Although there are ways to use Microsoft Office For Free on a Mac which includes Microsoft Word, we’ve looked at the best free and paid Microsoft Word alternatives for Mac of 2023.
Limited Offer: You can currently get 77% off a Microsoft Office For Mac Home & Business Lifetime License for $49.99 (normally $219.99) or 81% off 2 Lifetime Licenses for $79.99 (normally $439.98) for a limited period.
All of these apps can open and edit both DOC and DOCX files – the standard format now used in MS Word that is included in Microsoft Office For Mac which is currently being rebranded Microsoft 365.
These word processors provide a significant saving on MS Word and in some case like are not only free, but even better in our opinion.
In fact, you’ll find many of these word processing software for Mac are free to use or open source so they don’t cost a cent.
Some are standalone word processors and others are part of alternatives to Microsoft Office for Mac.
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Is There A Free Version of Microsoft Word For Mac?
There is no free version of Microsoft Word For Mac although there are a few workarounds to get Microsoft Word for Mac for free which includes Microsoft Word.
The closest thing to a free version of Word For Mac is Apple Pages, which can be downloaded for free from the Mac App Store.
Here then are the best word processors for Mac that are excellent alternatives to Microsoft Word for Mac in order of ranking.
Pages is Apple’s free answer to Microsoft Word and over the years it has become a very competitive alternative.
Although Pages was originally part of the iWork suite, Apple now allows you to download it for free from the Mac App Store.
Even better, for those that have upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Pages is free too as Apple has made the entire iWork suite free for Yosemite users.
As you would expect from an Apple product, Pages is extremely slick with some fantastic looking templates that make your work and documents look really professional.
If you’ve got an iCloud account, you can also share Pages documents to it and continue editing on your iPad via iCloud.com.
In an effort to work on all platforms and appeal to all users though, Pages has had to sacrifice certain features on Mac and it sometimes feels a bit “lightweight” and less professional than Word.
Pages also takes some adapting to if you’re only used to using Word. Menus are laid out differently and the “logic” behind it is slightly different to Word but when you get used to it, it’s amazingly easy to use with very smart results.
You can read our full review of Pages for more.
Mellel is a powerful word processor that focuses on scholars and those doing technical writing.
However, it’s a very suitable Word alternative, especially if you need multilingual support as Mellel supports Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and Syriac.
Some users feel Mellel is more tailored for professional writers than Word for Mac which tries to cater for everyone. Mellel is very responsive and fast and makes referencing and creating a table of contents for large documents easy.
Although Mellel saves documents in its own format, you can save it in .docx, pdf, rtf and most other formats.
There’s also a Lite version of Mellel which lacks some of the more powerful Word-like features of the full version but is still an excellent lightweight alternative to Word.
Write 2 is an extremely lightweight and slick Word alternative for Mac that looks particularly good on Retina displays and makes writing a pleasure.
It doesn’t claim to be a full alternative to Word but it does provide all of the essential functionality in a more Mac like interface.
It’s easy to use and if you only need to perform simple word processing, it’s an excellent option for writing. It’s also integrated with iCloud so you can work wherever you are.
Nisus Writer has been around for over 20 years and many faithful users prefer it to Microsoft Word.
Nisus Writer Pro is suitable for all types of writing but is particularly good for essays and technical writing as it supports cross referencing, line numbering, table of contents etc.
It’s not exactly cheap at $65.00 but it’s a very straightforward, slick and functional word processor that offers much of what Microsoft Word does.
If you want a very simple and free online alternative to Word without having to install or download anything, then Google Docs is your solution.
Google Docs is now quite a powerful suite and the word processor does much of what Word can do.
It’s obviously more limited than MS Word in some areas but if you want a hassle free solution for simple opening and editing of DOCX documents and editing them on any device, Google Docs is perfect.
Google Docs isn’t very good when it comes to adding images and annotations and if your documents are confidential, it’s maybe not the best solution as they are stored on Google’s servers.
Bean is probably the most popular free alternative to Word on Mac.
Bean is an excellent free word processor that can open Word documents, save documents in Word format and generally do most of the things you can do in Word.
Of course, it’s nowhere near as slick or powerful but it’s a very accomplished word processor for free.
Bean works with macOS 11 Big Sur and there are older versions available for download for older versions of macOS.
Growly Write is a relatively new free alternative to Word. It’s made by the same developers that created one of the best OneNote for Mac alternatives available, Growly Notes.
Growly Write takes up far less space than Word yet offers many of the same features without being bloated. Growly Write allows you to add pictures, columns, tables and has a clear and easy to use interface.
The format panel on the right puts all of Growly Write’s features and tools at your fingertips and it can also export to PDF.
OmmWriter works on Mac, PC and iPad and is aimed at those that need a simple and soothing Word alternative with no flashy features or distractions.
OmmWriter uses relaxing backgrounds and a simple interface to help you focus on writing. It also has calming audiotracks and keystroke sounds which depending on the person, will either soothe or annoy the hell out of you.
The free version of OmmWriter has 3 backgrounds 3 audio tracks and 3 keystroke sounds. The paid version has more of each and costs a minimum modest donation of $5.11.
If you’re looking for an extremely basic word processor for Mac that focuses just on the writing, OmmWriter is for you.
OpenOffice for Mac is a completely free alternative to Microsoft Office for Mac and the equivalent of Word in OpenOffice for Mac is Writer.
OpenOffice was originally created by Oracle but is now developed by Apache and one of the most widely used MS Office alternatives on Mac.
Writer is probably the closest thing you’ll get to Word for free and opens pretty much any format, including DOCX. OpenOffice is fast, stable and functional and if you need a complete free replacement for MS Office for Mac, it’s a perfect solution.
On the downside, OpenOffice is based on Java which is notoriously problematic and insecure on Mac. If you choose OpenOffice, just make sure you save your work regularly but our advice is avoid anything that requires Java.
NeoOffice (below) offers most of the features of OpenOffice but without the need for Java.
NeoOffice is an adaption of OpenOffice specifically for Mac without using Java and with a much slicker Mac like interface.
As with OpenOffice, the Word for Mac equivalent in NeoOffice is Writer. NeoOffice also has some added functionality compared to OpenOffice such as support for full screen mode, it’s slightly quicker than OpenOffice and it has all-round better integration with OS X.
NeoOffice used to be free but now requires a mandatory $10 donation to activate it which is still a very modest amount when you consider you’re getting an entire Office suite.