For a long time Microsoft Office enjoyed a loyal following of individual and business users. However, the forced subscription for its latest version and its high prices saw several alternatives come up outside of its banner.
If you just got a Mac but are struggling with whether to buy Office all over again, there are several Office alternatives for Mac you can choose from, even if all you want to do is edit and send Office documents once in a while.
Some are free suites with many tools, but you can invest in premium options and get extra features – the value may be worth the cost. Here are the best Microsoft Office alternatives for macOS.
This is one of the best open-source Microsoft Office suite alternatives available on several platforms including macOS.
It is an offshoot of OpenOffice and comprises a word processor, presentation and spreadsheet software.
Anyone who has worked with Microsoft Office will quickly adjust to LibreOffice because of the familiar features like the pre-ribbon era interface.
LibreOffice suite has all the pro features in its offline desktop apps, including a recent online component that enables file syncing from OneDrive or Google Drive. This allows you to edit your files right in LibreOffice.
It uses the OpenDocument format (ODF) and supports various other types of formats like those in Microsoft Office.
The fairly lightweight and flexible suite is available in 110 languages, with technical support coming from online, being an open-source software. However, you might not always need support since LibreOffice is pretty straightforward and easy to use.
It also allows you to export files into PDF format, and you can add more features like extra document templates through extensions from the LibreOffice website.
The downside is it doesn’t have real-time collaborative editing nor integrated cloud storage.
2. Google Drive/Google Suite
This free, web-based online suite is a very popular and robust alternative for macOS.
It offers user-friendly and accessible versions of programs, with free and business versions available for different user types.
Google Drive comprises Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, which are alternatives to Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel. G Suite is the enterprise version of Google Drive and comes with Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for your business.
It is widely used, though not as function-rich as Microsoft Office, plus you can access it from anywhere.
G Suite integrates with your Google account, so you can open Word documents from Gmail in Google Docs and even access beautiful templates, add-ons, Google search capabilities, and superior built-in research tools.
With G Suite you can import Microsoft Office files easily and work on them and then export them in Office formats to share with your team or other recipients. You also get to leverage the Google cloud advantage and collaborate with multiple users in real-time on any document or file.
Not only is G Suite great for productivity, it also offers up to 15GB of free storage. Plus, its Offline mode lets you work on documents while offline in Chrome.
The downside is it doesn’t have a desktop app, lacks a few Office features, and documents aren’t always duplicate images of Office document versions.
3. iWork Suite
iWork is a built-in program in your Mac which works like Office. It includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, which are Apple’s broad equivalents to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
It is simple to use, has a beautiful but straightforward interface, and is more lightweight than Office.
Numbers offers a blank canvas for you to begin from, making it easier to add tables, images and charts. It also removes that feeling of being a ledger, unlike Excel that has a grid view.
Pages is also simple to use and doesn’t have layers of options like Word, plus you can collaborate with other users as you work.
The presentation application, KeyNote, helps you create beautiful presentations without the hassles of PowerPoint.
All iWork apps can export and import Office formats and other formats compatible with other suites. However, the iCloud version requires an Internet connection to use and isn’t as fully-featured as the desktop client. The good thing is that you can access documents from anywhere as it enables cross-platform collaboration.
Calligra offers mind map and project management tools, among many advanced features.
Its tabs are set on the right side of the screen, so the page you edit won’t take up the full screen.
With Calligra, you can read DOCX and DOX document formats, though it doesn’t allow you to edit them. This can pose some challenges if you get Office documents from other people, as they’d have to send documents in formats like Open Document Text (ODT) instead.
macOS users can download this free, open-source suite alternative for Office directly from its website or from its developer’s downloads page.
5. Office Online
This alternative gives you free access to Office for Mac and is a basic, browser-based Office suite version.
It features the basics: document editing, presentation options, and spreadsheet formulas. You also get access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote.
The latest version also includes Mail, Calendar, Sway, People, and OneDrive, but with a limited Office experience.
While it lacks some functionality like WordArt, and text boxes, charts, equations and custom macros don’t load in Excel sheets, Office Online is still a versatile alternative.
You can still open files, edit, and keep document formatting.
6. Polaris Office
This free tier Office alternative offers tools for creating and editing multiple file types like DOCX, PPT, HWP and XLS.
It works across platforms and syncs your account among your devices so you can create and edit from anywhere, with AWS (Amazon Web Services) security for all your data.
Besides editing PDF documents and converting them to PDF, you can also convert image and voice files to documents where necessary.
Polaris suite supports German, Russian, English, Korean, and French languages.
Most of these capable alternatives are compatible with files made in Microsoft’s programs. This way you can create and edit documents on macOS.
Which one do you use on your Mac? Tell us in a comment.