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Word for Windows 2013 vs Word for Mac 2011

Microsoft Word for Windows versus Word for Mac

The latest versions of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac are, respectively, Office 2013 and Office 2011. New versions of both are due to be released in late 2015 and, who knows, they may even get the same version name!

Superficially Word for Mac 2011 appears very similar to Word for Windows 2010/2013. By and large files are interchangeable between applications. However, all is not as it appears and we have found a number of issues that makes it difficult for users to swap between systems and to develop documents and templates for both the Windows and Mac platforms.

Ribbon, menu, toolbars and Backstage view

Since Office 2007 for Windows, menus and toolbars in applications have been replaced with the ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The ribbon is customisable by the user, although few do. The QAT is readily customised by the user. All commands can be accessed via the ribbon and the QAT, as the name suggests, provides quick, single-click access to the most often used commands.

word 2013 ribbon
Word 2013 QAT and ribbon

The ribbon is also customisable by developers using XML.

Office 2010 for Windows introduced Backstage view, accessible by clicking the File tab of the ribbon. Backstage view is where you save, open, close, print and generally manage what to do with files.

Word 2013 Backstage view
Word 2013 Backstage view


Office for Mac 2011 applications have a mixture of a traditional menu and toolbars and a non-customisable ribbon. It is often confusing trying to find commands and not obvious when to use the ribbon or the menu. It’s a very cumbersome combination.

Office for Mac 2011 has no equivalent to Backstage view.

Screenshot 2015-03-18 20.13.20
Word 2011 menu, toolbar and ribbon

 Content controls for Word

Word 2007 for Windows introduced content controls. There are content controls for text, images, lists and check boxes. Control controls can be linked so that changing the content of one control automatically updates the content of all linked controls. This is very useful, for example, for linking titles and text on a cover page with a header or footer in the rest of the document.

Word 2013 date picker content control
Word 2013 date picker content control


Word for Mac 2011 does not support content controls.

Quick Parts for Word

Word 2007 for Windows introduced Quick Parts. Quick Parts can be used a bit like AutoText in previous version but also offers new and extended functionality.

Word 2013 Quick Parts
Word 2013 Quick Parts


Word for Mac 2011 does not support Quick Parts, only AutoText.


Office 2007 for Windows introduced themes. A Theme can include a set of colours, fonts and effects. Themes make it much easier to create documents and templates that are consistent and “on brand”.

Whilst Office for Mac 2011 does allow you to apply themes to documents you cannot create or edit the theme colours, fonts or effects.

CMYK and HSB colours

Office for Windows only supports RGB colours.

Office for Mac supports RGB, CMYK and HSB colours. This is very useful when dealing with designers, who tend to use CMYK colours.

Word 2011 color slider CMYK
Word 2011 color slider CMYK


Print Preview

Word you believe, Word for Mac 2011 does not have a print preview function!


Word for Windows has many features that Word for Mac does not. About the only thing we like in Word for Mac that the Windows versions do not support is CMYK colours.

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