Running Office for Windows on the Mac

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How to use Office for Windows on the Mac.

Sometimes Office for Mac isn’t enough, you need its big brother, Office for Windows to run on a Macintosh computer. That’s certainly possible in various ways.

It’s done using virtual machines, in effect running Windows ‘inside’ Apple’s operating system. VM’s, as they are known, have been around for years.


Parallels

Probably the gold standard for ‘Windows on Mac’ is Parallels now up to version 9. It runs inside iOS without the need to reboot. There’s two modes – in one you run a single Windows program and it appears like a Mac program on the regular Mac desktop. Or run an entire Windows desktop.

Parallels is $79.99 however, unlike earlier versions, the software is now licenced for one computer only not-transferable. If you buy a new Mac you have to buy another copy of Parallels.

There’s a 14 day trial available. Parallels also supports many flavors of Linux.


VMWare Fusion

VMWare have long experience with virtual machines. VMWare Workstation is our preferred VM software for development and testing on Windows machines. Fusion is the counterpart for Macintosh users.

Like Parallels, you can run a single Windows program on the Mac desktop or create an entire Windows machine instead,

There’s a 30 day trial available. Price starts at $59.99 for 3 Macs.


CrossOver

CrossOver lets you run some Windows programs on a Mac or Linux, sadly not the more recent versions of Office. There’s a list of compatible programs showing that the most recent somewhat compatible Office is Office 2010 for Windows SP1.


VM Hardware and Software

As with any virtual machine system, you must make sure that your hardware is sufficient. Running Windows 7 on a Mac means you need at least 4GB of RAM and plenty of disk space (virtual machines use up a lot of space). Parallels recommends at least 15GB for each virtual machine.

You’ll probably also need a Windows licence for each virtual machine and an Office for Windows licence for each installation.


Remote Desktop

Another option is to display the screen from a Windows computer on a Mac. You can do this using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop or a free product like VNC.


Boot Camp

Apple itself has Boot Camp which lets you shut down iOS and restart the Mac computer with Windows instead. It’s a clumsy and slow approach. You can’t switch quickly between Mac and Windows apps, let alone copy/paste between them.

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