Microsoft Project for Mac: Best Alternatives

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Microsoft Project is a cloud-based project management platform that excels in helping organizations track and monitor the progress of complex projects and tasks. However, it is unfortunately not compatible with the MacOS operating system – excluding millions of Mac users from giving it a try. Read on to learn about the top Microsoft Project alternatives for Mac. 

VENDORBEST FORPRICING

kantata logo

Try Kantata
Best Overall AlternativeFree to try • Contact sales for pricing

jira software logo

Try Jira
Best for Multi-Project ReportingFree to try • $7.75/user/month

smartsheet

Try Smartsheet
Best for Excel UsersFree to try • $7 per user/month

clickup logo.

Try ClickUp
Best for IntegrationsFree to try • $5/user/month
Trello logo

Try Trello
Best for Ease of UseFree to try • $5/user/month

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Our Picks

kantata logo.

Kantata: Best Overall Alternative to Microsoft Project

The Kantata Business Cloud (formerly known as Mavenlink + Kimble), is a platform comprised of multiple business management solutions that work together to provide organizations with resource planning, project management, financial management, and workflow automation options.


Read more: Our full review of Kantata


Designed as a business cloud, rather than a strictly project management solution, Kantata offers users a wide range of more advanced project management capabilities when compared to most other software offerings. Some of Kantata’s top features include time and expense tracking, detailed user permissions, and collaborative activity feeds.

Team workload visualization within the resource center.
Team workload visualization within the resource center. Source: Kantata, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

Pros
Cons
• Robust features cover more functionality than most others
• Strong data-driven insights platform-wide, from financial insights to resource management, and more
• Teamwide skills inventory helps project managers and decision makers view individual team member skills when a task needs filling
• Slow load times (especially when multiple panes are expanded)
• Lack of transparent pricing
• Cannot bulk assign users to tasks which can be time-consuming

Why We Chose Kantata

Kantata offers users the same advanced analytics and resource management capabilities that users praise Microsoft Project for, with stronger collaborative features and more extensive resource management capabilities (such as time tracking, for example). Overall, Kantata stands out as a top choice for organizations that require robust functionality, especially with features that support data insights.

The logo of Jira.

Jira: Best for Multi-Project Reporting


Jira was originally launched by Atlassian in 2002 as a project management and bug-tracking solution for software developers. Today, while Jira still supports the same bug-tracking functionality it has become renowned for, it also supports a host of features geared toward providing teams with industry-leading data insights and reporting capabilities.


Read more: Read out full review of Jira


Many users rave about Microsoft Project’s reporting offerings, with multiple types of reports able to be generated with real-time data. In fact, Jira offers more types of reports than Microsoft Project, with 12 distinct report types available to users, from sprint reports, time tracking reports, burnup charts, and more.

Example of a sprint burndown chart.
Example of a sprint burndown chart. Source: Atlassian, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
• Excellent reporting capabilities
• Unique functionality for software development teams/teams that need a technical-focused solution
• Detailed task hierarchies and notes
• Higher than average learning curve
• Limited integration options compared to other solutions
• Notifications can be overwhelming (especially for assignments and updates)

Why We Chose Jira

Jira is a capable and highly customizable solution for teams who want ultimate control over their project management strategy with the flexibility of numerous, multi-project reporting views. Moreover, users that enjoy Microsoft Project’s detailed timeline view can benefit from Jira’s detailed timeline view customization options, from advanced roadmaps, individual task tagging, task dependencies, and even team workload overviews available directly from the interactive timeline.

smartsheet logo.

Smartsheet: Best for Excel Users

Many users appreciate its ability to link Microsoft Projects with other Microsoft applications – especially Excel. For users who are looking for a solution with the usability of Excel with the project management capabilities of Microsoft Project, Smartsheet is a feature-packed alternative.


Read more: Our full review of Smartsheet


While users often find Smartsheet’s spreadsheet-style layout more appealing than Microsoft Project’s interface, teams can also benefit from collaboration tools, resource management capabilities, workflow automations, and advanced task details.

Example of a project management template.
Example of a project management template. Source: Smartsheet, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
• Detailed task visualizations
• Customizable fields
• Ability to tag other team members in a thread
• The user interface leaves something to be desired for users who are looking for a more intuitive experience than spreadsheet-style formatting
• Limited native integrations, most require an additional investment into Zapier
• Access permissions per user are more general than most solutions, giving users less control over file-specific sharing

Why We Chose Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a great transitional project management platform for users who are accustomed to Excel-style spreadsheets and interface layouts comparable to Microsoft Office, with more options for team collaboration and the added advantage of built-in time tracking. 

clickup logo.

ClickUp: Best for Integrations

Coming in at 49 native integrations (with 1,000 more available through Zapier) ClickUp is a great all-around solution for teams who are looking for more integration options than Microsoft Project. Numerous native integration options make it easy to expand ClickUp’s functionality while connecting your existing tech stack from day one, with options such as Zendesk, Zoom, Loom, Google Drive, and more.


Read more: Our full review of ClickUp


ClickUp offers comparable reporting and dashboard view options when compared to Microsoft Project, with added collaboration features that stand out, such as instant messaging capabilities.

Example of a ClickUp calendar view synced with events from Google Calendar.
Example of a ClickUp calendar view synced with events from Google Calendar. Source: ClickUp, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
• Offers ClickUp API (Advanced Programming Interface) for further customization options
• Numerous, wide-ranging integration options are available from the first use without a third-party platform, like Zapier
• Numerous templates available out-of-the-box to help streamline setup 
• The mobile app is often unresponsive and hard to use
• Learning curve due to numerous features and frequent updates
• Numerous notifications can be distracting unless users individually adjust their settings

Why We Chose Smartsheet

Smartsheet offers users a wider range of integration options than Microsoft Project, without sacrificing some of the more appealing features that users enjoy about Microsoft Project, such as advanced reporting and task dependencies. For teams who need more flexibility in collaboration, Smartsheet also offers user tagging, instant messaging, and automated project updates.

trello logo.

Trello: Best for Ease of Use

Acquired by software giant Atlassian in 2017, Trello is a straightforward, Kanban board-based project management solution with a responsive drag-and-drop style interface and interactive task cards.


Read more: Our full review of Trello


While one of Trello’s main selling points is its low learning curve and easy-to-master UX design, it also offers users a variety of integration options and automations to streamline workflows.

Trello’s kanban board interface.
Trello’s kanban board interface. Source: Atlassian, accessed August 2023.

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
• Responsive mobile app
• Easy to use regardless of project management experience
• Automation options available in the free plan 
• Limited levels of task hierarchy compared to Microsoft Project
• View limitations (all views are only available in Premium and Enterprise plans)
• Search features often don’t recognize intended search results

Why We Chose Trello 

Trello is a great choice for users who are looking for a solution that offers a more approachable learning curve without sacrificing essential functionality. While its free plan lacks alternative views, it offers users a chance to try out Trello with unlimited automations and task cards. Additionally, Trello’s responsive mobile app can be an added bonus for teams who were limited by Microsoft Project’s desktop-only setup.

Methodology

In order to compile this selection of the top Microsoft Project alternatives for Mac, I analyzed thirteen Mac-compatible project management software offerings based on the following criteria:

  • Features and functionalities
  • Usability
  • Price
  • Customer reviews
  • Integrations
  • How it compared to Microsoft Project

Our evaluation process included a combination of primary and secondary research, by way of industry research, vendor information and reviews, and hands-on testing.

FAQs

No, unfortunately, Microsoft Project is incompatible with the Mac operating system and was strictly designed to function on the Windows operating system exclusively.

Many project management software vendors offer users a free forever plan with limited features. However, Microsoft Project does not include a free plan.

Ultimately, only you can decide what solution is the best fit for your team – but following a few key tips throughout your software selection journey can help:

Take advantage of free trials: Most project management solutions offer a free trial, which can give your team a good idea of how a particular solution will function throughout day-to-day operations without cutting into your team’s budget. 

Consider your existing tech stack: Before settling on a particular vendor, you’ll still want to consider how a new project management solution will pair with your existing tech stack. If your team is looking to make the switch to a new software solution, consider how easily your data can be migrated into a new application. 

Understand and prioritize team needs first: With hundreds of project management solutions on the market today, you’ll want to consider how each vendor’s unique features can pair with your business needs. For example, if your team manages a portfolio of projects, you’ll want to prioritize a solution with a reputation for strong multi-project views and management features. Identifying and prioritizing the unique needs of your team can help you settle on a better-fitting solution in the long run.

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