Since the 1980s, Microsoft Word has been dominating all the writing software worldwide. If you get a résumé, document, report, or memo today, chances are it would be in either .doc or .docx format. It’s the de facto internationally accepted way of corporate communication.
Not surprisingly, Microsoft Word is not free. As part of the Office 365 suite, Microsoft Word would cost households $6.99 a month ($9.99 for a whole family) or $12.50 a month per business user. You can also just buy a standalone version of Microsoft Word outright for $139.99. But if you just need to edit an occasional document or use the basic formatting features, you’d rather not spend anything.
Is there a free version of Microsoft Word for Mac? Is there a free version of Office for Mac? Let’s answer these and more questions relating to how you can get Microsoft Word for Mac free and also suggest some better alternatives altogether.
Can I Download Microsoft Word For Free On Mac?
When someone sends you a .docx file and you don’t have Microsoft Word for Mac installed, what do you do? You can, of course, open the file with Quick Look or Preview, but the styling might be off and you wouldn’t be able to edit it.
If you decide to look up something like “Microsoft Word free download” online, you’ll stumble upon dozens of YouTube tutorials and written guides on how you can get free Microsoft Word by downloading a trial version and using a code-cracking app on it to get the license key for it. Not only this is illegal, you also risk downloading all kinds of malware to your Mac.
Luckily, there are a few other ways you can get Microsoft Word free.
Use MS Word online
Is Microsoft Word for Mac free? No. Is Microsoft Word online free? Yes! It’s not well-known, but you can use Word on the web at no cost. All you need is a free Microsoft account. The catch is that the MS Word online version is not as advanced as its desktop counterpart, but it’s still good enough for all the basic work with documents and for writing something on your own.
Here’s how to get Microsoft Word online for free:
Visit the MS Word online page
Click “Sign up for free”
Create your account
Choose to start a new document or drag and drop an existing one right onto the web app
Get a free Microsoft Office 365 trial
In case you have a complex project coming up that requires more of the features not available in MS Word online, you can access everything that the regular Microsoft Word has to offer by subscribing for a free Microsoft Word trial via Microsoft Office 365. You get one month to finish your project and you can use all the apps in MS Office 365, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, etc.
Here’s how to sign up for the Microsoft Word free trial:
Visit the Microsoft 365 page
Click “Try 1 month free”
Sign in with your free Microsoft account or register a new one
Get your Microsoft Word free download
Try free alternatives to Microsoft Word
If you need to use Microsoft Word for an extended period of time, and a one-month trial won’t cut it, you can try to actually substitute for another similar free app that’s fully compatible with Microsoft Word.
Google Docs, as part of G Suite, has improved greatly over the years and now supports custom styles, tables, in-line images, and more. Although it’s an online app, it feels native and can both edit and export .docx while keeping all the formatting intact.
LibreOffice (also known as OpenOffice) is another suite of text-editing apps available for free to anyone. Its Microsoft Word alternative is called LibreOffice Writer, which has many desktop publishing compatibilities of its paid competitor and is also completely compatible with it.
Use Microsoft Word with iPad
A surprisingly lesser known trick to get a full working version of Microsoft Word free is to load it on your iPad. Yes, the iPad version of Microsoft Word doesn’t cost anything and, with the release of iPads that feature Bluetooth keyboard support, it’s just as capable as its macOS counterpart.
Embrace third-party Mac apps
While Microsoft Word dominance is still apparent, it’s hardly the best app for all the word-processing jobs we need to do today. With the release of Mac App Store, we’ve seen a great proliferation of niche text editors, journals, desktop publishers, and more — every one of which is best at solving a specific problem.
Let’s look at a few of the best apps for working with words out there today.
Collabio Spaces is a text editor with unique ad-hoc collaboration features. This app goes beyond creating and formatting text (although you can do it too, obviously). Collabio turns your device into a server and transmits your document to other people. All you have to do is share a password with them and start co-editing in real time, without uploading your document to a cloud.
Ulysses is one of the most popular writing apps of recent years. From small notes to manuscripts, its distraction-free environment just lets you get things done. The app has a built-in support for Markdown as well as grammar and style checkers. When you’re done, simply export your results as a PDF or publish to WordPress or Medium directly.
Focused is another app for writing purists that does everything to get you concentrated on the words that flow from your keyboard. The app supports beautiful typography, various themes suitable for different times of day as well as ambient soundtracks to make it so you fully immerse in your environment.
MarsEdit allows you to transport your complete blogging setup offline. You can edit HTML, rich text, or plain text to write and design blog posts with images, infographics, and videos with zero internet connection. Then upload your new blog post on schedule to the blog when you’re back online. As MarsEdit saves everything as you go on your Mac, you’ll never lose any data because of WiFi troubles.
Manuscripts empowers you to take on even the most complex writing projects possible: research papers, textbooks, novels, screenplays, etc. The app supports a variety of formats, multi-level outlines, templates, tables, graphs, LaTex, document versioning, and citation editing. Instead of trying to adjust Microsoft Word to your needs, let Manuscripts adjust to you.
Diarly enables you to think freely. The app encourages your daily journaling practice and makes the writing habit easy and beautiful. You can organize your notes, add lists, calendar events, sync across devices, and more. Diarly also takes your security seriously, encrypting all the entries on the fly.
So is Microsoft Word for Mac free? Not exactly. But you can get a lot of the same features from MS Word online, sign up for the Microsoft Word free trial, take a look at Google Docs or LibreOffice Writer, and use Microsoft Word free on iPad. Even better, give a wealth of more specialized apps a try. Sketch notes in Ulysses, concentrate on your writing in Focused, finish your blog post in MarsEdit, create your life’s work in Manuscripts, and keep a journal with Diarly.
Best of all, Collabio Spaces, Ulysses, Focused, MarsEdit, Manuscripts, and Diarly are available to you absolutely free with a seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform with 200+ outstanding apps for your Mac. Try every single one today and discover the latest and greatest feats of Mac engineering at no cost.