The best substitute to Microsoft 365 for your personal needs will depend on your requirements, team size and budget.
Some things you may want to consider however are support for importing and exporting Microsoft 365 files especially in DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX format as well as the older DOC, PPT and XLS format.
Although many of these replacements can open and edit Microsoft 365 files, you’ll end-up spending a lot of time fixing glitches and cleaning-up formatting issues that inevitably happen when you try to use Microsoft file formats in another app.
Other things worth considering are collaboration features for teams and whether it offers a desktop version that works on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs with the M1, M2 or M3 chips.
With this in mind, here then are the best alternatives to Microsoft 365 for Mac in order of ranking.
1. Google Workspace
The closest thing to getting Microsoft 365 on a Mac for free is Google Workspace (formerly Google Suite or “G-Suite”).
Google Workspace includes Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides which are the equivalents of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
There’s also Meet as an alternative to Microsoft Teams, Gmail as a replacement for Microsoft Outlook and of course there’s Google Calendar.
Over the years Google has improved compatibility with Microsoft apps to the extent where you can now easily open and edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents for free in Google Workspace.
You can also export them back into Microsoft 365 file formats so that you can easily send and receive documents to colleagues or friends using MS Office or Microsoft 365.
Google Docs is a particularly good free replacement to Word for Mac with generous free storage of up to 15GB, lots of sharing options and many different document templates.
If you collaborate with other users in a team or office environment, Google Suite also allows you to see edits made by others, chat and leave comments on documents.
There’s no desktop app for Google Suite although you can use it offline in Google Chrome and it will sync when you next go online again.
Not as well integrated with macOS as other products
7. Polaris Office
Polaris Office has been used by corporations such as Amazon and Samsung which gives you an idea of the kind of customer it’s designed for.
Despite this there is a free version of Polaris Office that anyone can use but it does include ads.
The ad free premium plan of the Polaris Office Smart Cloud starts at $39.99 per year with the Pro version a reasonable $59.99 per year. The Mac desktop version however is more expensive at $79.99 but this is for a lifetime license.
Polaris supports importing and exporting PPT, XLS, DOCX and HWP files. You can also convert and edit PDF documents.
For businesses that want to integrate Polaris into their own products, you can also use the Polaris API in the premium versions of the product.
Although it doesn’t support dictating on a Mac, Polaris can even turn voice memos into documents.
Full support for importing and exporting MS Office files
Collaboration via Cloud version
Works on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs
Mac desktop version costs separately
Free version is ad supported
OnlyOffice allows you to collaborate for free on documents with comparison tracking, edit highlighting and the ability to leave comments on edits.
It also includes a useful PDF editor too.
There’s even a built-in chat feature plus integration with Telegram to talk to colleagues and you can also launch video chats with Jitsi or Rainbow.
The source code for OnlyOffice is freely available for anyone to edit meaning it’s extremely secure with three levels of encryption during editing, when sending and receiving documents.
There’s even a desktop version for Mac for both Apple Silicon and Intel Macs which is integrated with the Cloud version that works in any browser.
You can use the Starter version of OnlyOffice for free with up to 5 users allowed. Business plans start at $5 per user per month which allows unlimited admins, 100GB of storage per user, automatic backup and more.