Analytic Solver Desktop won't work with Excel for Mac.

Analytic Solver Cloud will work with Excel for Mac, but an Office 365 subscription is required.

Learn Why. If you are using a Mac, your best option is Analytic Solver Cloud. If you can't get an Office 365 subscription, you still have options:

Using   •   Using Windows on a Mac   •   Using Solver under Mac OSX


An Office 365 subscription is better -- but if for some reason you can't get or use one, your simplest option is to open Chrome (recommended) or another web browser to, our cloud-based analytics platform. If you're a student, is designed to enable you to complete all of your class exercises, and even use a textbook that has screen shots and instructions using our software in Excel for Windows, on your Mac. It has essentially all the features, and the same user interface as Analytic Solver Cloud and Desktop, with a Ribbon that has the same tabs and icons, and a Task Pane on right with the same tabs and most of the same options. It offers a spreadsheet-like grid that works much like Excel, and you can open Excel workbooks (with extension .xlsx) and save models to Excel workbooks.

If you registered on after August 15, 2016, you already have an account on -- just click the Login button at the top right, and enter the same email address and password you used to register on If you cannot login this way, just register at or (registering again won't hurt). Registering on either site gives you an account on both sites. This assumes that your instructor has given you a Textbook Code and Course Code to register -- if he/she hasn't done this, ask him/her to call us at 775-831-0300 x141 and speak to our Academic Liason.

Two strong hints: (i) READ THE HELP on differences between Excel and the spreadsheet, and other minor differences in the analytics software, at (ii) If you already registered without a Textbook Code and Course Code, your license may expire on To remedy this, get the Textbook Code and Course Code from your instructor, go to, click the Login button to login, then type in the browser address bar. This displays a short form where you can add your Graduation Date, Textbook Code and Course Code and click the Register button.

Using Microsoft Office for Windows on a Mac

Another good option for using our software on a Mac is to install Microsoft Windows, either in a dual-boot setup on your hard disk, or running under VM (virtual machine) software such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels.  This is recommended for students who for some reason cannot use an Office 365 subscription -- it is the only way to use Analytic Solver Desktop for Windows on a Mac desktop or laptop, since this software won't run directly under Mac OSX. (But an Office 365 subscription and Analytic Solver Cloud is better!)

Any of Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 is sufficient. Once Windows is installed, you can install Microsoft Office (or just Excel) 2019, 2016, 2013, or 2010.  You can then download and run any of our Setup.exe programs to install our software.  Used this way, a Mac or MacBook makes an excellent computer for Frontline Solvers -- we often run our software on MacBooks in this way at our company.

Using Solver under Mac OSX

You can use the Solver included in Excel for Mac to define and solve basic optimization problems. But you won't be able to use Monte Carlo simulation and risk analysis, solve optimization problems involving uncertainty and risk, or use the forecasting, data mining or text mining features of Analytic Solver Cloud, Analytic Solver Desktop or You can define a basic optimization model using Solver in Excel for Mac, save the workbook, open that workbook in, and solve it there and extend it further.

The basic Excel Solver is included when you install Microsoft Excel 2011 or later for Mac. This has been true since Excel 2011 Service Pack 1 (Version 14.1.0). You do not have to (and should not try to) download Solver from this website. If you are still using Excel 2008 for Mac, we strongly recommend an upgrade to Excel 2011 or later. But if you absolutely cannot do this, you can download Solver for Excel 2008 here.

Why Doesn't Analytic Solver Desktop Work with Excel for Mac OSX?

Excel for Mac OSX may be called "Excel" and load and save Excel workbooks, but internally it is a radically different piece of software from Excel for Windows, since it uses OSX standards and APIs, rather than Windows standards and APIs. None of the internal interfaces (connections) to Excel that Analytic Solver Desktop uses in Windows exist in Excel for Mac. Essentially, "Analytic Solver Desktop for Mac" would be a new piece of software that would cost a lot to develop, and (based on our real-world experience) would have almost no commercial market. In any case, the software industry has moved on to embrace Web technologies (HTML, JavaScript and REST APIs).

We first developed, which all Mac users, iPad users, Android and even Windows users could use equally well. It has served the market for several years. Its main drawback is that its underlying spreadsheet is "not true Excel", and is less familiar and less powerful than Microsoft's latest version of Excel Online. But now we've done better: Over several years culminating in 2019 -- once Microsoft released "Office.js JavaScript APIs" that we could use -- we developed Analytic Solver Cloud using Web technologies. It works in Excel Online, and also works in Excel for Mac and Excel for Windows -- the same on every platform. Frontline Systems is the first, and currently the only analytics software vendor who has made the investment (over the last five years) to create software like Analytic Solver Cloud.