Best Free Office Suites for Mac That Aren’t Microsoft
Most users looking for a Mac office suite will probably have one option in mind—Microsoft Office. It’s still one of the best office suites out there, regardless of the platform, but there are other options available that you might not have considered (or even be aware of) for macOS.
Choosing the best office suite for Mac will depend on your budget, but there are plenty of free office suites for Mac that you can install without cost. To help you, here’s a look at eight of the best free Mac office suites available to install or use today.
Also, feel free to check out our YouTube channel from our sister site that goes through all the office suite options mentioned below in a quick video.
After Microsoft Office, the next and best office suite for Mac users to immediately start using is the Apple iWork suite. Originally a paid-for product, the three Apple iWork office apps have been freely available for Mac devices since 2013.
Pages is a Word processor, with ready-made templates for common documents like letters available, as well as the ability to insert tables, charts, images, and other objects. Apple also has a basic spreadsheet app called Numbers that supports multiple sheets and, like Pages, comes with pre-made templates.
Finally, Keynote works as a PowerPoint replacement, with similar features like transitions and animations included. You can download all three iWork apps from the App Store.
Google Docs (Docs/Sheets/Slides)
While iCloud offers iWork apps online, it isn’t the best office suite for Mac. If you want Microsoft Office features online without paying for Office 365, then you’ll need to give try the Google Docs suite.
Freely available for Google account users, the Google Docs suite comes in a package of three (four if you count Google Forms, too). Docs is a word processor, Sheets is a spreadsheet tool, while Slides is a presentation tool to rival PowerPoint and Apple Keynote.
Google Docs is well-equipped with many of the features you’d expect to see in a fully-fledged Office alternative, along with extensive collaboration features that allow you to share and edit documents in real-time with others.
Few open-source projects have the size and polish to compete against the billion-dollar Microsoft Office suite like LibreOffice. Thanks to a community of volunteers helping to build it, LibreOffice has grown into one of the best office suites available for Mac.
This fork of the once-popular OpenOffice has products to match the typical Microsoft Office collection, with a word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentation designer, and database manager. It also takes things two steps further, with a vector graphics design tool and formulae designer for mathematicians.
Best of all, LibreOffice supports Office file formats such as DOC and DOCX perfectly. LibreOffice is a fully-fledged replacement with many similar features compared to Microsoft Office, plus a few extras to sink your teeth into.
As the name suggests, FreeOffice is a free Office suite available for Mac, Linux, and Windows users. Like other free Office alternatives, it focuses on the big three Office products, with Excel (PlanMaker), PowerPoint (Presentations), and Word (TextMaker) style products.
If you want an Office-like experience, FreeOffice gives it. It looks a lot like its Microsoft counterpart, with a ribbon bar interface, basic features, and support for common Office file formats like DOCX.
Some features, such as mail merge and high-quality spell checking, require a paid-for upgrade to the SoftMaker Office suite. If that’s a deal-breaker, look elsewhere.
Another free and open-source Office replacement is the KDE-created Calligra suite. Originally designed for Linux users, Calligra is a cross-platform office suite for macOS, Linux, and Windows PCs. To install it on Mac, you’ll need the Homebrew package manager installed first.
There are no less than ten Calligra apps for you to try, from a standard word processor (Words) and spreadsheet tool (Sheets) to more specialist apps, including a mind mapping tool (Braindump).
We won’t pretend that Calligra is the most polished Mac office suite—it isn’t. What it is, however, is functional, well-rounded, and free, with more built-in tools than some of its more appealing (and costly) competitors.
Apache OpenOffice is the spiritual successor to the previously popular (but now discontinued) OpenOffice.org suite. It shares a common code base with LibreOffice, with similar features, although some important differences exist between them.
Unfortunately, the biggest difference is active development. LibreOffice has a vibrant community behind it, while things are a little slower for Apache OpenOffice, with releases happening roughly once a year. In recent years, those have largely focused on bug fixes, rather than significant new features or upgrades.
There are better Mac office suites out there, but if you want a solid, old-school experience on Mac, Apache OpenOffice could be the option for you.
WPS Office Free
As a free version of the paid-for WPS Office, WPS Office Free acts as a freemium, ad-supported taster for Mac users. That isn’t a criticism—WPS Office Free is still a good Mac office suite in its own right.
WPS Office looks like it was built with Mac in mind with an appealing and modern interface that blows some of its older competitors like LibreOffice out of the water. Like iWork and FreeOffice, WPS Office Free targets the Microsoft Office market with presentation, word processing, and spreadsheet creation tools.
It supports Office file formats, as well as support for PDF editing and creation. You can download WPS Office Free from the App Store or the WPS Office website.
Dropbox Paper is a quick document collaboration and editing tool built into the Dropbox Cloud storage interface. It’s also the only app on this list that isn’t a full-fledged Office replacement, but Dropbox Paper is still a worthy and honorable mention.
You can use Paper to build more unusual types of documents for project planning, note-taking, portfolio building, and more. Like Google Docs, you can also collaborate in real-time with other Dropbox Paper users.
It might not be the Word replacement you’re after, but if you have a Dropbox account already, give it a try.
Choosing The Best Office Suite For Mac
If you want the best Office suite for Mac, you don’t need to pay. Microsoft Office is still a great Mac office suite, but it isn’t essential—you can create documents on macOS for free without it using Apple iWork or one of the other free or open-source alternatives we’ve mentioned.
Whether it’s Google Docs or Microsoft Office itself, let us know your favorite Mac office suite in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below.
Best Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac in 2023
Are you looking for the best Microsoft Office alternative for Mac? If yes, then check this article, which describes 8 decent options. The selected software contain both familiar functions of Microsoft programs and such unique features as real-time collaboration, Cloud storage, and split-merge PDF files.
Top 8 Microsoft Office Alternatives for Mac
On this list, you will find free and inexpensive programs that support many file formats, can work with documents, tables, and presentations, and have a built-in vector graphics editor, math formula editor, and a database manager.
LibreOffice – Our Choice
- Includes vector graphics, databases, and formula editing
- Supports.doc.docx.xls.xlsx.ppt.pptx, and PDF formats
- Multi-language support
- Protects bookmarks and fields from accidental changes
- Not found
Verdict: This can be called the best Microsoft Office alternative for Mac because of many handy features it offers – a text editor, spreadsheet and presentation programs, vector graphics and math formula editors, free PDF editor, and database manager. With a set of these programs, Mac users can create and edit files, regardless of the format. You can use templates from the library and plug-ins to expand the functionality of the program.
When importing MS Office documents, formatting is preserved even if you want to open a complex Excel spreadsheet. This program has also an online component, so you can sync files from Google Drive or OneDrive and edit them right in it.
- Templates for creating documents, tables, and presentations
- Supports Microsoft Office document formats
- Collaboration options
- Apps for iPad and iPhone
- Not as many options as in the Microsoft Office
Verdict: This Mac version of Office is free and available on every Mac. The interface and design are different from Microsoft Office, and it also has a program for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. With Pages, Mac users can create documents using over 70 ready-made templates, adjust fonts, customize text styles, and graphics. Also, using Numbers, you can create tables with charts and illustrations, easily perform complex calculations, filter data, and organize it.
It allows you to import and export documents in Microsoft Office formats, although they will be saved in iWork format by default. Unless you’re using Mac-specific fonts, there shouldn’t be problems with sharing Office documents. Also, this program has collaboration tools.
How to Get Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Free
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Microsoft 365 is the most recent version of the Microsoft Office set of tools, and it includes programs you already use at home, school or work. Some of the programs include Word, Outlook and Powerpoint, and buying a Microsoft 365 membership is still the most popular way to access these tools and more.
On Jan. 11, Microsoft announced the release of Microsoft 365 Basic which costs 2 a month, or 20 for a yearly subscription. However, you can snag Microsoft 365 at no cost under some circumstances.
Microsoft’s suite of productivity software consists of classics like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, as well as newer apps like Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint.
The suite typically costs 20 to 100 a year for subscription access across devices and family members. Microsoft also has a standalone version of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac. called Office Home and Student 2021. for a flat 150.- no subscription required.
Here are the versions of Office 365, Microsoft 365 and their apps that you can find online for free.
Get Microsoft Office 365 Education free if you’re a student or a teacher
If you’re a student, teacher or faculty member with an active school email address, you’re likely eligible to get access to Office 365 for free through Microsoft, with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Teams, plus other classroom tools.
All you have to do is enter your school email address on this page on Microsoft’s website: Office 365 Education. In many cases, you’ll be instantly granted access thanks to an automated verification process. If you attend an institution that needs to be verified, it might take up to a month to confirm your eligibility.
College students can also get Microsoft 365 Personal for 3 a month with a valid school email address.
How to get Microsoft Office suite free if you’re anyone else
Anyone can get a one-month free trial of Microsoft 365. However, it does require you to enter a credit card number. If you don’t cancel your subscription before the month is up, you’ll be charged 100 for a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Family (formerly called Office 365 Home).
The good news is if you don’t need the full suite of Microsoft 365 tools, you can access a number of its apps online for free, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar, My Content, Skype, Designer and Clipchamp. Here’s how to get them:
Click Sign up for the free version of Office under the Sign in button.
Log in to your Microsoft account or create one for free. If you already have a Windows, Skype or Xbox Live login, you have an active Microsoft account.
Select the app you want to use and save your work in the Cloud with OneDrive.
So what’s the catch for the free version?
You might be saying, Wait a minute, if I can get all of those apps for free, why pay for Microsoft 365 in the first place? The functionality of the free apps is limited, so they only run in your web browser and you can only use them while you’re actively connected to the internet. They also have fewer features than the full Microsoft 365 versions.
There are still benefits to the free version, including the ability to share links to your work and collaborate in real time, similar to what the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) productivity tools allow. If you’re looking for basic versions of each of these apps, the free version should work well for you.
Microsoft Office for Mac: Beginner’s Guide
Microsoft Office is the most popular suite of productivity applications in the world, and it runs on Mac computers just as well as it does on Windows machines. The question on many Mac users’ lips seems to be, “Should I pay for Microsoft Office for Mac or use one of its many free alternatives?” In this article, we attempt to answer this question and give you all the information you need to download, install, and start using Microsoft Office for Mac — if you decide that it’s a good choice for you.
Introduction to Microsoft Office for Mac
Microsoft Office was first released in 1990 for Windows 95. The first Mac version, called Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition, wasn’t released until, you’ve guessed it, 1998. It was re-engineered by Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit and introduced the Internet Explorer 4.0 browser and Outlook Express. It also included Microsoft PowerPoint 98, Microsoft Word 98, and Microsoft Excel 98.
Today, there’s very little difference between Microsoft Office for Mac and Microsoft Office for Windows. Since the version 15.25, Microsoft Office for Mac has become exclusively a 64-bit application, breaking compatibility with old Mac computers with 32-bit processors.
Components of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016
The latest version of Microsoft Office for Mac, Microsoft Office 2016, features the flat design and tabbed user interface that were introduced in Microsoft Office 2013. It includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype.
- Word: a word processor with rudimentary desktop publishing capabilities.
- Excel: a spreadsheet with calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.
- Outlook: a personal information manager with email capabilities, task manager, contact manager, note taking, and journal.
- PowerPoint: a presentation program that has come to be very widely used in many other communication situations.
- OneNote: a free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration program capable of gathering users’ notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.
- OneDrive: a Cloud file hosting service that allows users to store files as well as other personal data in the Cloud.
- Skype: a telecommunications application software that provides video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices, the Xbox One console, and smartwatches.
Editions of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016
Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, sometimes referred to simply as MS Office for Mac 2016, is made available in several editions, each aimed at a different market.
- Home Student: this retail suite includes the core applications only.
- Home Business: This retail suite includes the core applications and Outlook.
- Standard: This suite, only available through volume licensing channels, includes the core applications and Outlook.
Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac is also available as part of the Office 365 for Mac subscription services, which use a software as a service model and are intended for home and business users alike.
- Office 365 Home: Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook plus online storage and more for up to 5 users. The Office 365 Home subscription costs 99.99 per year.
- Office 365 Personal: Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook plus online storage and more for 1 user. The Office 365 Personal subscription costs 69.99 per year.
- Office Home Student 2016 for Mac: Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for 1 Mac. The Office Home Student 2016 for Mac subscription costs 149.99 as a one-time purchase.
Why Use Microsoft Office for Mac over iWork?
iWork is an office suite of applications created by Apple for its macOS and iOS operating systems. It includes Keynote, a presentation program, Pages, a word processing and desktop publishing application, and Numbers, a spreadsheet application.
Whereas Microsoft Office for Mac is marketed towards enterprises and home users alike, iWork is generally seen as a prosumer product best suited for smaller businesses and home users. That’s because iWork doesn’t have nearly as many features as Microsoft Office for Mac does, and also because iWork has a simple user interface that adheres to Apple’s design language and usability principles.
In the past, iWork cost 79, but, in 2017, Apple decided to make iWork free for everybody.
“Previously, all of these apps were provided for free to customers who purchased a new Mac or iOS device, but now that purchase is not required to get the software. Many Apple customers were already likely eligible to download the software at no cost if they had made a device purchase in the last few years”, explained MacRumors.
Microsoft Office for Mac vs. iWork
- Considering that iWork doesn’t cost a single penny, it might seem that the choice between it and Microsoft Office for Mac would be simple, but it isn’t. Although iWork can open Microsoft Office documents, the support for Microsoft’s complex file formats is far from perfect. If you need to share the documents, presentations, and spreadsheets you create with others you should always use the same software as the people you collaborate with use, which, most likely, will be Microsoft Office for Windows or Mac.
- Microsoft Excel is hands down the best spreadsheet software in the world. iWork Numbers works fine for simple tracking of expenses, but it can’t match some of the more advance features of Excel, including graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. Since learning any spreadsheet software can take a lot of time and energy, it makes sense to learn the one that’s used in the business world.
- Finally, Microsoft Office for Mac comes with OneNote, a fantastic note-taking application whose interface provides an electronic version of a tabbed ring-binder, into which users can gather material from a wide variety of sources, including handwritten or typed notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries.
- However, iWork also has its strengths. It takes quite a bit of effort to produce a good-looking presentation with PowerPoint but accomplishing the same with iWork Keynote is effortless. If you’ve ever seen Apple’s presentation, you know how sleek and polished their slides are. Well, those slides have been created using the same presentation software that you can download for free from the App Store: iWork Keynote.
iWork Pages is a simple alternative to Microsoft Word that generally appeals to people who only work on relatively simple documents and seldom use features such as bibliographies and change tracking. Unfortunately, iWork Pages documents cannot be opened by Microsoft Word for Windows and Mac, making them unfit for the business world, where Microsoft Office dominates.
How to Download Microsoft Office for Mac?
To download Microsoft Office for Mac, go to www.office.com and sign in with the account associated with your version of Office. Go to the Office home page and select Install Office → Install.
How to Install Microsoft Office for Mac?
An installer file will be downloaded to your computer. Launch it and follow the instructions. When you see the phrase, “You’re all set! Office is installed now,” your install is finished.
The first time you launch Microsoft Office for Mac, you will be prompted to activate your installation. Simply follow the activation wizard prompts to complete the activation process.
How to Uninstall Microsoft Office on Mac?
To uninstall Microsoft Office on Mac, open Finder and navigate to Applications. Press the Command key and click to select all of the Office 2016 for Mac applications. Keep holding the Command key and click an application you selected and click Move to Trash.
- Open Finder and press the Command key Shift H.
- On the Finder menu at the top, click View → as List, and then click View → Show View Options.
- In the View Options dialog box, select Show Library Folder and save. Return back to Finder and navigate to Library → Containers.
- Finally, delete the following files:
- com.microsoft. errorreporting
- com.microsoft. Excel
- com.microsoft. netlib.shipassertprocess
- com.microsoft. Office365ServiceV2
- com.microsoft. Outlook
- com.microsoft. Powerpoint
- com.microsoft. RMS-XPCService
- com.microsoft. Word
- com.microsoft. onenote.mac
Plus, these three additional files, which are located in Library → Group Containers:
How to Recover Office Files on Mac?
The latest version of Microsoft Office for Mac supports Cloud synchronization, but that doesn’t make Office files immune to corruption or data loss. If you don’t like the idea of seeing hours of work vanish in the blink of an eye, we highly recommend you download and install Disk Drill, a premium data recovery solution for Mac OS X.
Unlike so many other data recovery products, Disk Drill is a first-class Mac application, featuring an attractive and highly usable user interface and too many features to name them all.
Included with Disk Drill are several free disk tools intended to help you with data backup, hard drive cleanup, disk health monitoring, and system recovery. Despite all of this, Disk Drill can be downloaded for free and tested without any functional limitations.
Should I use Microsoft Word on a Mac or a cheaper alternative?
I chose Microsoft Word for Mac when I switched to a MacBook Pro some years ago. As a writer, I have a very large number of Word files, but with Microsoft moving to an annual subscription model, the cost of remaining with Word is looking prohibitive.
Is there is a cheaper way of carrying on with Word, or, failing that, an alternative word processor with which I’ll still be able to open and edit my existing Word documents? Ed
Microsoft would prefer both Mac and Windows users of Office to move to the online version, Office 365, but it’s still entirely up to you. In fact, you can already use some Microsoft Office programs online, including Word, without paying Microsoft a penny. All you have to do is create a Microsoft Account using any working email address – it doesn’t have to be a Microsoft email address – and you can use online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint with free online storage in OneDrive. This is exactly the same as Google’s online suite. The main difference is that Microsoft’s programs are better, except for multiuser simultaneous editing.
Microsoft’s free suite also includes OneNote, Skype, Calendar, People, Tasks, Photos, Sway, Flow and Forms. I expect this list will continue to grow in the future.
So, if you want to use Word, you have three choices: the online version (free), the desktop program (one-off payment), and Office 365 (annual subscription). Office 365 includes online, desktop, tablet and smartphone versions for both PCs and Macs, Android and Apple’s iOS.
Why use Word?
There are many reasons for using Word. The best is that you like using it, because of its power, rich feature list, ease of use or whatever. That’s why I’ve used it for a couple of decades.
The second reason is that you need it to read old files, which is one of your problems. This depends on the complexity of your files. If your documents include multiple columns, embedded images, custom fonts, footnotes and similar features, you can more or less forget about using anything else. But if your documents are simple text files, then a lot of programs will load them.
I tried to avoid this problem by saving all my files in Microsoft’s.rtf (rich text) file format, which almost any word processor can read. Being text based, it’s hopeless for storing images, but it’s perfect for texts with simple formatting. But I found I still needed Word to compare files, and to cope with the publishing industry’s use of styles, Комментарии и мнения владельцев and “track changes”.
The third reason is that we live in a world where Microsoft Office is the de facto standard for business documents, and you absolutely have to be able to read them accurately. This applies in spades to files that use VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) and macros, and to Excel spreadsheets where errors can have career-ending financial consequences.
This isn’t going to change in a hurry because Microsoft Office is also a platform with hundreds of add-ons and plug-ins, it’s supported by thousands of books, video tutorials, websites and consultants, and it’s what most office workers already know how to use.
And when time is money, the cost of sorting out incompatibilities and usability issues is far higher than the cost of Office. If you’re paying staff, say, £20,000 to £60,000 a year, and can’t afford £100 a year for Office 365 – less for a boxed version – then you have bigger problems.
Decide where you are on the spectrum from “I like it” to “can’t live without it”. If you are not a business, you can certainly live without it or use the free online version. But even if you switch to a free alternative, you’ll spend time learning a new interface and handling your old documents.
The traditional advantages of buying boxed copies of Office were that you could use it on two PCs (a desktop and a laptop, but not at the same time) and that you could transfer it to a new PC. Boxed copies have more or less disappeared, but if you own one, you need to keep the code marked on the box to reinstall it. If you lose the DVDs, you can download the software. If you lose the activation code, you can’t get a new one without giving Microsoft proof of purchase.
Cheaper versions of Office are locked to the PC on which they were originally installed. That means you’re unlikely to get the full 10 years we used to get by moving Office to new PCs, and perhaps explains Microsoft’s attempts to reduce its 10-year support lifecycle.
In fact, Microsoft has only announced mainstream support for Office Home Student 2019 for the five years up to 10 October 2023, with extended support marked “Not Applicable”. I suspect Microsoft will support it until 14 October 2025, which is the end of support date for Office 2016, and that Office 2022 (yes, there will be one) will only get five years.
A further complication is that Microsoft only supports the last three versions of MacOS.
Office Home Student 2019 looks like a bargain at £119.99 or less, but that’s a single-installation version. You can divide the price by the number of years you expect your 2012 MacBook Pro to last. It will be more than the usual £12 a year.
Office 365, launched in 2013, is the Cloud-based version of Office, but usually provides access to the full desktop programs as well. Extra features over the Home Student edition include Outlook, the desktop email and organisation program, 60 minutes of Skype calls, apps for Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets, and 1TB of online storage instead of 15GB. Windows users also get Microsoft Publisher and the Access database.
It’s not a bad deal for £59.99 a year – or £49.75 if you get the activation code by email – if you use the storage. (Google charges £57 a year for 1TB, and £24.99 a year for 200GB of Gdrive.)
However, the family version, Office 365 Home, is far better value. This costs £79.99 a year for up to six users, including friends. Everyone gets their own terabyte of storage, up to 6TB in all. For a family of four, it’s only £20 per year each. If you can share the cost, it’s terrific value, because each user can install the full Office on multiple PCs and Macs. There’s no need to buy three or more single-machine copies to install them on a desktop, laptop, 2-in-1 tablet and so on.
Also, Microsoft claims that Office 365 is better than Office 2019. First, the 365 programs have more and better features, because they are continuously updated. The Office 2019 versions are fixed. Second, Office 365 has various collaborative and AI-based Cloud features. It’s not clear how useful most of these are to solitary users, apart from instant translation.
Alternatives to Word
Lots of programs claim they can read Microsoft Word.doc and.docx formats, and some can also write or export them. As mentioned, the success rate generally depends on the Word features you use. You will need to load and “save as” a few of your most complex documents to see how much of the formatting survives. If you only write plain texts, you should be fine. Just keep your original files, instead of overwriting them.
You could start with Apple’s Pages, because it’s free, and you may have it already. Otherwise, your best bet is LibreOffice 6.2.2, which now has its own optional ribbon interface. LibreOffice is both open source and free, so it will only cost you the time needed to try it.
The less-well-known German suite SoftMaker Office has a ribbon interface and uses Microsoft Office file formats by default, without conversion. It has a free version and a subscription version (£49.90 a year), but you can buy the full SoftMaker Office Professional 2018 for Mac, Windows or Linux for £89.99, after a 30-day free trial.
I don’t regard Google Docs as an alternative because it’s online only, and you’d mostly be better off using the free version of Word online. Of course, nothing stops you from using both.
I was also going to suggest WPS Office, the suite owned by China’s Kingsoft, but it only has Windows, Linux, Android and iOS versions, not MacOS. WPS used to claim 100% compatibility, and it’s actually pretty good. Unfortunately, the free version includes advertising, which I found unbearable, and the Premium version isn’t worth 29.99 a year. Users who like it could consider a “lifetime” purchase for 79.99 (individuals) or 119.99 (businesses), but try SoftMaker first.
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