Updated February 2, 2017 (Wizard updated)
All of these packages provide descriptive statistics; some have an astonishing array of statistical tools. Also see:
Before we begin — have you looked at the “free and open source” list? Some of these are quite good!
Sold through Apple Store
Pricing: $80 (Wizard) and $200 (Wizard Pro)
Current Version: 1.8.x
Listing updated: February 2017 (software still under constant development)
Wizard imports data with stunning speed, and comes up with summaries (including appropriate graphs) instantly. We tested it with large databases, including the General Social Survey, and results were practically instantaneous.
Wizard Pro supports Stata dictionary (.dct) and some SPSS command files (.sps), surprising features indeed! It also imports from Numbers, SAS, and Excel.
Wizard is set up to instantly provide summary statistics and charts on large numbers of variables, and also does instant correlations and multiple regressions. It's a discoverable program that delivers a level of “pleasant uniqueness” we haven’t seen in a long time.
There is a Pivot interface for producing numeric summaries and saving them as their own tables, á la Minitab. Pivot functions include count, sum, mean, standard deviation, variance, min/max, and percentiles; tables appear or change instantly, and are far easier to modify than, say, in Excel. There is support for frequency weights, optional display of odds ratios, and various other improvements.
Wizard has full date support, Excel exports, numerous tests (Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis, 2-sample and N-sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Negative Binomial, Cox Proportional Hazards), double-precision storage for numeric data, and custom delimiters in imported text files. Following versions continue to increase the scope and quality of the program, on a regular and rapid basis. (Wizard Pro site • Tour of 1.5 additions) Wizard Pro Preview.
Configurations: Universal Binary (Cocoa)
Current Version: 7 (released 2015 or 2016)
Price: $725 (there are substantial academic discounts, and monthly and annual subscriptions)
Listing updated: 12/2016
GraphPad Software [(800) 388-4723, +1-858-457-3909] sells Prism, a multi-platform package that emphasizes biostatistics for laboratory work. GraphPad’s CEO and founder, Harvey Motulsky, wrote: “We release new versions of GraphPad Prism every 3-4 years, and Mac and Windows development are done nearly simultaneously. Prism 5 for Mac was released nearly a year after the Windows version because we did a complete rewrite to recreate it in Cocoa to make it a fully modern Mac program. We plan to keep Mac and Windows versions in synch as we develop future versions.”
GraphPad’s Prism is a strong platform for exploratory statistics and graphing, providing the usability of graphing software with many advanced statistical capabilities. Numerous graph types are available along with flexible regression curving. For more details, read our GraphPad Prism review. (For version 6, “Prism 6 offers more statistical analyses, more kinds of graphs, better learning tools and is more efficient to use.”)
Pricing: Versions start at $445 (educational discount). There are government and educational discounts.
Current Version: 14
Listing updated: Sept. 2016
Software is updated roughly once per year
Stata has frequent, automatic updates between releases, and simultaneous releases across platforms. Their price is much lower than SPSS, and there are no “gotcha” costs for extra modules. Stata's Mac support has been excellent for many years, unlike IBM/SPSS. (See our Stata 11 statistical software review.)
Stata is incredibly capable, with a macro language, a syntax language, a matrix language, a massive collection of user-contributed modules, a spreadsheet for data manipulation, an advanced variable editor, copy and paste to word processors (without formatting), and extreme depth and breadth in statistical functions. Stata graphing is advanced and more “print-ready” than SPSS, surprisingly.
Among other new features of Stata 14 is structural equation modeling including use of survey data and a model builder, with adjustments for non-normality, graphic charting, and various features for treatment effects. For medical researchers, there are more survival features. There are many, many additions in Stata 14.
Configurations: Mac (10.7+), Windows
Current Version: 10.1.9
Listing updated: 1/2017; last software update unknown
Price: $20; bundle with StatCalc, $24
Acastat handles up to 100,000 cases and 100 variables, depending on system memory. It runs on PPC machines with OS X 10.2 and up, or on Windows XP. It does frequencies (with chi-square goodness of fit), lists, descriptives (by subgroups), diagnostic accuracy measures, crosstabs with various related statistics, t-tests, one-way ANOVA, correlations, simple and multiple regression, logistic regression, and appraisal analysis.
The retail version includes StatCalc, with decision tools and more summary statistics. Both versions allow up to 100,000 cases and can deal with data copied from spreadsheets, or delimited text files. The software is now available in the Mac App Store.
The software appears to be easy to figure out and learn, providing most of the statistics that most people use day to day, and some that one has to pay extra for from SPSS. We did not test Acastat's accuracy but overall it appears to be a very promising entry.
Current version: 16
Listing updated: 1/17
Gauss is a widely used, “big-time” package...but let’s let Aptech Systems, the developers, say it:
The GAUSS Mathematical and Statistical System is a fast matrix programming language widely used by scientists, engineers, statisticians, biometricians, econometricians, and financial analysts. Designed for computationally intensive tasks, the GAUSS system is ideally suited for the researcher who does not have the time required to develop programs in C or FORTRAN but finds that most statistical or mathematical "packages" are not flexible or powerful enough to perform complicated analysis or to work on large problems.
Joel West, the creator of this site, wrote: “Gauss was never available on Macs before, and is considered the high-end statistics package for economic research. Here's a good third party resource for Gauss.”
The last time we checked the web site, we were unable to discover pricing or compatibility information, though it had previously shown 10.9 compatibility.
Current version: 2.0
Compatibility: OS 8.6-9.2; OSX 10.1 to 10.6; Windows
Software last updated: Prior to 10/2012
Listing updated: 9/2016
GraphPad Software, Inc. [(800) 388-4723, +1-858-457-3909; fax: +1-858-457-8141] sells several packages. StatMate (2.0, OS8/X, PPC, $95) provides estimates of needed sample sizes: “quickly calculate the power of an experiment to detect various hypothetical differences. Its wizard-based format leads you through the necessary steps to determine the tradeoffs in terms of risks and costs.”
Current version: 3.1
Compatibility: Up to OS X 10.6
Price: $150 (commercial price)
Software updated: Prior to 8/2012
Listing updated: 9/2016
GraphPad Software, Inc. [(800) 388-4723, +1-858-457-3909; fax: +1-858-457-8141] sells several packages.
InStat 3 (OS8/X, PPC, $150) is an low-cost, easy-to use biostatistics software package. GraphPad wrote that the program was designed to guide users who are not necessarily full-time, dedicated statisticians through the process of gathering and analyzing data, at a reasonable cost. InStat also provides a unique analysis checklist to ensure that “your data have not violated any assumptions of the test, and that you have picked a test that matches your experimental design and really answers the question you had in mind.”
A quick look through a demonstration copy showed us that InStat is helpful for beginners, providing a guide that goes step by step as you use actual data. The program itself seems fairly easy to use, and is designed in wizard fashion, better thought out than most. It is fast and responsive, and provides easy access to common needs — providing comparisons of means (through numerous methods), regression and correlation (linear and nonparametric, but not stepwise as far as I can tell so far), and analyzing contingency tables through Chi-square, Fisher's, and other tests. Data can be entered as ra data, averaged, x and y, two rows and two columns, or larger contingency tables. As you specify your goal (compare means/medians, regression/correlation, analyze contingency table), the program provides an example or two of the possible purpose of the analysis. This is a surprisingly good program for both inexperienced people and those who know a lot of statistics but don't use their knowledge often enough to jump into a more complex and costly program.
With version 3.1, InStat can handle 10,000 cases and 52 variables; the Help system has been better integrated into Windows and the Mac; long calculations get a progress window, and you can cancel them.
The program does not appear to have been updated since 2008 and runs in Rosetta, which has been problematic for other software.
Configurations: Universal Binary; past versions were 68000, PPC, etc.
Current Version: 13
Listing updated: 1/1
Software updated: 2016
SAS Institute’s JMP started out as a Mac data visualization program. It now competes with Stata and SPSS, boasting syntax, journaling, and comprehensive statistics and design tools. There are full demos, and a student version (JMP IN).
JMP is responsive and launches speedily and feels like a real Mac program. Importing a large data file from Excel was almost instant and accurate, with correct variable types and names. Opening a spreadsheet of four variables and 30,000 entries was instant and, in the time it took for SPSS to do nothing, JMP had already run descriptives. Numeric output of JMP in our tests (which used 30,000 randomly generated 15-digit numbers) was identical to SPSS, Stata, JMP, and Megastat; JMP was the fastest of the group in 2009.
Regressions were instantaneous, including multiple multiple, high-resolution plots we could copy directly into Photoshop, summary of fit, analysis of variance, parameter estimates, residual plots, actual by predicted, etc ‚— using 30,000 cases. From the output window, we could copy tables and plots, and even change parameters or run additional tests from convenient submenus.
With JMP 10, SPSS import was greatly improved, and a large SPSS formatted file (the 2010 General Social Survey) was imported in just a few seconds; manipulations were still fast. We will be using that data set soon to re-compare SPSS, JMP, and Stata Intercooled.
We didn’t realize just how fast Stata was until we analyzed the General Social Survey with it. JMP is absurdly fast; graphing a 3D scatterplot of three variables, with 2,400 cases of each, was instant, and we could then rotate the plots in real time.
This graphing program computes ANOVAs, including repeated measures ANOVAs. See its listing on the Graphing page. An add-on for Mathematica is now apparently available.
Current Version: 2.7
Requires Mathematica 9, Intel Mac; previous versions PPC compatible
Listing updated: 1-2017
mathStatica is an add-on package for Mathematica which provides algebraic and symbolic solution to statistical problems. Thus, it is supported in the same configurations as Mathematica for the Macintosh. It is published by MathStatica Pty. Ltd. It now provides an arbitrary-precision numeric engine for accuracy, especially in highly iterative processes.
Current Version: 11.2
Requires Excel; works on Intel, PPC, Windows
Listing updated: 10/2014
Cost: included with textbooks
Software last updated: 2011?
MegaStat is maintained by J. B. Orris, Butler University, and distributed by McGraw-Hill, which explains why you may not have heard of it. The software uses Excel only for “data entry, data transformation, printing, and file management,” but avoids using Excel’s disreputable math tools.
MegaStat can deal with stepwise regressions, large factorials, time series/forecasting, descriptives, frequencies, nonparametrics, QPC sharts, and numerous hypothesis tests. In short, MegaStat packs all the power most people will ever need into a relatively inexpensive, easy to use package. The down side is that it’s moderately slow, has no scripting language, and requires Excel; and you may need to buy a textbook to get it, though J.B. Orris is considering a shareware or commercial version. On the Mac, some of the buttons and dialogues are hidden by formatting problems.
We have tested MegaStat’s output and in our tests, it was identical to six decimal points with that of Stata.
The software has evolved from J.B. Orris’ Microstat; the current version is written in VisualBasic as an Excel plugin, though a standalone version is planned for the distant future.
Current version: 22 (Intel; final PowerPC version was 16; final Classic version was 12)
Pricing: numerous options. Time-limited; add-on modules require their own, expensive upgrades. Now owned by IBM. Pricing appears to be $1,000-$5,000 per year for the base plus over $1,000 per module. We could not find pricing on the IBM web site.
Academic cost: Grad and Student Packs are $41 for six months or $104 for one year. We recommend against getting “hooked.”
Listing updated: July 2015
SPSS was the industry standard statistics package until constant price hikes culminated in purchase by IBM, which does not appear to publish the cost; it now appears to be on a subscription model. Many features require expensive add-ons which must be updated separately. The user interface is Java-based and slow.
SPSS Mac does easily exchange data and syntax files (not output files) with the Windows version, and with most older versions (even those which can’t deal with long variable names).
We stopped having access to SPSS Mac for review with SPSS 19. Since the IBM buyout, costs appear to have risen and the subscription model made less attractive. If you can use something else, do so. There is no shortage of fine statistics software at prices far below those of SPSS (though SPSS has attractive academic rates, far better than those of Stata).
SPSS 10.08a can run in Classic mode under OS X on PowerPC machines if you:
We do not recommend using SPSS 16, which had numerous bugs and may not produce accurate results. SPSS was Intel-only starting with 17. See our SPSS 18 for Mac review.
Current version: 5
Last update: March 2010
Listing updated: Jan 2017
StatCrunch has been purchased by Pearson and is now available to instructors using their resources for free, or at $22 per year (double the old price), and can be run from your own server, though pricing for this is unpublished and likely to be high. It is a statistics program on the web. It has the usual range of basic statistics, from t-tests to regression to ANOVA and nonparametric tests, with a wide range of graphs also available, and works from Excel or text files. StatCrunch will also store your data within reason; it seems to work fine with Safari. For those with low budgets or infrequent needs, StatCrunch's price is attractive, and you can use other members’ data.
When we checked in July 2015, links were broken and the site seemed to be stubmling.
Configurations: Requires Excel 2004, 2008, or 2011, or Apple Numbers; standalone and Excel 2016 coming
Pricing: $195 commercial, $89 academic; bulk rates exist
Current version: 6.17
Listing updated: October 2016
Software last updated: October 2016
StatPlus is based on a Windows program, but AnalystSoft reprogrammed it completely in Applescript, optimized for either Intel or PPC (which means it takes advantage of the G4 and G5’s math capabilities). Because of this, it is fast and has none of the usual quirks of Windows ports.
StatPlus itself is a fairly small, fast-loading program that has a small number of menus — one that launches Excel; one that provides statistical analyses; and one that manipulates data. The analyses menu provides simple, easily understood categories, and underneath those are submenus with the actual operations. It’s easy to learn, yet contains numerous statistical methods that are not normally provided by easy-to-learn software, including one, two, and three way ANOVAs, GLM models, and many other analyses. The Help system is fully developed, in a standard Mac format, and is moderately easy to read. Cleverly, StatPlus launches Excel automatically when you start it up, saving a step and making it seem more seamless.
This software does not appear to have been updated since 2009 and may not be functional on newer computers. We were unable to get a 2013 demo to work. A reader complained about lack of support. We wrote to the software author in late December 2013 and have not gotten a response.
The team moved to the US in 2013, causing some support issues, but has completely revamped their web site and issued new versions of the StatPlus, now supporting Apple Numbers as well as Excel. Excel 2016 support is coming along with a standalone version that has its own spreadsheet.
Configurations: Mac OS X 10.6-10.11, Windows for Office 2011 and Office 2016
Pricing: Numerous versions and options. Base product/commercial license: $275.
Current Version: data not available
Listing updated: Jan 2017
XLSTAT runs inside Excel, and supports Mac OS X with Excel 2004 and X, with support promised for Excel 2011 after its release. Their calculations do not depend on Excel; the code is robust C++ code and the product has been on the market for ten years, with over 25,000 customers. There are numerous modules, all but three of which are available for the Mac; and there is academic and standard pricing, with perpetual and annual licenses. Modules can cost considerably more than the base program.
Provide feedback or updates. We rely on your help and your opinions.