Updated 12-27-16

Three of the most common business software categories are word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. On the Windows side, these tools are almost always fulfilled by Microsoft Office. On the Macintosh you have some options. Here we sort them out so you can make a well informed decision.

If cost is the determining factor, you can use either NeoOffice or OpenOffice. This are free software products that perform functions similar to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in an integrated environment. They read and write MS Office documents. They may be a bit quirky but good for basic usage.

LibreOffice is another free option for office software. It has Writer, Calc, Impress, and other components that make up its suite.

Office Suite Options on the Macintosh 2

Then we have Apple’s polished software suite iWork:

  • Pages – Word processing
  • Numbers – Spreadsheet
  • Keynote – Presentations
  • Apple Mail and Calendar (formerly iCal) – Mail and calendar

Office Suite Options on the Macintosh

The iWork suite is very capable and easy to use. It’s reasonably priced in the iTunes app store. It allows you to design awesome looking documents with minimal effort. The suite is worth owning if just for Keynote. Keynote is the premier presentation creation application. If you do any work with content creation on the iPad, you’ll also want to own the iWork suite since they work well together with the iPad versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

We also have Microsoft Office 2016:

  • Word – Word processing
  • Excel – Spreadsheet
  • PowerPoint – Presentations
  • Outlook – Mail and calendar

Office Suite Options on the Macintosh 1

If you work in a corporate setting and everyone else uses Microsoft Office, you’ll want it for the Mac as well. It is the most seamless way to work together on documents. The main difference with the Home and Business version is that it includes Outlook for Mac. In general, I recommend that you use Apple Mail, iCal, and Address Book rather than Outlook but if you need to interact with other Microsoft Exchange users at your office, you’ll want Outlook. Beware that your Exchange server must be version 2008 or greater. Check with your IT administrator to see if it will work.

Google’s Office suite the G Suite is also a great option (formerly Google Apps). It starts at $5/user/month. It is entirely browser based software that is great for collaboration:

  • Docs – Word processing
  • Sheets – Spreadsheet
  • Slides – Presentations
  • Gmail – Mail and calendar


In conclusion, if you’re trying to save money, give Neo Office or Open Office a try.

If you’re good with only using Apple software and don’t interact with Windows users often then get the Apple iWork suite.

If you’re in a corporate setting and use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint frequently then go for the Microsoft Office suite.

Try Google Apps if you don’t require the full features of Word and Excel and want to collaborate easily.

If you can’t choose just get them all or give us a call and we can help you make a decision. If you’re trying to integrate these apps with your web site or a custom application solution that may help make the correct decision as well. It’s great to have many good choices!

Tim Cimbura – CEO and Software Engineer

Tim is an expert in creating custom business solutions that make businesses more effective, productive, and profitable. He specializes in rapid application development with FileMaker (certified in all versions) for macOS, Windows, iPad/iPhone and web app integration with WordPress. He also knows Apple technology inside and out.