microsoft Office). While customization options are limited, everything that’s available is quite polished. When you create a presentation in Keynote, chances are you’ll end up creating something beautiful. The same goes with Pages, and moving text, images, and graphs around is a seamless experience that doesn’t make you want to pull your hair out.

The iWork Suite lets you import and export documents in Microsoft Office formats (it will save to the default iWork format, though). And as long as you don’t use a Mac specific font, doing a back-and-forth with Office documents shouldn’t be a big problem.

mac office alternatives keynote

iWork also has online collaboration options but frankly, I wouldn’t recommend using them. They’re nowhere near as reliable as Google’s offering.

4. Quip

Quip isn’t a fully featured alternative to Microsoft Office. But if you were never comfortable with Word or Excel, Quip’s minimal approach to document editing might just be for you. It’s what I personally use as a Word alternative.

mac office alternatives quip

In Quip, there are no ugly, complicated menus to worry about. Formatting happens using shortcodes (kind of like Markdown, but not entirely). A formatting bar shows up when you select text. Common shortcuts are also supported.

Quip also shines when it comes to collaboration. While it’s not as feature rich as Google Docs, Quip’s multi-user editing and comment features are still quite good. Quip’s iOS app lets you edit documents on the go. Quip’s default themes will help you generate beautiful PDF documents.

5. Office Online

When nothing else will do, just open Office.com. Office Online is Microsoft’s free and basic Microsoft Office service that works online. While the feature set is limited, the basics of document editing, spreadsheet formulas, and presentation options are all covered. You’ll get access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

6. Edit Office Documents in Dropbox

mac office alternatives dropbox

Dropbox’s partnership with Microsoft means you can open a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document shared with you on Dropbox. You don’t need an Office 365 license but you’ll require a free Microsoft account.

7. Ditch PowerPoint for Better Online Tools

PowerPoint is powerful, sure but it’s quite outdated. If you want to stand out with your presentations, try some new age online tools:

  • Slides — This is my personal favorite for creating beautiful presentations easily. The free account lets you create and present documents online. To export, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account.
  • Prezi — This service is geared more towards startups but the visual tools offered by Prezi are beyond anything you can get with PowerPoint.
  • Canva — Canva is an online image editor but it has an extensive library of presentation templates. Plus, Canva gives you all the important tools for creating a customized presentation.

8. Embrace Markdown

Here’s an idea purely out of left field. You’ve given up Windows and embraced the Mac. You must have started appreciating macOS’s simplicity by now. If you want more of that for creating and editing plain text documents, you should try using Markdown.

mac office alternatives ulysses markdown

Markdown is a syntax What Is Markdown? 4 Reasons Why You Should Learn It Now What Is Markdown? 4 Reasons Why You Should Learn It Now Tired of HTML and WYSIWYG editors? Then Markdown is the answer for you no matter who you are. Read More , like HTML but much simpler. When you use a Markdown app to write, there are no 25 menu options. All the formatting happens using shortcodes. So for example, to make a word italic, you wrap it around with asterisks. You can create a complex formatted document without ever lifting your finger from the keyboard. Plus Markdown exports clean HTML and you can generate beautiful PDFs using apps like Ulysses Is It Time to Ditch Pages and Word for Ulysses? Is It Time to Ditch Pages and Word for Ulysses? In 2016, not everyone needs a full-service word processing program, which is why software like Ulysses exists. Read More .

If You Must, Stick With Microsoft Office 2016

Microsoft’s Office 2016 update 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 is here and it's time for you to make a decision. The productivity question is -- should you upgrade? We give you the new features and the fresher reasons to help you... Read More for Mac was a significant one. There’s UI and feature parity with the Windows version. If none of the above alternatives work out for you (I would again suggest you give LibreOffice a good hard look), you might have to drop $229.99 for an Office 2016 license for the Mac (or a $9.99 per month subscription).

How do you use Microsoft Office documents on your Mac? What kind of productivity features you just can’t live without? Share with us in the comments below.

Explore more about: Buying Tips, Google Docs, Google Sheets, iWork, LibreOffice, Microsoft Office Alternative.

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  1. Celia
    October 6, 2018 at 4:04 am

    Try WPS Office: http://www.wps.cn/product/wpsmac/. The Mac version is available on April 8th, 2018. Really good alternatives for Microsoft office with all the features. The only bad thing is that you need to sign in with a wechat account.

  2. lex
    September 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Google docs is a total epic fail when it comes to exporting a PDF. It does a completely garbage job of exporting the images and Google is 100% not addressing the problem.

  3. David Jones
    August 25, 2018 at 3:20 am

    Don’t believe the marketing and PR hype about Office 2016 for Mac being feature and function comparable with the Windows version. It’s like saying a Lexus and a Kia are both comparable cars. I’ll l ave it to you to work out which one is the Kia!

    Almost three years in on the Mac version and it is still full of embarrassing bugs and functionality gaping holes.

  4. Alfred J. Lemire
    November 21, 2017 at 7:23 am

    I wish Microsoft well, I really do, but its upgrade to Word 2016 for the Mac increases the steps I need to take for common operations. When 2008 came out with .docx, I discovered that single-spaced lines I typed—the only spacing used since I got Word, perhaps in 1991—appeared as double-spaced. Single-spaced files copied from .doc files came out double-spaced, as did files copied from files on the Internet. So also Word 2011 and Word 2016. However, in several tests with 2016—original typed work, files copied from other Word files, and files copied rom the Internet, I once got two typed lines single-spaced. That did not recur.

    In 2008, I found a way to continue creating .doc files. However, 2016 requires that I convert from .doc to .docx to insert files, graphs, and charts. A workaround: Copy a picture, graph, or chart from a dummy .docx document and copy it into a .doc file. Unfortunately, the same conversion is needed when one adds a page to a document. Perhaps I could work around that as well, but I stopped trying, discouraged with Word 2016.

    I deleted 2016 from my computer, fearing a malign influence, even if caged in Trash. So I have to trust my memory that I could no longer swipe across Insert to Page Break, on the top line, which includes Word, File, Edit, etc. In 2016, as I did in 2011. With 2016, I had to go halfway down Insert to get to the Page Break choice. I use Page Break sometimes more than 10 times a day, as I import files from the Internet and add them to existing files. I have well more than 50 files from some writers and even seven by the UK’s Melanie Phillips. Microsoft staff, introducing Word 2016, wrote that one go to a Paragraph menu in the ribbon to add a Page Break,, the most inefficient way to do that. (One can also use Pages, to the left of Paragraph, and choose Page Break there.) One suspects that logical engineers redid Word to suit a certain orderliness, with little regard to what actions users most commonly use.

    That new files in Word 2016 opened 5 ½ inches deep on my 27-inch (about 13 vertical inches) computer, with an inch or so of gray or grey space aside the file, seemed merely annoying and stupid. Perhaps that was to conform to smartphone use.) Why can’t a user determine what the standard file length of new files should be, in any version of Word? (I prefer a page plus three lines of another page.)

    Worst, perhaps, the 2016 version of Word does not automatically reopen files that open when one quits Word, voluntarily or forcibly. That could present a major problem if changes to an open file had not been saved before a Quit. Word 2011 does automatically reopen files. One suspects that Microsoft people did not let Apple provide that automatic reopening feature..

    I have read that Windows apps do not provide automatic reopening. Impossible to believe!

    I had also read that one needs Word 2016 in High Sierra, which prompted my upgrade. I have since been advised that Microsoft will not support 2011 in High Sierra. I do not know what that implies for Word 2011 if I upgraded to High Sierra. with Word 2011.. would do to Word 2011 if I upgraded to High Sierra. Would I lose automatic reopening of files in Word? So I have to stick with Sierra.

    I have nearly 30,000 Word files since 1991 or so, which take up nearly 9 gigabytes on my computer. I spent four intense days trying to make Word 2016 work, with the continuing nastiness of forced format conversions. The leaders at Microsoft and the leaders of ISIS think alike on forcing conversions..

    Now, I must change much, fixing on a major project that has consumed years, try to find some way to insulate my Word files from malicious people, and hope that intelligent, humane people interested in serving individual computer users will soon lead Microsoft and Apple.

  5. Limayam
    July 25, 2017 at 1:58 am

    My friends recommend me to google "aakeys" to get a genuine key. I got one, works so well, and will get another one very soon.

  6. Dieter
    March 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    My issue is that I am living in a world where MS-Office is standard. And I have noticed that you loose a lot of formatting and functionality (sequence fields...) when converting from MS to Mac and back. I would have liked that issue to be addressed more directly.

  7. jon
    January 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    If you're a Mac user, you should look at Nisus Writer Pro or Lite first of all, even before Pages. Pages is nice, but too "lite."

    Nisus has the mostest wonderfulest interface, and I dearly miss it, having moved on to Windows. It really deserves its own post, to be honest.