The Windows version of Microsoft Office is a sort of standard for office suites, at least as regards the set of available features. Although Office is also available on Mac platforms, such versions usually lack certain features.
Microsoft has announced another update of the Office 2016 for Mac, which introduces a series of long-expected features for the macOS version including collaborative real-time editing, automatic saving of documents in the cloud, and the so much needed Google Calendar and Contacts support in Outlook. Nevertheless, there still remain some features that the user might miss in the Mac version.
Suppose you alternatively work on Windows and Mac (for example, Mac at home and Windows in the office), or you’ve decided to shift from Windows to Mac. In this case, it would be useful for you to make a comparison between the two versions. Since, with each update, Microsoft Office apps become increasingly available to the users of all Mac devices, ranging from iOS 11 iPhone to desktops and notebooks, our review will be hopefully both a nice iMac and MacBook help and a useful guide for iPhone owners and the rest of Mac users.
What stuff is missing in the Mac Suite?
Microsoft offers Office for Windows in various editions. Almost all include such basic apps as Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint. Depending on the edition, you may additionally obtain Outlook, Publisher, and Access.
However, in the corresponding Mac versions, you will probably miss some Office applications like Publisher or Access:
- Publisher: A desktop publishing app, mainly oriented on home users. No Mac version. Transferring Publisher files to comparable macOS apps is problematic.
- Access: A database management software. One can’t get Access on Mac, so working with Access databases may be difficult.
There are also a series of so-called Office-adjacent apps, which are missing in the macOS version as well. Two of them:
- Visio: A software app for vector graphics to assist in visualizing information in the form of various kinds of diagrams, graphs, and charts. No Mac version, hence Window access is needed.
- Project: An application developed for the project management. Together with Microsoft Project Server forms the foundation of enterprise project management (EPM) product. There is no Mac version so far.
The above software are not among the most needed tools for the vast majority of users, but if you actually need any of them, you need the Windows version.
Main features missing in the core applications (Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Outlook)
Naturally, such broadly used Office components as the above-mentioned apps are in principle available in Mac version. They only lack a few minor features compared to their Windows analogs.
A few major Office tools lack some elements in Mac version relatively to Windows.
- Visual Basic: Visual Basic is a tool designed to record and use macros in Office documents. Though macros are supported in the macOS Office, it is not as full as on the Windows version.
- SharePoint: SharePoint is an intranet software intended to share files, spread news, and organize project-based collaboration. While working on Mac and connecting to your company’s SharePoint servers, you may encounter incomplete support for some SharePoint functions.
Most other missing elements, such as roaming are mainly part of a company network. But, in such networks, similar issues are usually solved from the very beginning.
In the most famous editor, the missing items include the following:
- Open and Repair: Though the Mac version of Word is capable of automatic recovery of corrupted files, it lacks the specific command (Open and Repair). Due to that, Word may fail to recognize a file as a Word document, which may complicate the recovery.
- Embedding Fonts: In Mac version, there is no Embed Font feature. The convenient ability allows the present user to embed desired fonts in a document so that they will display correctly once the file is opened on another machine even if such fonts are not installed on that machine.
- Digital Ink: Offers advanced tools for freestyle drawing, writing and highlighting parts of a document.
- Document Inspector: A scanner that automatically deletes hidden data from the document to enhance safety. Not included in Mac version.
Here the discrepancy is negligible. The most important features are supported in both Office versions. However, there are a couple of trifles:
- PivotCharts: The Mac version of Excel provides a full support of PivotTables, but not for PivotCharts (based on PivotTables). Now, this small gap has been partly bridged with the January 2018 update of Office 2016. But not completely: part of charting capacities is still missing.
- Built-In Database Connectivity: Another relatively unimportant deficiency. Connectivity options are not supported.
Since the two above-mentioned capabilities belong to the so-called “power user” features, it is hardly probable that you will miss them.
There is still one thing worth noting. It is the video and animation triggers. They allow the user activate animation in an object in a more convenient way. However, the same animation is available in the Mac version, though without the advanced triggers.
Most missing capabilities only show up when the device is connected to an Exchange server (public calendars, distribution lists, voting buttons and some others).
- Save As for Emails: In the Windows version, the user has access to a Save As command for emails, which enables their saving as messages, PDFs, and any other format outside the Outlook.
- Using Word as Email Editor: The Mac version can’t employ Word to edit emails, for instance, to perform their formatting and autocorrecting, while the Windows version lets you do so.
- Side-by-Side View of Calendars: In Mac version, two calendars cannot be viewed side by side, which is possible in Windows.
Thus, for those users who are not employed in an Exchange-based company, the only deficiencies they will feel are definitely unimportant. On the other hand, with each update, the Mac version of Outlook has been getting closer to its Windows counterpart. Thus, the recent update to Office 2016 adds support for Google Calendar and Contacts – an important feature that was previously missing.
Basic functions work in both versions. The differences are:
- Extensibility: The Windows version produces an API that allows add-ins and a few more functions.
- Linking and Embedding:The Mac version lacks the abilities of embedding and linking. For instance, with the Windows version, it is possible to embed an Excel file so OneNote will open it as an editable Excel file, while the Mac version will solely get a read-only copy.
- Versions Maintained: The Windows version retains previous versions of the altered tabs.
- More Searchability: The Windows version is capable of searching handwritten texts and audio/video recordings.
The above list of the Office features missing in its Mac version definitely includes minor and highly specialized functions with a quite limited use. Over 90% of the users probably never need them and even have never heard of them. Therefore, if you belong to that vast majority, you are absolutely comfortable with the Mac version. Because it is a truly complicated endeavor to have the Windows version running on your Mac!