How to uninstall Microsoft Office on your Mac
Microsoft Office has been one of the most popular suites of applications on the Mac for three decades. It’s also one of the most unpopular – Mac users really do have a love/hate relationship with it. Lots of people install it, use it, then get so annoyed with it they uninstall it. However, uninstalling Office isn’t as easy as it should be, so here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how to uninstall every part of Microsoft Office.
What is Microsoft Office?
Office is a suite of tools that comprises: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and OneDrive. To use such apps, you can either subscribe to Office 365 on Microsoft's website and download the apps from there or download the individual apps from the Mac App Store and buy a subscription as an in-app purchase.
Subscriptions are annual and there are several different tiers, each of which provides a different level of service with regard to the number of devices you can install Office apps on.
Why is it so difficult to uninstall Office?
Good question! On Windows PCs, Microsoft offers an uninstall utility that allows you to remove Office or any Office app with a few clicks. However, on a Mac, you have to do it the manual way. That means not just removing the app binaries themselves, but hunting down all the other ‘junk’ files that Microsoft Office installs on your Mac.
Backup your data
Once you’ve uninstalled Office, you will obviously not be able to open any files you have that are in Microsoft formats like .doc, .xls, or .ppt in their parent applications. So, before you uninstall Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, make sure that you have another way of opening those files if you need them.
That could be another application that supports those file formats or another computer that has Office installed on it. If that’s not possible, you should open each file in Office and export it in a format that can be read in other applications, such as .rtf for Word documents. Don’t uninstall anything until you have made sure you will still be able to read and edit your files.
When you uninstall Outlook on your Mac, you will also remove all of its data, including email messages and attachments. If you use an IMAP server or an account like iCloud or Gmail, there’s nothing to worry about, your messages and attachments will still be on the server. However, if you have downloaded messages and attachments and deleted them from the mail server, or if you use a POP3 mail server, you should backup up all your messages and attachments before you uninstall Outlook. You can do this by exporting messages from Outlook in mbox format. You should also consider making a copy of the Containers folder described below, just in case.
- Download and launch CleanMyMac X — get a free version here
- Choose the Uninstaller tool from the sidebar.
- In the window on the right, check the box next to the Office apps (Word, Excel, etc) you want to uninstall.
- Press Uninstall
CleanMyMac X now removes not just the apps themselves, but all the associated junk files, saving you a huge amount of time and effort.
You can now check whether there are any leftover files.
- Go to the Uninstaller tool in CleanMyMac X.
- Click on Leftovers.
- If there are any files listed, check the box next to them and press Uninstall.
How to uninstall Office 365 on Mac
To uninstall Office 365, you need to uninstall each app and depending on which version of Office you are using, the process is slightly different.
Uninstall Office 2011
- Navigate to your Applications folder.
- Select Microsoft Excel
- Hold down the Command key and select Outlook, Powerpoint, and Word.
- Drag them all to the Trash and empty it.
This will uninstall Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook from your Mac.
Uninstall Office 365 2016
Uninstalling Office 2016 is more complicated than uninstalling the 2011 version, because you need to locate files in several different folders and move them to the Trash.
- Go to your Applications folder and select Microsoft Excel.
- Hold down the Command key and click on the following apps: OneNote; Outlook; PowerPoint; Word; One Drive.
- With all those apps selected, drag them to the Trash or Control-click on one of the apps and choose Move to Trash from the menu.
- In the Finder, click on the Go menu and choose Go to Folder, or press Command+Shift+G.
- In the box that opens, type: ~/Library and press Go.
- Locate the Containers folder and open it.
- Locate each of the folders listed below and drag them to the Trash (some of them may not be present)
- Click the back arrow in the Finder window to go back to ~/Library and open the Group Containers folder.
- Locate the folders below and move them to the Trash (again, some may not be present).
- Empty the Trash
- If any Office icons are in the Dock, right-click on them and choose Options>Remove from Dock.
- Restart your Mac
You have now uninstalled Office 2016 from your Mac.
If your reason for uninstalling Office from your Mac is to save space, consider using CleanMyMac X to get rid of junk files before you uninstall. CleanMyMac X is an expert at getting rid of files you didn’t even know were there and can recover tens of gigabytes of disk space without having to uninstall anything.
Uninstalling Microsoft Office is straightforward if you are using Office 2011. But Office 2016 is much more complicated to get rid of. There is no official uninstaller, so you have to track down files and folders manually and drag them to the Trash. A much easier solution is to use the CleanMyMac X’s Uninstaller tool which can uninstall applications with just a couple of clicks, removing all their associated files.