Microsoft Project for Mac: How to Run MS Project Files on Your Mac


Is There a Microsoft Project for Mac?

You’re probably here because you’re looking for Microsoft Project for Mac. Unfortunately Microsoft Project, also known as MS Project, wasn’t designed for Mac computers, so it won’t work on any Mac operating system (OS). But there is a workaround that can solve your problem.

It’s not complicated, and in fact, it’s easier to use than the MS Project interface. Best of all, it’s free (well, for 30 days, but after that you’ll be convinced of its value).

If you’re forced to use MS Project, and you don’t want to stop using your Mac, there are workarounds that make ProjectManager the perfect Microsoft project alternative for Mac. With ProjectManager, you can import Microsoft Project Plan (MPP) files and work on them in a more user-friendly platform: a cloud-based project management software that works on Windows, macOS and OS X.

How to Get Your Mac Working with MS Project Files

ProjectManager is free for 30 days, so you can test out its project management features on your Mac and determine for yourself if the software is a good fit for you. Viewing and editing MS Project files online with your Mac is simple. Just follow these steps.

Sign Up for a Free Trial

In order to use ProjectManager and edit MS Project files on your Mac, you must first sign up for a free trial. Visit the pricing page and choose your plan. All plans provide compatibility with Microsoft Project. Once you choose a plan, ProjectManager is free for 30 days, no strings attached!

an image depicting what it looks like to import an MPP file into ProjectManager so it can run on a Mac computer

Import MPP Files into ProjectManager

Once you’ve created your account and started your first project, switch to the Gantt chart view. From here, it’s easy to import your Microsoft Project files so that you can manage them on your Mac computer. Below is a step-by-step walkthrough showing you exactly how to run MS Project on Mac OS.

1. Use the Import Button on the Gantt Chart

Start your MPP file import with one click. Go to the Gantt chart view.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

2. Select Which MPP File You Want to Import

Follow the prompt on the popup window, and select the Microsoft Project file you want to import. After you’ve imported your MPP file, you can view and edit the project on your Mac.

Choose a Microsoft Project file to import into ProjectManager so you can use MS project on your Mac

3. Choose Your MPP File Import Options

Pick from the options shown on the new popup menu, such as importing the MPP file to a new or existing project.

4. Import All Data or Just the Task List

Select from the next popup menu whether to import all the data on the MPP file or just the tasks only.

Import a Microsoft Project File, choose all data or task list only

5. Close the Success Prompt

See a new window that says, “Success”? That means you’ve successfully imported the MPP file.

success prompt from importing an MPP file

6. Bask in the Final Product: You’re Running Microsoft Project Files on Mac!

See the MPP file as it now appears in our project management tool. You can view it in the Gantt chart, as seen below, where dependencies can be linked, milestones set, etc., or use one of the other multiple views.

An MPP file after it's been imported into ProjectManager, as displayed on a Mac

Open & Edit MPP Files

After you import the MPP file, it opens in the online Gantt chart feature. All of your columns, tasks, resource data, etc., will remain intact and appear on your project plan how they did in MS Project. Plus, the MPP file in ProjectManager is not view-only. You can update the tasks, deadlines and resources online, and you can invite team members to collaborate on the MPP file as well.

Use the Real-Time Dashboard

The data from your imported Microsoft Project file is instantly populated across the charts and graphs of the ProjectManager real-time dashboard, where you can see the project’s progress, team productivity, task status, budget, etc., in real time.

Real-time Dashboard MS Project for Mac

Create 1-Click Project Reports

Now that your Microsoft project plan has been imported into ProjectManager, you can take advantage of our easy-to-use, yet detailed, project reports. We provide 8 different types of project reports, including status reports, task management reports, workload reports and more. Use our powerful project management tools to really examine the progress of your project.

ProjectManager's PPM reports allow you to use Microsoft Project on Mac computers

Download & Share

Once you’re done viewing, editing and analyzing your Microsoft Project Plan, seamlessly download your data with one click. All of your updates will be reflected on the MS Project file you download. You can then share this file with your colleagues who are using MS Project, and they’ll be able to see all the changes that you made.

Related: How to Make a Gantt Chart on Mac

Why You Need a MS Project Alternative

MS Project is the standard project management tool for many project managers, but the expense of the software and its steep learning curve make it an unrealistic solution for many industry professionals. The desktop license for Project Professional 2021 is often over $1,000, and that cost only grows exponentially as you add more people.

While there is MS Project Online that gives the software more flexibility than the desktop version, it adds another steep subscription fee for access and doesn’t have the same features. In addition, to use all the features that Microsoft Project online offers you’ll need other Windows apps such as Sharepoint, Microsoft teams Power BI, among others. That hit is compounded by the fact that you’re not managing your projects fully online.

Of course, all this is moot when you’re working on a Mac, which doesn’t work with MS Project at all, because MS Project was designed for the Windows operating system and not for Mac OS. Apple products are more commonplace in some industries, such as publishing and design firms, so there’s not even an option of using a Windows PC. ProjectManager is a great Microsoft Project alternative for Mac which makes clearing the hurdles of MS Project easy, even more so for Mac users.

Read More: What Is Microsoft Planner?

Too Many Versions of Microsoft Project

Another problem you might encounter as an Apple or Mac user is finding compatibility for the numerous different versions of Microsoft Project. Fortunately, ProjectManager is compatible with every version of Microsoft Project, including:

  • Microsoft Project 2019
  • Microsoft Project 2016 (with Office 365 subscription)
  • Microsoft Project 2013
  • Microsoft Project 2010
  • Microsoft Project 2007

And, since ProjectManager is an online software, it’s always up to date. You never have to worry about buying the latest version because our software team is regularly releasing updates and improvements that work on Mac and Windows. ProjectManager is also compatible with over 1000 apps and platforms such as Microsoft Office 365, Onedrive, Google Drive, Slack and Outlook.

Why ProjectManager Is the Best Microsoft Project Alternative for Mac

If you’re not wedded to an antiquated software like Microsoft Project, there are many reasons to change to ProjectManager. First and possibly foremost, at least to your chief financial officer, is the price tag. Because ProjectManager is online and subscription-based, it’s a much less expensive solution to project management. Let’s look at the main features that make ProjectManager a great MS project alternative and one of the best project management software for Mac.

Run Microsoft Project on Mac and Make Gantt Charts with ProjectManager

Real-Time Data

ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management software that provides real-time data. You’re not looking at project progress from yesterday or even an hour ago, but as it happens. You can monitor and track any metric through the real-time dashboard and easy-to-read charts and graphs. Real-time data is critical for effective time tracking, task management and resource management.


Timesheets are also online, which means that team members can update their timesheets anywhere and at any time. Managers receive alerts when the timesheets are ready for approval, so that process is swift and efficient. Given the range of ProjectManager’s features, you’ll be able to ditch other resource management tools and keep all your project management under one roof.

Collaborative Environment

As noted, one of the biggest benefits of using ProjectManager over MS Project is that it fosters collaboration among team members. They can add files and comment at the task level on the online Gantt chart. Discussions are facilitated either one-on-one or at the group level. Project managers can easily assign tasks and track progress with time tracking and task management features.

Again, whether they’re using a Windows or a Mac OS device, ProjectManager allows your team to seamlessly import and export both MS Project and Excel files without losing any data.

More Microsoft Project Alternatives for Mac

Virtual Machine Software

A virtual machine (VM) allows you to run windows apps on your Mac by emulating a windows operating system. The most commonly used VM solutions for Mac are parallels desktop and virtualbox. They’ll allow you to run MS Project on Mac computers, but there are several drawbacks.

Parallels Desktop

If you choose parallels desktop, you’ll need to install the VM on your Mac and pay for several software licenses and subscriptions. You’ll have to pay for parallels desktop, the windows operating system, Microsoft Project and all the Windows apps that you might need.


On the other hand, you can download virtualbox on your Mac for free, but you still have to pay for the Windows operating system, Microsoft Project and other Windows apps. Its user interface is also more difficult to use than parallels desktop, which requires users to be more tech-savvy.

Read More: Best Microsoft Project Alternatives of 2022 for Project Managers

Why There’s No Microsoft Project for Mac

As we’ve explained here, Microsoft Project doesn’t run on Mac computers or Apple devices by default, only on Windows. But why would Microsoft want to keep Apple users from running their project management software? It boils down to the fact that Microsoft wants more people using Microsoft computers and Windows operating systems. By keeping their software exclusively on the Windows platform, Microsoft is betting that Apple users will come to the Windows platform in order to use MSP.

This leaves many Mac users to seek a Microsoft Project alternative for Mac, since most “Mac people” would never switch to a Windows PC. Tools like ProjectManager give teams flexibility to work on project plans, regardless of operating systems preference. If you’re a Mac user, you might want to take a look at the best planner apps for Mac in 2022.

MS Project becomes so much more when it’s used in collaboration with ProjectManager, the cloud-based project management software for Windows and Mac OS. But once you’ve tried out our software with this free 30-day trial, you’ll ditch MS Project if you can and use ProjectManager full-time. It’s less expensive, more user-friendly and keeps all your project management needs in one place for greater efficiency and productivity. Try it today!

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