General, commercial statistics software for Macintosh computers (Macs)
Updated at the end of 2013
All of these packages provide descriptive statistics; some have an astonishing array of statistical tools. Also see:
- Free and open-source Mac statistics software
- Graphing and visualization software (some, e.g. Aabel, do statistical routines)
- Data mining, econometric software, general math, and specialty statistics.
- Dead software
Configurations: Mac (10.6+), Windows
Current Version: 8
Listing updated: 11/2013
Price: $30 (academic, $20)
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.
Configurations Available: Mac (Universal), Windows
Listing updated: 11/2013
Price: $15 (free SE version with just 20 rows of data)
Clarity appears to be a spreadsheet-based version of AcaStat, and does similar functions. The software doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2010. The software is now available in the Mac App Store.
Configurations: PPC or Intel
Current Version: 2.13
Software updated: 2008 • Listing updated: 11/2013
Price: $70 (one-year student licenses, $10). Bulk pricing goes as low as $15 (non-expiring) or $4.50 (per year/student).
Fathom Dynamic Statistics is a software package designed for teaching basic statistics and data visualization in secondary and undergraduate classes. (800) 995-MATH; +1-510-595-7000; fax: (800) 541-2442, +1-510-595-7040
Current version: Mac OS X 64-bit (OS version unknown)
Listing updated: 11/2013
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, version, or compatibility information. The site had last been updated in 2012.
GraphPad Prism - Prism Review
Configurations: Universal Binary (Cocoa)
Current Version: 6 (released 2012)
Price: $595 (lower with substantial academic discounts)
Listing updated: 8/2012
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.”)
Current version: 2.0
Compatibility: OS 8.6-9.2; OSX 10.1 and up; Windows
Price:$95 (commercial price); $75 (academic/nonprofit price); discounts apply for extra licenses
Listing updated: 8/2012
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: OS 8.6-9.2; OSX 10.1 to 10.6 (not 10.7) — PPC only; Windows.
Price:$150 (commercial price); $125 (academic/nonprofit price); discounts apply for extra licenses
Listing updated: 8/2012
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: 10
$1,495 ; with educational discount, $595; new “annual plan” available.
Listing updated: 4/8/2012
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.
Current Version: 2.7
Requires Mathematica 9, Intel Mac; previous versions PPC compatible
Listing updated: 11-2013
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: 11.1
Configurations Available: requires Excel; works on Intel, PPC, Windows
Listing updated: 5-18-09 (URL removed, 11-2013)
Cost: included with textbooks
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: 20 (Intel-only; final PowerPC version was 16; final Classic version was 12)
Pricing: numerous options. time-limited; add-on modules require their own, expensive upgrades
Pricing is somewhat hazy, following are our best guesses from April 2012:
Standard: $5,176 with 12 months of support. Base: $2,248 with 12 months of support; $989 for 12-month fixed license.
Modules are around $1,385 each depending on module
Academic pricing is no longer listed on the SPSS web site but the 12 month Grad Pack still appears to be around $90. We recommend against getting “hooked.”
Listing updated: 4/15/13
SPSS is an industry-standard statistics package; many features require expensive add-ons which must all be updated separately. New revisions come roughly once a year. Users are expected to subscribe, and we have not seen any bug fixes for non-current versions.
SPSS’ underlying code is shared between platforms, with a slow Java interface. SPSS Mac easily exchanges data and syntax files (though not output files) with the Windows version, and with most older versions (even those which can’t deal with long variable names).
SPSS 10.08a can run in Classic mode under OS X on PowerPC machines if you:
- Right-click (or control-click) on the SPSS 10 program package (not the alias) and select "Show Package Contents"
- Drag out the SPSS 10 for Macintosh alias from the package
- Close the folder and use the alias you just dragged out of the SPSS package to start the program.
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. As of SPSS 19, we do not have access to the program for review. A demo was supposedly available from IBM, but their form was not working when we tried it. The beta program for SPSS 21 has a four week window (half of that is spent saying, “We need the Mac version”) after which one loses use of the software. There is no reason to believe SPSS has changed for the better since our last experience.
SPSS has been getting harder and harder to deal with for many years, and if you can use something else, it makes sense to do so.
Configurations Available: Currently, Universal
Pricing: Versions vary by power, with Small Stata starting at $445 (educational discount). There are government and educational discounts.
Current Version: 13.0
Listing updated: June 2013
Stata Corporation has frequent, automatic updates between roughly-annual releases; and simultaneous releases across platforms. Their price is lower than SPSS despite having an “all inclusive” package. Stata's Mac support deserves serious consideration when making such an expensive and long-term decision.
(See our Stata 11 statistical software review.)
Stata is an incredibly capable program. It has a macro language, a syntax language, a new matrix language, numerous advanced functions, a massive collection of user-contributed modules (many of which have menu control as well as syntax), an Excel-like spreadsheet for data manipulation, an advanced variable editor, and easy copy and paste from Stata to word processors, albeit without formatting. Graphing is advanced and much more “print-ready.” The program has been dramatically improved since our Stata 8 review without losing its core strengths of speed and depth.
New in Stata 12: major improvements or additions — automatic memory support, structural equation modeling (SEM), contrasts and pairwise comparisons, multiple imputation, time series (GARCH, ARFIMA, UCM, spectral density, time series filters, business calendars), contour plots, multilevel/mixed models, ROC analysis, data management, report for submission to regulatory agencies, up to 64 core support, and more. Another new viewer, import from Excel with preview, export to PDF, import EBCDIC files, enhanced data editor with variables management tool, and new layout for wider screens; and gesture support. Stata is now stunningly fast with instant responses.
New in Stata 13: numerous statistics updates and additions; a new project manager that allows multiple projects and includes file management; better documentation; a Java plugin API; factor variables show labels; imports with previews; import from Haver Analytics; business calendars generated from data; and Internet access. The system now allows for practically unlimited-length strings and binary large objects (BLOBs).
Listing updated: April 2012
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 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.
The general usage of StatPlus can be awkward, with a lot of switching between the program and Excel, and no indication of when the program is working, with delays between selecting a process or a range and getting some sort of reaction.
StatCrunch is fairly unique - a full-fledged statistics program that is freely available for web-based use, currently without advertisements, with a $5 per user fee for use on your own server, or $5/six months. 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, though free, will also store your data within reason; it seems to work fine with Safari. For those with low budgets or infrequent needs, StatCrunch's fairly easy to use interface and price are extremely attractive (it also makes sharing data easy).
Wizard / Wizard Pro
Configurations: Intel via Apple Store
Pricing: $80 (Wizard) and $200 (Wizard Pro)
Current Version: 1.3.17
Listing updated: November 2013
Wizard and Wizard Pro are surprising packages from Evan Miller (creator of Magic Maps) which is meant for quick analysis and visualization, without syntax or tortured interface. The program imports data with stunning speed, and comes up with summaries (complete with graphs appropriate to data type) literally instantly. We tested it with some rather large databases including the General Social Survey, and results were practically instantaneous. Wizard Pro Preview.
Wizard Pro actually supports Stata dictionary (.dct) and some SPSS command files (.sps), which are surprising features for a program that essentially lets users do a limited number of operations very, very quickly. It also (as of version 1.3) imports from Numbers, SAS, and modern (.xlsx) Excel files.
It 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.
Wizard 1.1 brings a new Pivot interface for producing numeric summaries and saving
them as their own tables. (This completely replaces the “Aggregate
Table” function.) Pivot functions include count, sum, mean, standard
deviation, variance, min/max, and percentiles; as one would expect, tables appear or change instantly, and are easy to modify, far easier than with Excel’s clunky interface. There is new support for Frequency Weights throughout the program, and a new preference window, new formatting options, optional display of odds ratios, and various other improvements.
For Wizard 1.2, which came out a mere three months after 1.1, Miller added full date support, Excel exports, new 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. Wizard 1.22, coming quickly on the heels of 1.2 (three months later), adds the scientific format style, exports of the dispersion parameter of Negative Binomial models, and improved blank cell detection during Excel imports. Two more weeks brought 1.23 with the ability to set the numeric format from the Raw Data view, scientific formatting for very small statistics, and fixes for unusual imports and exports. (Wizard Pro site.)
Configurations: Mac OS X, Windows; Intel, PPC
Pricing: Numerous versions and options. Perpetual Mac OS X license of base product, non-academic: $275. Academic, $165.
Current Version: “2012.2”
Listing updated: April 2012
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.