You don't have to leave Microsoft Office if you decide to switch from PC to Mac. Microsoft has a perfectly good version of Office 365 for Mac that comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and more. If you've been thinking about switching away from the Office productivity suite, there are alternatives that offer many of the features you love in Microsoft's programs, plus some features you can't get anywhere else.
Apple's alternative to Office is iWork. It's the most comparable alternative to Microsoft's productivity suite, only it comes free with every Mac. The interface is different, and will take some time to get used to, but if you're really interested in kicking Office to the curb, the iWork suite is the best alternative on Mac.
If you're ready for change, and Office's user interface, design, and tools aren't burned into your psyche, get Apple's iWork suite of apps. It comes preinstalled on new Macs, but you can also find it in the Mac App Store.
OpenOffice by Apache is probably the most similar to Microsoft Office in look and design. It comes with a word processor, a spreadsheet maker, and a presentation creator, all with many of the same features their Office counterparts have. Files are saved as open document format files, so they can be opened with any document viewer, including Office apps, without needing to be converted first. The best part is that OpenOffice is completely free.
If you're looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office that looks and works pretty much exactly the same, but doesn't cost a dime, OpenOffice is for you.
LibreOffice is an open source productivity suite very similar to Microsoft Office that comes with a word processor, spreadsheet maker, and presentation creator. It also includes a vector graphics editor, a math formula editor, and a database manager. Files are saved as open document format files, so you can open them with any document viewer, including Office apps, without needing to be converted first, though it does provide tools for saving a document as an Office-specific file. LibreOffice is totally free. It is very similar in design to Microsoft Office, with some minor differences in the design.
LibreOffice is a solid replacement for the Office apps and includes some useful extra programs that Office doesn't even have.
Google Docs is the easiest replacement for Microsoft office because it's so accessible. If you have a Gmail account, or a Google Hangouts account, or a YouTube account, you have Google Docs. Just visit the web-based app from your browser and you can create word processor documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. There is a Google Drive app you can download onto Mac so you can work offline. The changes will be made when your Mac is back online. Google Docs doesn't look at all like Microsoft Office, and has a very different user interface, but it does have many of the same, familiar features you know from Office.
The thing that makes Google Docs so useful, however, is it's real-time collaboration, which works seamlessly with multiple users. I've worked alongside a dozen other people in one document. I am able to see where everyone is within the documents and can see exactly when changes are made.
If you're looking for a very easy to use Office replacement that is ideal for working with others in real-time, you'll be pleased with Google Docs.
What's your pick?
Do you use a Microsoft Office alternative you'd recommend to our readers that are new to Mac or just want to switch from Microsoft? Put your suggestion in the comments below and tell us why its the one you chose.
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