OS X doesn't come installed with software to open Microsoft Word documents, and unlike Windows, Microsoft doesn't provide a Word Viewer for Mac.

Fortunately, there are other ways of opening Word documents on Mac without having to purchase Microsoft Office for Mac. Here are a few of them:

Open Office


OpenOffice is a multi-platform and multilingual office suite that is compatible with all other major office suites (meaning it will open and edit Word, Powerpoint documents etc). Best of all, its absolutely free to use.


Like OpenOffice, LibreOffice boasts a comprehensive set of office management tools arguably on par with Microsoft Office itself. Mostly importantly, however, it opens Word documents. LibreOffice offers six different office management tools to meet your project management needs: Text Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Drawing, Database, and Formula.


Pages is Apple's answer to Microsoft Word, although it can take some getting used to if you've used Word all your life. Unfortunately, it's not free– it comes as part of iWork, which includes, among other things, the excellent Keynote presentation software. That being said, it's relatively inexpensive compared to Microsoft Office.

Looking for more options? Google now offers a full suite of apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings, which could be the next great replacement for Microsoft Word, compatible with all OSes and based in the cloud.


  • Tony |

    Actually, TextEdit, the bare-bones word processing application that comes with OS X, opens .doc and .docx files just fine—macros won't work, obviously, but they wouldn't in OpenOffice either.

  • Adriana Carr |
    Adriana Carr

    How do I insert a Drawing.odg file into a Word file? I keep getting the message that the file contents are corrupted.

  • John Bueche |
    John Bueche

    My file on the icon list that was my documents went away. How do I get it back on my Mac?

  • Rand |

    Another option is to use SkyDrive. That's the Microsoft version of Google's Docs.

  • Letisha (drletirana7@hotmail.com) |
    Letisha (drletirana7@hotmail.com)

    When I got my iMac back from the apple store my microsoft word was gone. Would you tell me how to get it back? The icon was removed from the dock.

  • lea.jaber.984 |

    can i download microsoft without taking it to a hop and downloading it

  • |

    I have Word loaded on to a mac computer because I'm used to Word and dont like Pages. When I click on the 'W' to open the Word program, about ten documents flash up on the screen, one after another, before it 'settles down' and lets me open the document I want to work on. Its driving me nuts - what can I do to stop this happening?

  • stevegray |

    I use many, many features of Word in writing a 1200-page book. I strongly suspect that no other app would be 100% compatible. Pages and Open Office aren't even close. I haven't tried Libre Office.

  • maziz1234 |


    I had the same problem and here is how you fix it. This has nothing to do with any of the MAC OS.

    Open word document and go to word then preferences then general and from the list uncheck the below and save the file.

    Uncheck : Track recently opened docuements Display : keep this as blank and press ok and you are done.

    Thanks All.... Aziz Mohammad

  • louisewalters198252924 |

    Does anyone know if either Open Office or Libre has something that works with Microsoft Publisher?

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