Microsoft Word is a word processing application that first came onto the productivity markets in 1983. Its design was ambitious and feature-rich to provide a superior alternative to existing word processors like WordPerfect and MultiMate. Microsoft Word is still very popular among Windows users.
Though the best Microsoft Word alternative for Mac is LibreOffice. You get complete office suite for free. The best part of LibreOffice is that it’s open-source, meaning users have more freedom to use documents the way they want.
More about Microsoft Word
As Microsoft competed with Apple to gain market share in the late 1980s, they released a series of new applications, bundling them within their operating systems. MS Word was one of these applications, and it quickly became the dominant word processor on the market.
However, its hegemony declines as the computer hardware and software industries innovate under increasingly diverse brands. The monopolistic tendencies of product bundling by Microsoft continue unraveling. Consequently, alternatives to MS Word are increasingly becoming popular.
Users have more options as platforms like macOS become more user-friendly and compatible with office productivity applications. Hence, other word processors on MacOS like Pages and Keynote are slowly eating into MS Word’s market dominance.
As the industry leader, MS Word still has the most features and is compatible with the greatest number of hardware platforms and software programs.
It’s still the best option for users who need a feature-rich word processor, but it’s expensive. Thus, its market dominance is waning, and it may not be the best option for users in the future.
Most folks use Windows for years before switching to Mac. They’re either unaware of the benefits of using a Mac or have used Windows for so long that they’re comfortable with it and don’t want to change.
Still, you’ve got many reasons to switch from Windows to Mac. The following are some of the most compelling:
- Macs are much less likely to get viruses and malware than Windows computers.
- Macs are easier to use and have a more intuitive interface than Windows computers.
- Macs are more reliable and durable than Windows computers.
- Macs retain their value better than Windows computers.
When you finally make the switch, you’ll need to know the various alternatives for Microsoft Word.
Though Microsoft is a classic for Windows, it doesn’t have the same ubiquity on Mac. Here are some of the best options for MS Word for Mac:
LibreOffice is an empowering alternative to Microsoft Office because of its cost-benefit implications. It has as many features as Microsoft Word, but it’s free and open source.
The open-source nature of LibreOffice allows talented and diverse developers globally to contribute innovations and debug code.
Thus, users can customize LibreOffice and share their innovations for free or through sales.
LibreOffice is a great example of how free and open-source software can compete with or beat expensive proprietary software.
Some of the innovations that make LibreOffice Writer tool better than MS Word include:
A More Intuitive User Interface
The LibreOffice Writer user interface is more intuitive than that of Microsoft Word, as the menus and toolbars are organized more logically.
For example, the Formatting toolbar is next to the Styles and Formatting window, which contains all the available formatting options.
Access to More Fonts
LibreOffice Writer includes a wider range of fonts than Microsoft Word. Such a range of options is crucial as the fonts you use can significantly affect the look and feel of your document.
For example, if you’re creating a flier, you’ll want to use a font that’s easy to read from a distance.
Ability to Save as PDF
When you save a document as a PDF, it retains all the formatting and layout of the original document.
Just imagine how this feature is helpful when you’re sending the document to someone who doesn’t have access to the original software that created it.
LibreOffice Writer can also password protect your PDFs.
Better Compatibility with Microsoft Office Formats
LibreOffice has much better compatibility with Microsoft Office formats than earlier versions of LibreOffice.
For example, if you save a document in Microsoft Word format, it’ll look similar when you open it in LibreOffice.
Thus, you can transfer all your MS Word docs to LibreOffice without formatting issues.
Better Support for Collaborative Editing
LibreOffice has better support for collaborative editing than Microsoft Word. For example, you can track all the changes made to a document and see who made them.
You can also add comments to specific parts of the document. Both features are essential when you’re working on a project with multiple people.
Comprehensive Extensions and Templates Library
LibreOffice has a comprehensive extensions and templates library that includes tools for creating diagrams, mathematical formulas, and more.
This library is constantly expanding as new extensions and templates are created by the community.
Pages is a word processing software developed by Apple Inc. that comes pre-installed on Mac computers. It offers several features unavailable in Microsoft Word, like the ability to create and edit documents collaboratively in real-time.
Pages is also more tightly integrated with other Apple software applications, including Keynote and Numbers. Thus, you can create more complex documents.
You can simultaneously create stunning documents from your iPad, iPhone, Mac, and iCloud.com. Apple designed Pages for ease of use, with powerful features and tools that allow you to create stunning documents quickly and easily.
Microsoft Word is available for both Mac and Windows computers, while Pages is only available for Macs.
Pages is a good option if you’re a Mac user and are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Word. However, Pages does not have all the features of Microsoft Word, so if you need those features, you may want to stick with Microsoft Word.
You can start with something beautiful and track every change from your collaborative team members.
Pages for iCloud is free on the web. You don’t need a Mac, and you don’t even need an Apple ID. Just visit pages.icloud.com in any web browser and start creating beautiful documents.
3. ClickUp Docs
ClickUp specializes in project management, but it also offers a word processor that you can use on Mac devices. ClickUp Docs is a great alternative to Microsoft Word, especially if you need to collaborate with others on a project.
You can easily create and share documents with your team, and the app offers many features that make it easy to work on projects together. Plus, ClickUp Docs is free to use!
Microsoft Word is not free, and it can be expensive if you need to use the full version of the software. If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to Microsoft Word, ClickUp Docs is a great option.
Some of the highlights of ClickUp Docs for Mac users include:
- A wide range of formatting options
- Collaborative features, so you can work with others on projects
- The ability to track changes and feedback
- A simple interface that is easy to use
The paid version of ClickUp Docs offers even more features, such as:
- Unlimited document storage
- Advanced security features
- The ability to create custom templates
ClickUp Docs are compatible with Microsoft Word files, so you can easily work with others using MS Word.
Cover images and page icons are available in the text formatting options, and a wide range of add-ons empowers you to customize the app.
4. Google Docs
Google is giving Microsoft a run for its money, and it’s banking on cloud-based document collaboration tools to do it. In addition to its popular email and calendar applications, Google offers a comprehensive set of online tools for creating and sharing:
The most popular of these is Google Docs, a suitable alternative for Microsoft Word on a Mac.
Google Docs is also free. It works in your web browser and offers most of the features that you’re likely to need from a word processor.
You can create a document with a generous selection of fonts while uploading images and embedding links.
You can also collaborate in real-time with other people, whether they’re co-workers or friends. Changes are automatically saved as you work.
One downside is Google Docs doesn’t support complex formattings, such as footnotes and endnotes. If you need those features, you might better stick with Microsoft Word.
Check out the best Google doc alternatives in this post.
Calligra Words is a feature among the Calligra Suite that has been designed to compete with Microsoft Word in the market. It’s a word processing application that allows users to create and edit text documents.
Many features make Calligra Words stand out among its competitors, including:
- Support for various document formats such as .doc, .docx, .odt, and more
- Advanced text formatting options
- Collaborative editing tools
- Spell checker and grammar checker
- Templates for creating various types of documents
The company behind Calligra is KDE, a free and open-source software community that creates desktop applications and services.
KDE is popular for its user-friendly designs and its strong focus on collaboration. Naturally, Calligra Word is an excellent choice for users who want an application that is powerful and easy to use.
You can effortlessly add charts and images to your text documents. This free-to-download alternative for Word also supports export to Open Document Format and PDF publishing.
Thus, you can share your documents with others without worrying about compatibility issues.
This Korean paid office suite offers an interesting alternative for Microsoft Word on Mac. It’s available for Mac, Android, iOS, Windows, and even Linux.
There’s an APK version and the online version. The features of the subscription versions are similar except for a few things.
The Polaris office product subscription categories are smart or pro. Some of the notable features of Polaris Office include:
Compress PowerPoint and Word files to PDF
Polaris Office can open and compress Microsoft PowerPoint (PPTX) and Word (DOCX) files to PDF. Thus, you can save space on your device or computer.
Add Watermarks to PDFs
You can add watermarks to your PDFs with Polaris Office, an effective way to protect your documents from being copied without your permission.
Convert PDFs to Editable Files
Polaris Office can convert PDFs to various Microsoft Office formats for you to edit them.
Organize Files by Projects
This feature helps you to better organize your files and work on them more efficiently.
Share Files with a Link
You can share your Polaris Office files with anyone by sending them a link. The recipient will be able to view, edit, or comment on the document without signing up for a Polaris Office account.
Polaris Office takes security and privacy seriously. You can decide to encrypt all files and make them only accessible through passwords.
This word processor is among the best for Mac users. Since 2002, Mellel has branded itself as the go-to tool for technical and academic writing with its many features for long document support.
Mellel has excellent support for working with different languages, allowing writers to work in their native language or switch between languages easily.
It also has powerful features for citations and bibliographies that make it a good choice for students and scholars.
Mellel Palettes vs MS Word Toolbar
Mellel did a much better job at simplifying the interface than Microsoft Word. The Mellel palettes are much more intuitive and user-friendly.
Ultimately, there are fewer options and features hidden behind menus in Mellel. The ton of features that MS Word tries to offer at the fingertip of the user is overwhelming, and it makes the average person not want to use any of them.
Thus, Mellel is a suitable alternative for Mac users looking for a word processor that is more straightforward than Microsoft Word.
8. Nisus Writer
Do you have an Apple Macintosh? And do you want to find an alternative for Microsoft Word? Look no further than Nisus Writer!
Nisus Writer is a powerful yet easy-to-use word processor for students, writers, business professionals, and anyone who needs to produce great-looking documents.
Nisus Writer has been in the game for 25 years, and it has a strong multilingual support system to bring together team members from different language communities.
Nisus Writer is also fully compatible with Microsoft Word, so you can easily share documents between the two programs.
The newest version of Nisus Writer, 3.2, offers a range of new features and enhancements. These include:
- Native support for Apple Silicon (M1) and Dark Mode
- Compatible with macOS Big Sur and Monterey
- Numerous enhancements to an extensive set of features
Nisus Writer Express vs Nisus Writer Pro
The main difference is that Nisus Writer Pro offers more advanced features, including:
- Support for macros
- Conditional text
If you frequently work with complex documents or need to create custom formatting, then Nisus Writer Pro is the right choice for you.
Otherwise, Nisus Writer Express will suit your needs just fine.
Give Nisus Writer a try and see for yourself how easy it is to create beautiful documents on your Macintosh!
9. Growly Write
This word processor allows you to create a staggering range of documents for free. Growly Write makes the process simple and easy, whether you need to produce a business report, a school assignment, or a letter.
Growly Write is compatible with:
- Apple Silicon (M1)
- Dark Mode
- macOS Big Sur
It’s also more compatible with other elements of the iWork suite.
It also has many features that make it stand out among its competitors. These features include:
- A wide range of templates to choose from
- The ability to track changes
- Advanced grammar and spell check
- Integration with iCloud Drive
- Export options for PDF, DOCX, and HTML
10. Office Online
Office Online is the only option for enjoying free access to Word on a Mac. However, it isn’t as full-featured as the Microsoft Word for Mac that you would buy.
It’s still a convenient way of creating and editing text documents. Plus, it offers most of the features users need daily.
One significant advantage of using Office Online instead of Microsoft Word for Mac is its compatibility with any operating system or browser.
So, if you need to use Word on a Mac but don’t want to spend the money on the full version, Office Online is a great alternative.
OpenOffice is available in about 121 languages, and it dates way before 1999. It is compatible with many file formats and can work on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Interestingly enough, Apache OpenOffice was created by the same people who made StarOffice. Oracle then bought and held it for the longest time.
Oracle and Apache have come a long way with OpenOffice, making it the closest free alternative to the feature-packed MS Word.
OpenOffice has all the features present in MS Word, and developers constantly update it with new features. There are some drawbacks of using this tool, but they are not deal-breakers.
For instance, the software does not always save documents in the same format like MS Word, which can be a problem if you’re working with team members who aren’t using OpenOffice.
However, OpenOffice is still an empowering choice for those who want to avoid paying for software licenses. It’s worth noting that Apache OpenOffice is free and open-source software.
Thus, it is constantly under improvement by a community of self-motivated developers.
This office suite for Mac has its design swiveled from LibreOffice and OpenOffice. This word processor is native to Mac’s OS, and it was developed in 2003. Hence, it’s accumulated 19 years of frequent innovation, tweaks, and new feature releases.
NeoOffice has most of the features that Microsoft Word offers, and its file format support is also impressive. You can open, edit, and save files in .docx, .pptx, and .xlsx formats.
You can navigate floating windows, icons, and menus effortlessly. The user interface might feel a bit familiar if you’ve used Microsoft Office in the past.
Another added advantage is its native support for Mac Services and the dark mode in macOS Mojave.
The only thing that might be a problem is the lack of online collaboration features, but it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re not working in a team.
Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage space with the option to upgrade to a paid account for more storage. The company also has a partnership with Microsoft, allowing Office 365 users to receive 1 TB of storage space.
You can edit your office documents with DropBox if you have a Mac. Just open the document in Dropbox, make your changes, and save it.
Your changes will be automatically saved to Dropbox, and you can access them from any device. You can also create and share new documents with other people using Dropbox.
Check out this post to explore the best open-source alternatives to Dropbox.
Are you tech-savvy, nerdy, or geeky? Do you like to be in control of your writing environment? Are you looking for a more lightweight, faster, and distraction-free way to write?
Markdown may be the right tool for you if you answered yes to any of these questions. Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool created by John Gruber in 2004.
It allows you to write in a more natural and relaxed way, without worrying about formatting your document for the web. Markdown is not only for writers though.
It can be used by anyone who wants a simple and easy way to format their text. For example, you can use markdown to create:
- Email signatures
- To-do lists
- Random text for a website
One of the best things about markdown is that it’s compatible with many different platforms. It can be used on:
- Stack Overflow
Is MS Word too convoluted and cluttered for your style? Are you the type that likes lean and straightforward apps? You’re in luck!
Bean is a stripped-down word processor that gives you the basic features you need to get your work done without all of the extra baggage. It also has an impressively user-friendly interface, so you can start typing away right away.
What’s even better? This minimalist word processor is free and works seamlessly on Mac.
It depends on your objectives, but LibreOffice offers the best features for a free office suite. If you’re looking for a native app with an Office-like interface, NeoOffice is a suitable option.
Markdown is the way to go if you want a distraction-free and lightweight word processor.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.