microsoft office for mac and Windows version of Microsoft Office has always been the gold standard for office suites in terms of features. The office is on other platforms, like the Mac—but these versions are missing some products and features.
Microsoft recently announced a big update for Office 2016 for Mac. Check out this link for a detailed list of updates. Still, the big ones include bringing some long-awaited features to the Mac version, like collaborative real-time editing, automatic saving of documents stored in the cloud, and support for Google Calendar and Outlook contacts (finally). However, there are still features (and complete apps) that you might miss if you’re working with the Mac version.
If you’re switching between Windows and Mac (perhaps using one in the office and one at home) or possibly switching from Windows to Mac, it’s worth comparing the features available in the two versions. The big question is whether you only need to install Windows on your Mac using Boot Camp or Parallels to be able to run the Windows version of office, or you can buy the Mac version (or, better, use one of the installs that come with your Office 365 subscription )?
What products are missing from Microsoft Office for Mac Suite?
Microsoft Office for Windows sells in multiple editions. Almost all versions come with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Depending on which version you buy, you may also get apps like Outlook, Publisher, and Access.
If you’re on a Mac, there are some Office apps (and those associated with Office) that you can’t get:
Publisher: Publisher is an entry-level desktop publishing app aimed primarily at home users. There is no Mac version. While you can easily find similar apps for Microsoft Office for mac, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fetch your Publisher files from the Windows version very well — at least without redesigning them.
Access: Access is a relational database management system that ships with the Professional editions of Office for Windows. You can’t get Access on a Mac, so if you (or your company) work with Access databases, you’re lucky.
And while we’re on the subject, two higher-level “Office-adjacent” apps aren’t available on Microsoft Office for mac:
Visio: Visio is a graphic and vector graphics application that allows you to visualize complex information in diagrams, graphs, flowcharts, and other models. There is no Mac version, so if you need it to work, you’ll need access to Windows.
Project: Project is a project management application that ties into the company’s Outlook and Exchange Server setup. It allows project managers to develop project schedules, create and assign tasks and resources, and manage them using real-time input from people’s calendars. There is no Mac version.
If you need any of the specific apps we’ve listed here, you’ll need to be running Windows and the Windows version of office.
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What features are missing from the Mac versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote?
What about the essential Office applications available on the Mac? While several minimal features are missing (things that affect very few people), most of the features you find in Windows are in microsoft office for mac versions. Here are the most important things you will miss.
There are two pretty significant advantages that, while not entirely lost from the Office suite for Mac, are not quite as up-to-date as their Windows counterparts:
Visual Basic: Visual Basic integration lets you record and uses macros to automate Office documents tasks. While macro support is included in Office on microsoft office for mac, this support is not quite as premium as it is in the Windows version. If you use macros extensively or complex macros, you should expect some of them not to work.
SharePoint integration: SharePoint is an intranet product used to share files, distribute news, and simplify project collaboration. If you use a Mac and connect to your company’s SharePoint servers, you may find that some aspects of SharePoint are not as well supported as they are in the Windows version of Office.
There are, of course, a few other features missing at the suite level, but it’s actually about the fixtures that are part of the company’s network. For example, roaming (the ability to use Office on different computers and keep track of your configuration) is not available on microsoft office for mac. However, if your system is part of a corporate network, you should probably think about these things beforehand.
Critical features of Word that are missing from the microsoft office for mac version include:
- Open and Repair: Although the Mac version of Word can attempt to repair a damaged document automatically, it does not have a specific Open and Repair command in the Windows version. This makes it difficult to recover files that Word may not recognize in Word documents.
- Embed fonts: When fonts are embedded in a document, they are included in the Word file. When someone else opens the file, it displays correctly even if they don’t install the fonts you used. You cannot embed fonts in the Mac version of Word.
- Digital Ink: This feature provides free drawing tools that you can use to draw, write or highlight areas in your document. Not available on the Mac version.
- Document Inspector: Document Inspector scans your Word document and removes hidden data and personal information, making it safer to share documents with others. This feature is missing from the microsoft office for mac version.
Fortunately, the discrepancy between the Windows and Mac versions of Excel is minimal. Both versions support all significant features. Here are some things to note, though:
PivotCharts: While the Mac version of Excel fully supports PivotTables, its support for PivotCharts (charts derived from PivotTables) was not always available. The January 2018 update to Office 2016 for microsoft office for mac supports the Mac version of PivotCharts more in line with Windows versions, but you may still find some charting capabilities missing.
Embedded database connection: Excel for microsoft office for mac does not support the built-in database connection options that the Windows version does.
These are some Power User features, so you probably won’t miss out on much.
The Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint are also equally standard. However, one feature worth noting is missing on the microsoft office for mac side of things: video and animation players. These triggers let you start the animation effect when you click on the animated object or automatically at the beginning of an audio or video clip.
Note that the Mac version doesn’t have all the same animations, and it lets you view the spirit with a general click or by setting a timer. It not only includes the advanced drivers that the Windows version does.
Most of the Outlook features missing from the Mac version are related to the advanced features you see when connecting to an Exchange server. This includes access to public calendars and distribution lists, keep and stick markers, receive tracking, and many social features like voting buttons.
There are also some other missing features worth noting:
Save As Emails: In the Windows version of Outlook, you can access a Save As command for emails that let you save them as messages, PDFs, or anything outside of Outlook’s message database. You can’t do that in the Mac version.
Word as an email editor: The Windows version allows you to use Word as your email editor, giving full access to Word features like formatting and AutoCorrect. Mac version no.
Side by side calendars: In Windows, you can view two calendars side by side. In microsoft office for mac , you can’t.
That’s not a lot of missing features (unless you’re part of an Exchange-based organization), but how important they depend on you. And as mentioned before, the latest update to Office 2016 for microsoft office for mac now brings support for Google Calendar and Contacts — a massive missing feature for many people.
The basic functionality of OneNote is available in the Windows and Mac versions (and in the mobile versions, for that matter), but there are still some differences:
Extensible: The Windows version provides an API that allows for add-ons and some advanced features. This Mac version does not include expandability.
Link and embed: The Windows version of OneNote is more potent for embedding and linking files. For example, you can include an Excel file in the Windows version. Clicking on that Excel file in OneNote opens a full, editable version of the file in Excel. You can only open a read-only version of the included files in the Mac version.
Version: Your version of Windows keeps previous versions of your changed tabs. Mac version no.
More search: The Windows version allows you to search for handwritten text and audio and video recordings. This feature is not available in the Mac version.
If you don’t use any of these features, you’ll be OK with the Mac version of OneNote.
As you can see from our lists, the features that are often missing on the Mac side of things are small, rarely used, or actual “power user” features often used in office settings. If you don’t need these features, and you don’t need some of the missing apps from microsoft office for mac (and we think this applies to over 90% of our readers), you’ll probably be OK with the Mac version of Office 2016 or Office 365. It beats the jump. Through Hoops for a Windows version that works on your Mac!
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