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7 Best Free Microsoft Word Alternatives for Mac

by Sudip
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The Microsoft Office 365’s price keeps away many potential customers when they move from Windows to Mac. Whether your friend wants to check out a document (.docx) or you want to edit a Microsoft Word file on your Mac, you must have compatible software. Here are some of the best free Microsoft Word alternatives for Mac that you can use today.

Free Microsoft Word Alternatives – Mac

Choose an online or offline app according to your preference. Some of these apps have a free trial to check if it suits your needs or not.

1. Apple Pages

Apple Pages is one of the best free Microsoft Word alternatives for Mac and comes as pre-installed software. This native utility offers numerous features similar to Microsoft Word. You can find a collaboration tool to edit a group project with friends, templates, cloud storage, etc. In Microsoft Word, users have the OneDrive facility, whereas Apple Pages is integrated with iCloud Drive.

apple pages for mac

Apple Pages has some of the essential features, but somehow it looks like something is missing. From the table, chart to image and video, you can insert anything into your document. Even if your friends are using Microsoft Word, you can export a Pages file to .docx. Although you can open a Microsoft Word file in Apple Pages, tables and charts may not appear as they are. That’s a significant drawback you encounter when you opt for this free Microsoft Word alternative.


  • Better compatibility
  • Uncluttered UI
  • Password setup
  • Multiple format support
  • iCloud Drive compatibility
  • Play YouTube video inside the document


  • Lack of DOCX table and chart support

Get Apple Pages (free)

2. Drafts

Drafts is more like a TextEdit alternative than a Microsoft Word alternative. Although it is available for free and you can use it from the official app store, you cannot open the .docx file with this application. However, creating and editing a native file is more comfortable since a file management panel is included in the interface. In other words, it saves files right on the UI so that users can open them by clicking once.

drafts writing window for mac

You can add a tag to categorize all the files or notes and filter them to find anything specific. The highlight of this app is that you can save the file in almost any format or service compatible with various apps such as Google Docs, Evernote, OneDrive, etc. Entire list expands when you click on Actions. All these features and options are available in both free and paid versions. The paid version of Drafts offers even more handy features such as dark themes, workspaces, etc.


  • Easy to learn features
  • Tags for note managements
  • Save in multiple formats


  • Unable to open .docx file
  • No dark theme in free version
  • Lack of free features

Get Drafts (free, in-app purchase)

3. Ulysses

The primary and most crucial feature of Ulysses is the multi-tab. At times, you may have to open multiple notes or documents. Instead of editing them one at a time, you can use open multiple tabs or windows to continue working simultaneously. The user interface is similar to the Drafts, but it is more fluent.

ulysses writing panel for mac

Like most of the present days’ apps, Ulysses lets you set the dark theme. The next notable feature is the Editor mode. In simple words, you can hide all the other columns and show only the writing pane to focus on writing. Although it seems handy, you have to learn a few markups to style the document. For instance, #heading 1 will make the word as Heading 1.


  • Multi-tab and multi-windows
  • Fluent UI
  • Focus mode


  • Custom markup

Get Ulysses (free trial, in-app purchase)

4. Scrivener

Scrivener is probably the best free Microsoft Word alternative for macOS – thanks to the UI and features. Most of the Microsoft Word features are available on Scrivener, including saving files in different formats, creating/using a template, setting up the page, etc. Apart from these, it is possible to insert an image, link, comment, footnote, and a mathematical equation, etc.

scrivener for mac writing app

Unlike some other apps, you can choose your favorite font type and size, paragraph/line spacing, etc. Although it shows two additional columns on both sides, you won’t have a problem because of the tree-view setup. One important option is the Layout that lets you change the overall layout of Scrivener.


  • Feature-rich
  • Save the file in multiple formats
  • Footnote, mathematical equation support
  • Tree-view setup


  • Lack of Word’s chart compatibility

Get Scrivener (free trial)

5. Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper is comparatively a new online tool that opens and helps you create a Microsoft Word document. It is probably the simplest solution you can have to work peacefully without looking at tons of options here and there. The user interface is uncluttered that makes it easier for everyday writers to concentrate on the writing part first.

dropbox paper online microsoft word alternative for mac

Paper is fine as long as you want to create a simple document containing tables, bullet points, numeric lists, images, comments, etc. However, it lacks several features, such as it doesn’t let you insert a pie chart, heading, etc. It has template support, but the list ends very quickly.


  • Uncluttered UI
  • Writing focused features
  • Online collaboration
  • Cloud storage support


  • Lack of options

6. Word Online

Which is the best free Microsoft Word alternate solution to open a .docx file when you don’t have Office 365? Word Online, for sure. As the same says, it is a Microsoft-owned online version of Word’s desktop software. After evolving for the past couple of years, it has reached a place where you can rely on it up to some point.

word online writing panel

If you are moving from the Microsoft Word desktop version, you won’t have to go through the features since most of the options are placed in the same location on the web version. Being an online editing tool, it saves all the files to OneDrive so that users can access and share them easily. Collaborating with other users on Microsoft Word Online is straightforward, and it is quite similar to Google Docs.


  • Word desktop-like UI
  • Cross-platform support
  • Multiple Microsoft service integration
  • Editor mode
  • Voice typing support


  • No free desktop version

7. Google Docs

When it comes to an online Microsoft Word alternative, Google Docs performs a better role than Word Online. You may not see a massive list of features like Microsoft Word for Windows or Apple Pages, but it features almost all essential everyday use options. It saves all documents in Google Drive, allowing you to access them from any device and anywhere.

google docs online for mac

The next big thing about Google Docs is that it has add-ons compatibility. It implies you can enrich functionalities and productivity by installing the correct add-on required for your job. There is good news for font maniacs as well. As it is a Google-powered service, users can install any font from the Google Fonts repository. Online collaboration is available as long as your friend has a Gmail account. The last but not the least option is saving files in multiple formats, including .docx, .odt, .rtf, .pdf, etc.


  • More file format support
  • Better online collaboration
  • Voice typing
  • Add-on support
  • Download file in multiple formats
  • Native table and pie chart support


  • Complex image insertion

Wrapping up: Free Alternatives for Microsoft Word for macOS

Although there are more other apps, the list of free Microsoft Word alternatives ends here. You might not find all the necessary options in one app, so it is recommended to go through all these utilities.

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