Publisher for Mac: Best Desktop Publishing Software

There is no Microsoft Publisher for Mac free trial. Publisher for Mac does not exist but you can open .pub files on Mac and there are great alternatives. There are a few simple solutions which allow you to work with Publisher files on Mac. There are also some excellent alternatives to Publisher on Mac which do an even better job than Microsoft Publisher for DTP (Desktop Publishing). First we’ll look at how to open Publisher .pub files on Mac and then we’ll look at the best desktop publishing software alternatives to Publisher. Please note you cannot can access Publisher on your Mac via the online Cloud version of Microsoft Office – Office 365. Publisher is only available on PC via Office 365.

First we’ll look at how to open Publisher .pub files on Mac and then we’ll look at the best desktop publishing software alternatives to Publisher.

How to open .pub files on Mac

There is no way to directly open Publisher .pub files on Mac. However, you can easily get round this by:

a) Exporting the .pub files to a different format. Open the .pub files on Windows and then export them to a different format that can be opened on Mac. Just go to File and Export or Save As in Publisher for Windows and select the desired format.

b) If this is not an option for you, you can convert the .pub files online using an online converter such as Zamzar.

publisher for mac - zamzar convert fileIf you just need to read the .pub files, then exporting to PDF is sufficient. If you want to actually edit the .pub files, then exporting it to RTF format will allow you to edit it in most Word Processing applications including Microsoft Word for Mac.

Microsoft Word for Mac: The closest thing to Publisher for Mac

Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac does pretty much everything that Microsoft Publisher can do and more although it can’t open .pub files without going through the process described above. However, if in Word for Mac you go to View and then Publishing Layout View, you’ll see that Word turns into a DTP software. It’s probably the closest you’ll get to Publisher on Mac.

publisher for mac - word for mac

If you simply must have MS Publisher for Mac on your Mac

If you really can’t do without Microsoft Publisher on your Mac, then the only other solution is to run Windows on Mac using a Windows virtual machine – such as Parallels or VMWare – to run Windows within OS X and then install Publisher within it.

publisher for mac - parallelsAlternatively, you can install Windows on your Mac using Bootcamp which allows you to boot your Mac in either Windows or OS X.

Alternatives to Publisher for Mac: Best Desktop Publishing Software for Mac

Most people that have used Publisher on Windows and have switched to Mac will advise you to forget about Publisher completely. Macs are much more geared towards Desktop Publishing than PCs and there are far better alternatives available both free and commercial ranging from beginner to professional. Note that the the only free alternative to Publisher in this list is Scribus. The rest all cost anything from $19.99 upwards but you can download a free trial (if available) by clicking on the names.

Pages ($19.99 from Mac App Store)

Pages is the Apple equivalent of Microsoft Word and part of Apple’s iWork suite. It does both word processing and desktop publishing and so allows you to create anything that’s possible with Microsoft Publisher. With lots of professional looking templates and layouts, you’ll never go back to Microsoft Publisher after trying Pages. Note that you don’t need to buy the entire iWork suite to get Pages – you can download it separately from the Mac App Store for $19.99.

publisher for mac - pages

Swift Publisher (Free Trial. Full version $19.99)

Swift Publisher is a user friendly and slick desktop publishing software for Mac. It doesn’t require lots of learning like professional DTP software for Mac but produces professional looking results. Like Pages, there are lots of professional looking templates, it’s integrated with iPhoto and you can export your work to PDF, JPEG, EPS, TIFF etc. If you want an easy to use alternative to Microsoft Publisher for Windows without a steep learning curve, then Swift Publisher is an excellent and economic option.

publisher for mac - swift publisher

iStudio Publisher (30 day Free Trial. $29.99 Full Version)

Like Swift Publisher, iStudio Publisher is another simple but powerful alternative to Publisher for Mac. iStudio Publisher produces very professional results and particularly useful are the video tutorials and Quick Start Guide that make iStudio very easy to get going with. It also works on older versions of OS X from 10.4 upwards.

publisher for mac - istudio publisher

Scribus (Free)

Scribus is a powerful professional free open source desktop publishing application which can do everything that Microsoft Publisher can and much more. However, it is a bit tricky to install. You need to install other components for it to work but if you can be bothered with the hassle, it’s a very powerful program and the only free alternative to Publisher for Mac.

publisher for mac - scribus

QuarkXPress (Free Trial. $849 Full Version)

QuarkXPress is probably the most well-known and established Desktop Publishing Software on the market. It’s traditionally been the choice of professional publishers, Magazines and newspapers. However, nowadays QuarkXPress faces competition from Adobe’s InDesign which forms part of the excellent Adobe Creative Suite. QuarkXPress is complicated to learn how to use but if you’re a professional Designer, it’s an essential package.

publisher for mac - quarkxpress

Adobe InDesign

(Free Trial. $19.99 per month annual subscription or $29.99 on a per month basis. You can however buy a standalone version of Adobe InDesign version CS6 )

Along with QuarkXPress, Adobe InDesign is the industry standard DTP software for Mac. For anyone that’s familiar with Adobe products, it’s preferable to QuarkXPress because it’s integrated into the powerful Creative Suite which features Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver etc. However, the latest version of Adobe InDesign is now only available on a monthly subscription basis as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. An older version of InDesign from CS6 is available however without a monthly subscription.

publisher for mac - indesign

21 thoughts on “Publisher for Mac: Best Desktop Publishing Software

  1. This is an EXCELLENT article on Mac versions of Publisher! I’ve been struggling with the decision as to whether to buy or not to buy new Pubisher version, run with Parallels, but have heard pros & cons against it. You are so right–I used the Publishing layout view in MS Word 2011 which I’ve never done, and it works great. I was preparing a tri-fold brochure, used a great template, recolored it to match my theme colors and so far, so good.

    This is an easy-to-understand, self explanatory article that helped me make up my mind to stick with Mac software and as you so aptly stated it, I will leave the world of Publisher behind!!!

    Thanks so much for taking time to explain Mac options in user friendly terms!!!

  2. I did purchase Printfolio Bundle and Swift Publisher 3, but I will admit that it is not as easy as Publisher to navigate. I got so frustrated, trying to put together a tri-fold brochure, (time sensitive) that I returned to a MS Word (for Mac) template to finish project. I don’t have lots of time to be a “student” of new software, so not sure this will keep me away from MS Pubisher. We’ll see!

  3. I am thinking of going to a Mac and was curious about my MS Publisher files and potentially switching to Mac DTP program. Your information was extremely helpful in assisting me in my decision. Thanks for the great information.

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