Even those who have used a Mac for as long as Apple has been standing can agree that Microsoft’s products for writing, graphing, and presentation simply take the cake. The good news is that it’s never been easier to get access to Microsoft products on an Apple computer, since both companies have realized that it’s better to share a customer base than compete for one.

Here’s how you can get Microsoft Office 365 up and running on a non-Windows computer.

Start by making sure you’ve got the right specs for the job. Although Office 365 is compatible with Apple OS and requires minimal amounts of memory and processing power, it will only run on machines capable of meeting the standards. Office 365 requires an active Internet connection in order to download updates from Microsoft, report bugs, and sometimes provide assistance for problems. An up-to-date version of the four major Internet browsers (Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Opera) gives full compatibility.

Users need to have an Intel Mac running 10.6 or later, since there is no PowerPC compatibility for the new Office. Also keep in mind that users running Windows XP on their Mac will have diminished returns for the software once Microsoft phases out XP support in 2014; users with Windows 8 on their Mac will enjoy continued support.

Either download the digital software platform from the Microsoft site or purchase the physical copy from a store. Once you have the download or the disc, the software will auto-install itself (with your permission) once you have logged in with your Microsoft account username and password. You need this account to put the software on a new computer; up to five computers can utilize the same version of Office 365.

A tab that says “available installs” will pop up. Select “Office for Mac” and then hit the green Install button.

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Wait until it downloads, (it will likely take less than two minutes) and then double click the MicrosoftOffice2011.dmg file from your Downloads folder. In Snow Leopard, the Downloads folder appears on the dashboard next to the Trash icon and can also be found in the Finder beneath Places.

Finally, you click Office Installer.pkg (which will be the only icon on the file) in order to finish installation. Microsoft includes a user survey in their products and you can choose to fill it out before you go directly into the new Office programs.

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