Are there alternatives to Microsoft Publisher for Mac?

8 min read

As one of the most widely used layout programs in the world, Microsoft Publisher is beginner-friendly and lets virtually anyone design a variety of marketing materials, whether for web or print, with ease. Its tight integration with Office 365 contributes to it being the default choice for many when it comes to design software as well.

However, if you’ve recently switched from Windows to macOS and installed your favorite Microsoft software, you might have noticed that Microsoft Publisher is absent from the app lineup. How could it be? Is there Microsoft Publisher for Mac? What do you use instead? Let’s tackle all these questions one by one.

Is Microsoft Publisher available for Mac?

As the official Microsoft website indicates, Microsoft Publisher is available for PC only. But that shouldn’t discourage you in the slightest. After all, the key value proposition of Mac computers for the longest time has been an abundance of platform-specific designer-oriented software.

Not only there are lots of Microsoft Office Publisher for Mac alternatives — such as Swift Publisher — they are generally more intuitive and focused on getting the professional results you’re after much quicker. 

What’s more, although there’s no Mac version of Publisher, there’s a workaround that will help run Publisher on Mac. Let’s figure out the best option for you.

Create astonishing layouts with Swift Publisher

What exactly is a Microsoft Publisher equivalent for Mac? There are certain tools that professional full-time designers use to create books, brochures, and printed advertising. Generally, those apps take hundreds of hours to get a grasp of and, even after you know them quite well, demand highly manual approach.

The other category is software that was designed to be accessible to all but which is still capable of producing results comparable to its highly specialized alternatives. Microsoft Publisher is certainly in that camp, and by comparison Swift Publisher is too.

Swift Publisher provides you with more than 200 templates and 2,000 royalty-free images right from the get-go. That means whatever you’re planning to design has already been mocked up and all the media you need can be found with a quick search, no purchase required. To accompany all these images, the app also features a built-in image editor you can use for any necessary cropping or color correction.

Swift publisher Mac

Building out your perfect layout in Swift Publisher couldn’t be easier, as the whole interface operates on a drag-and-drop functionality to enable you to fill out the template you’ve chosen at the beginning. You can also change the template yourself with regards to master pages, grid, layers, tables, and more.

Unlike Microsoft Publisher for Mac, Swift Publisher makes full use of programmatic automation. For example, calendars and maps can be added in a snap to show timelines and directions. Contacts can be merged from Apple’s address book to output names. New QR codes can be created to guide users to where you want them to go.

Printing your project has never been so seamless. First you can simply check out the layout integrity by printing samples at home. When you get the result you seek, the app allows you to further fine-tune the image resolution, mark bleeds, and customize anything else required by your commercial printer.

As you can see, the inability to download Microsoft Publisher for Mac shouldn’t affect your need for creative expression. Swift Publisher offers all the same features and more in a convenient and approachable package. But what if someone sends you a .pub file Macs can’t read? There are workarounds for that too.

How to open a .pub file on Mac

It’s true that none of Mac’s default apps would be able to peek inside the .pub file, simply due to how closed the Microsoft ecosystem is. Luckily, it’s less of a problem than it seems. A quick search online would reveal dozens of free web-based utilities that instantly convert Publisher files into PDFs, .docx, .png, etc.

Alternatively, you can notify your team of your recent switch to Mac and ask them to export .pub files to another format before those get sent to you. To do that your colleagues need to go to File then Export then Change File Type.

Most likely, all the files you’ll receive from now on would be PDFs, which are great, as they preserve the original formatting and can be read by any program that deals with images. With time though you’ll accumulate hundreds of PDF files, so your new challenge will be finding the right one quickly. That’s where PDF Search comes to the rescue.

PDF Search is a powerful utility that first and foremost scans any folder on your Mac for PDFs and then uses its AI capabilities to work with them. This app doesn’t just search for a word or phrase, it also analyzes a variety of semantically related keyword combinations and ranks them for you based on relevancy. To put it simply, there has never been an easier way to scan your PDFs.

PDF search Mac files

Publish flawless blog posts on the web

A frequently overlooked use case for Microsoft Publisher is laying out the content for the web, whether it’s a website or complex blog post. And while Swift Publisher is an outstanding tool for creating website mockups, it would seem like an overkill to use it for putting together a blog post. Working with a single-focused app like MarsEdit would make so much more sense.

MarsEdit is a lightweight but powerful all-in-one blogging tool. It lets you write, design, optimize, and publish outstanding blog posts using a single workflow, and thus saving time and reducing errors in the process.

When you launch MarsEdit for the first time, it asks you to connect the app to your existing blog, whether it’s on WordPress, Blogger, or Medium, so that it can import all your settings and configure the publishing process. That way, MarsEdit will also become the de facto content management system for your website — good news, as keeping a copy of all your posts offline certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Writing in MarsEdit is straightforward and distraction-free. You can also copy-paste the text from another app and even retain the Markdown syntax. Adding media is the best part, as MarsEdit supports a variety of image engines and even features a native image editor to make all the necessary adjustments. What’s more, the app can scan Apple Photos, Lightroom, and Aperture for images. 

MarsEdit web publishing

You also get to preview your resulting blog posts in real time to avoid after-the-fact tweaking. And if you have more than one blog, you can simply switch accounts right within the app. To sum up, MarsEdit is exactly the software web publisher have been waiting for.

How to run Microsoft Publisher on Mac 

If the publisher equivalent for Mac doesn’t work for you and you are ready to go to great lengths to make the original Publisher work, you can install Windows on your Mac. Before you start, note that you should have at least 30 GB of free space on your drive to install Windows — CleanMyMac X will help you free up space if you’re running short of it. 

Here’s how to get Publisher on Mac by installing Windows: 

  1. Download Parallels for Mac, an app that lets you run Windows, Linux, and other third-party OS on Mac
  2. Double-click the installer and follow the instructions to set up Parallels
  3. Choose the option to install Windows on your Mac
  4. Choose the location on your drive where you want to install Windows and give it a name
  5. Follow the prompts to set up WIndows
  6. Once you’re done with the installation, open Internet Explorer and log in to your Office 365 to access Publisher. 

If you don’t have the Office 365 subscription, you’ll have to sign up first — the monthly fee starts at $7.99 and there’s a free trial available. 

Despite the fact that there is no official Microsoft Office Publisher for Mac, you’re not left without tools that are crucial for your success. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Lots of apps could be called a Microsoft Publisher equivalent for Mac. Your task now is to pick the right one. Swift Publisher does the trick for nearly every use case, and MarsEdit effortlessly takes care of your web presence. Finally, in case someone sends you .pub file Macs can’t read, search online to resolve the issue and try any top-ranking utility.

Best of all, both Swift Publisher and MarsEdit are available for a free trial through Setapp, a platform of more than 150 highly acclaimed apps and utilities for any situation. Become a Setapp Member today and download Microsoft Publisher for Mac alternatives you want to try.

FAQ about Microsoft Publisher for Mac

A few final answers regarding the non-existent Apple version of Publisher and how you can replace it on Mac. 

Should I buy Microsoft Office for Mac?

Just like Office 365, Microsoft Office for Mac gives you access to a bundle of popular Office apps. However, the apps in Office 365 and MS Office for Mac are not the same — for example, Publisher is not included in the Mac version of MS Office. Also, while Office 365 is a subscription service, MS Office is sold as a one-time purchase, which means you don’t get free updates. 

There’s now a fully compatible version of MS Office for M1 Mac, so if you’d like to have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive, you can purchase it anytime — the price is around $120. But note that Publisher is not included. 

Are there any alternatives to MS Publisher on Mac?

Yes, there is an abundance of great tools that can replace Microsoft Publisher on Mac. One such option is Swift Publisher, a powerful desktop publisher for Mac that comes with 200 templates and over 2,000 images pre-installed. 

Is Microsoft Publisher free?

No, Microsoft Publisher can only be used on PC and has to be paid for as a part of the Office 365 subscription. The price starts at $7.99 per month. 

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