for Mac

WHETHER YOU LIKE it or not, Microsoft Office is the standard package for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations on personal computers today, be it Mac or PC.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 14 Aug 2010, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:45 AM

Office is a cash cow for Microsoft and a must-have software suite for most computer users, or is it? There are some very good alternatives, some of which I want to point out to you in this article.

A common misconception about the Mac is that there is no Microsoft Office for the platform and that someone needing Office compatibility cannot use a Mac. I’ve worked in large organisations as the only Apple user surrounded by Windows and managed very well with a Mac. It may surprise you that Microsoft Word actually existed for Mac before it came out for Windows. Clearly, Microsoft Office for Mac is very popular and a new version will arrive in October.

The obvious Office alternative for Mac OS X is Apple’s iWork ‘09 suite. Consisting of Pages (word-processing), Numbers (spreadsheet) and Keynote (presentations), the suite is only 389 Dirhams to buy and a demo version comes with every new Mac sold. That’s very good value and once you’ve used Keynote you realize that application on it’s own gives you great value. Keynote makes presentations look great and Pages and Numbers are very capable applications in their own right. Together they make iWork a package all Mac owners should have installed.

Although it seems that the upcoming Office 11 for Mac will support Arabic the current version does not and neither does iWork. If Arabic support is critical you can try the free OpenOffice suite. Download it from for Mac, Windows or Linux. That it’s cross platform is one attractive aspect and it’s also full of functionality and can easily replace commercial options like Office and iWork. If you only need a word processor with Arabic support check out Nisus and Mellel.

I also have to mention online Office alternatives because they are fast becoming competitive options especially if you want a to share documents you’re working on with other users. Google Docs continues to develop and it may not have all the functionality of Office but there’s enough for most users. You will even feel comfortable with the user interface, as it’s similar to what you’re used to.

The best thing is that you can work on documents with other users and it saves all changes made so you can go back to earlier revisions. Similar in basic functionality are many of the online apps from Zoho but they also have many types of applications that Google doesn’t currently offer.

There you have it, a number of Office alternatives for your Mac. To be honest, if you need 100 per cent compatibility with Office you should stick to Microsoft’s package but if that is not an absolute requirement there are many other good alternatives.

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