Can you get Microsoft Publisher for an Apple computer?

A lot of people ask me whether it is possible to get Microsoft publisher for the Macintosh computer, or whether there is an equivalent piece of software. Unfortunately the answer is no, there has never been a Macintosh version of publisher, and this article tries to explain why, and what the options are.

The gap that Microsoft Publisher fills.


Microsoft Publisher is a very popular piece of software for Windows computers. It fills of a gap on Windows computers because Microsoft Office does not have the capability to do page layout like Apple Pages does.  As you think about more alternatives to Microsoft publisher for a window computer, Adobe PageMaker and InDesign are too expensive and complex for most everyday users.  So when people want to do a simple newsletter, but one that’s too complicated for Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher fills the gap nicely.  Microsoft Word documents tend to look pretty bland whereas publisher allows you to spruce them up a bit.

Microsoft publisher fills a gap on Windows computers that does not exist in OSX

Now let’s think about the Macintosh computer, there is no such gap. Apple Pages can do pretty much everything Publisher can do! So a Macintosh user has no need for Microsoft Publisher.  Apple Pages can produce some quite spectacular documents very simply, and unless you are a professional publisher there’s really not the need to step up to PageMaker or InDesign.  This does not really leave a market for Microsoft Publisher on the Macintosh computer, except for Macintosh users to be able to read a publisher document that was created on a PC!  So while this would be a nice convenience for Macintosh users, I don’t imagine it is a large market for Microsoft Publisher.

Microsoft Word is a different story though. Microsoft Word was first released for Apple Computer back in 1984. Microsoft Word is a professional word-processing application that in many ways is superior to Apple pages, and was superior to Apple works and Claris Works. If you are writing large or complex documents there is and always has been a huge market for Microsoft Word on the Apple Computer.

If you are waiting for a version of Microsoft Publisher to appear for Macintosh computer, I would not be holding your breath.


How to open a publisher document on a Macintosh computer.


If you want to access a Microsoft publisher document there are a couple of options.

The first one is to use Libre Office.  Libre Office it is a free piece of software available for OS X. It can open a Microsoft Publisher file.  They haven’t quite nailed it because there are quite often formatting issues ( it’s a bit like trying to open a complex Word document in Pages) but most of the time you can see what’s in the document and grab the parts that you need.

The other option is to use one of these solutions I have described in this article. This will give you a PDF version of the Microsoft Publisher document that retains all its original formatting.  You can’t really do anything with the PDF version unless you own Adobe Pagemaker, but you will be able to accurately view and print the Microsoft publisher document.



5 responses to “Can you get Microsoft Publisher for an Apple computer?”

  1. Finally used boot camp to set up windows partition on MacBook to pretty much purely run Publisher.
    Couldn’t believe I didn’t do it years ago.
    Can move between one or the other in under a minute or so.
    It’s more a utility of neither Publisher or Pages being able to be used on the other operating system that has been the issue for us. Our office runs windows, I use Mac.

    1. Thanks Gary – that’s a good solution if you are caught needing to use both.

  2. Ken

    I’m sorry but I use Pages almost daily, and there is no comparison to what Publisher can do. I run bootcamp like Gary because I can never get documents that consistently look as good as they do on Publisher.

  3. Keith

    I have similar issues trying to open .pub files on LibreOffice. Supposedly you can simply open those files in that particular office suite, but it won’t populate the graphics. That just makes the whole process senseless without them. Anyone have an idea?

  4. Fred Nelson

    I have been a Windows user for many years. I manage a support department that support Mac and PC and I am trying to become proficient on both systems. I publish a monthly newsletter in MS Publisher and other team members edit via MS Publisher. This is one negative for me limiting myself to only the Mac. I’ll have to checkout the boot camp option.

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