Microsoft has never released Publisher for Mac but don’t fear as you can still run it on a Mac. Here we show you the best way to install MS Publisher on a Mac in 2023.
Firstly however, we strongly recommend checking out these amazing alternatives to Microsoft Publisher for Mac as there are some FAR better desktop publishing software on Mac nowadays than MS Publisher.
Adobe InDesign is the best equivalent to Microsoft Publisher on a Mac and produces much more professional results than Microsoft Publisher can.
Adobe InDesign is used by some of the top designers in the world as part of the amazing Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools.
There are currently discounts of up to 60% on the entire Adobe Creative Cloud suite which includes over 20 apps such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop making it much better value for money than MS Publisher.
If however you just need to open Microsoft PUB Publisher file format on a Mac you’ve got two options.
- You can either convert Publisher files into another format and import them into other DTP apps. This is fast and easy but it doesn’t always work well and won’t allow you to edit them like you can in MS Publisher.
- Or you can run Windows on your Mac and then install the Windows version of Microsoft Publisher to open and edit them in macOS as we’ll show you here.
How To Run Publisher on a Mac
To use Microsoft Publisher on a Mac you first have to install Windows on your Mac. Although there are various ways of installing Windows on a Mac, the virtualization software Parallels is by far the best way to do so.
Parallels makes it easy enough even for beginners to install Windows on a Mac and allows you to switch between macOS and Windows instantly at any time.
Once installed, you can install any Windows application or game on your Mac, including Microsoft Publisher.
It’s also the only way to run Windows and MS Publisher on M1 Macs.
You can check out our full review of Parallels for more.
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Follow these instructions then to install Microsoft Publisher on a Mac.
- Download and install Parallels on your Mac. Parallels (check out our full review here) is an incredibly useful tool that allows you to run Windows at the same as macOS. We recommend having at least 30GB of space free on your Mac in order to install Windows on your Mac using Parallels. Note that if you’re using an M1 Mac, the installation process is slightly different and you should follow these instructions to install Windows on an M1 Mac.
- When you download Parallels, double click on the Parallels installer which will will take you through the setup wizard. Since Parallels version 12 and above, it now gives you the option to download and install Windows 10 directly from Microsoft without leaving the Parallels setup wizard.
The cool thing is you can now install Windows 10 for free on a Mac and install Windows 11 for free on a Mac too (including on M1 and M2 Macs). Microsoft no longer requires users to activate the full version unless you want to customize the look of it or remove a small watermark.
- You’ll either see one of the two following screens when you start the Windows setup. You’ll either this one which will take you through the Windows setup automatically by clicking Install Windows and then you can skip straight to Step 6 in this tutorial:
Or if you’ve previously install Parallels before in the past, you may see the setup wizard below.
If you see the latter, simply click on Get Windows 10 From Microsoft to install it without leaving the Parallels setup wizard.
- You’ll then see the following screen – click on Get Windows 10 even if you don’t have a license key as it’s not essential to activate Windows anymore in order to use it.
- Parallels will then start to download Windows 10 automatically.
Alternatively, you can manually download Windows 10 for free from Microsoft and then save it onto a pen drive or external drive for Mac with at least 5GB of storage space on and select Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file.
Whichever way you choose to buy Windows 10, make sure you get the 64 bit version and not the older 32 bit one.
If you decide you want to buy it so that you can customize the look of Windows and remove a watermark, you can buy Windows 10 direct from Microsoft or you can sometimes can it slightly cheaper from Amazon.
You can also buy Windows 11 if you prefer to install that instead and customize it.
Note that if you own an earlier version of Windows such as Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can also download an ISO image of it first and then put it on a storage device such as an external hard drive, pen drive or burn it onto a CD or DVD if you have a CD or DVD drive.
- Before Windows installs, you will be prompted to sign-up for a free Parallels account. Just enter your email and create a password or sign-up with your Google/Facebook account.
The Windows Parallels Install Wizard will then continue. If prompted, select Express Installation and uncheck the box
This version requires a product key (unless you have purchased a Windows 10 Product Key but as mentioned earlier, you don’t need a product key to use Windows 10).
- Click the checkbox for Express Installation.
- Choose what you’ll mainly be using Parallels for. For the purposes of Microsoft Publisher, the best option is Productivity.
- Select a location on your Mac hard drive to install Parallels and give it a name e.g. “Windows 10”. Note that you’ll need at least 20GB of hard drive space free to install Parallels which is enough space for Parallels, Windows and Publisher to operate smoothly on your Mac.
However we recommend having much more space so that you can install more Windows programs and games at a later space but you can change this later if you have to.
- The Windows setup wizard will then start just as if you were installing Windows on a PC for the first time. Simply select the language settings that are appropriate for you.
If you got the Windows 10 auto installer at the beginning of step 2, you may not see these setup screens as it will automatically detect your language and region settings.
- When prompted whether to perform an Upgrade or Custom install select Custom. Windows will then take some time to setup and install on your Mac.
- You’ve now installed Windows on your Mac are are ready to install Microsoft Publisher.
Nowadays, Microsoft Publisher is part of Office 365 and you’ll need an Office 365 subscription in order to continue.
- If you already have one, open Internet Explorer in Windows and go to the Office 365 login or you can open the login from within the Windows Start Menu.
If you haven’t got an Office 365 you’ll need to get an Office 365 subscription first which starts at $7.99 per month which can be cancelled at any time. You can also try a free trial of Office 365 on Windows although you’ll need a credit card to do so.
- Once you’ve setup or logged into your Office 365 account, simply select Install Office from the Office 365 home page. If prompted, make sure you install the 64 bit version of MS Office and not the 32 bit version for older versions of Windows.
If you’re prompted with the warning “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” click Yes. The Microsoft Office installation will then begin.
- When the installation is done, you’ll receive a confirmation message with an animation showing you that you can see where your Office applications are installed by going to Start > All Apps in Windows. You’ll see Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access.
- Go to Start > All Apps in Windows and select Publisher. When you open an Office application for the first time, you’ll be prompted to accept that it will be updated automatically by Microsoft. Just click Accept to launch Publisher.
You’re done! You can now use Microsoft Publisher on your Mac just as if you were using a PC.
The great thing about Parallels is that you can switch back to macOS at any time without rebooting or shutting down.
You thus get the best of both worlds – MS Publisher running on your Mac while being able to access all if your Mac applications and documents whenever you want.
If you have any problems installing Microsoft Publisher on your Mac, let us know in the comments below.
This is incredibly helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to write out these detailed instructions. Thank you. I have not started the download process, but fingers crossed, it will go as easy at it seems in your instructions.