The Definitive Guide to Grammarly for Mac

Brad Smith


I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.

We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Brad Smith

Grammarly has its own dedicated app for macOS.

It combines the best of the web-based editor with the convenience of an intuitive, always-on desktop app in your dock.

Here’s a complete guide to using Grammarly for Mac, how to check for grammar mistakes with it, run reports, and scan for plagiarism.

Let’s get started.

How to Get Started with Grammarly for Mac

The first step is to sign-up for Grammarly for free or upgrade to Grammarly Premium.

If you’re still on the fence, check out my full Grammarly Review. I’ve even compared it against some alternatives so you can see how they differ.

Otherwise, the next step is to login to the web-based platform and look for “Apps” in the left-hand toolbar. Click on it, and you should quickly see the macOS option pop up on top (if, of course, you’re on a macOS device).

Grammarly Apps for Mac Devices

Just keep in mind that the Grammarly for macOS app is just that: a dedicated editor.

This isn’t like the optional Grammarly for Chrome browser extension below, where it will constantly spell check every screen on your browser.

Go ahead and download the Grammarly Mac app, and install it like you would any other program. It’s fairly lightweight, so it should only take a few seconds. Drag-and-drop the icon over to the Applications folder and you’ll be on your way.

Grammarly for Mac Installation Process

When ready, a five-part onboarding tutorial will walk you through how Grammarly for Mac works.

(But if you already have experience using the web version, you’re probably fine just skipping ahead to be honest.)

Grammarly Mac Tutorial Screen

At the end of the quick tutorial, you’ll be prompted to login with your email and password. Punch those in (don’t worry, I’ll look away), and then hit “Log In” when ready.

Grammarly Mac App Login Screen

Once logged in, you’ll find almost the same-looking screen as the web version.

You’ve got options on the left-hand side, all your docs on the right, and the ability to upload, import, or paste new stuff right in the middle.

Grammarly for Mac Editor

If you zoom out of the Grammarly Mac app for a second, you’ll see the upgrade options in the far left-corner on the top of your screen. You can always come back here to check for app updates.

Grammarly for Mac Upgrade Options

Zooming back in, let’s now look at how the Mac editor works. Click on one of your docs, or upload one, and let’s get rolling.

The upper left-hand corner has options to upload new documents or even export and print your current one.

Grammarly Mac Export and Print Options

The lower left-hand corner has your Settings and Preferences, where you can set alerts, toggle word count on or off, and even change font sizes. (Don’t worry, I constantly need to bump mine up with these old eyes.)

Grammarly Mac Preferences and Settings

And that’s it! Easy, right?

Now, you should be ready to start actually using the Grammarly Mac app for what it was designed: fixing grammar and plagiarism.

Let’s dive in.

How to Use Grammarly App for Mac’s Editor to Check Grammar Mistakes

Once you’re looking at a document, you should see the high-level insights in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Critical stuff is in red, ‘advanced’ stuff is in yellow, and the writing assistant is right there to help you in-depth. We’ll take a look at each one.

Grammarly Mac Critical and Advanced Grammar Errors

Your serious issues in red are all of the must-fixes. These are things like punctuation mistakes that are black and white — there’s only one right answer.

Personally, I like to take care of these ones, first, before progressing into the more nuanced issues after.

The good news is that the Grammarly Mac app not only flags these critical mistakes, but also recommends simple suggestions to change them. So all it takes is a few clicks to correct, instead of you having to figure out what went wrong and what the right move looks like.

Fixing Critical Grammar Errors on Grammarly for Mac

The yellow, or advanced options, are more style-oriented. You should probably fix them, because they’ll flag redundant or cliched word use.

However, this also comes down to personal preference. When I’m writing an informal article like this, I actually like words like “actually” and “like,” because it sounds like we’ve having a conversation.

Whereas you’d probably want to remove those when writing a formal or technical paper.

Opening up the Writing Assistant on the right-hand side of the Mac editor, you’ll be able to dive deep into each section of writing.

One of my favorites is the Clarity section, because it helps you instantly improve your writing. It catches that low hanging fruit, like passive voice. It’ll aid you in rephrasing each part in a matter of seconds.

Grammarly Mac Clarity Report

Last but not least, you might see these little hovering blue dots. Click on one, and the Grammarly Mac editor will suggest different synonyms.  

Finding Word Synonyms on Grammarly for Mac

This is perfect for replacing overused words that we’re all guilty of.

The Grammarly for Mac Report Section

The first two options under the Writing Assistant are more report-oriented.

This is the bird’s eye view from 10,000 feet that summarizes what you’ve done well (and not so well).

For example, the Performance report will grade your work against all other Grammarly users.

Grammarly Mac Performance Reporting

The Word Count section does exactly what it sounds like, diving deep into how long your document is, and how long it would be to read to speak out loud.

The Readability report towards the bottom will go into how user-friendly your writing is (or isn’t). Many times, the more formal or technical a topic, the less ‘readable’ it is for people. So this is a good way to spot-check yourself.

And this is what I love about Grammarly:

Yes, catching grammar and plagiarism is important. But it’s also helping you become a better writer.

Under Performance, there is a “Set Goals” section.

Selecting different options here will impact the kinds of changes or suggestions Grammarly will give you when analyzing documents.

Grammarly for Mac Set Goals Reporting

For example, you can set goals to that personal, friendly tone you’re after, and have it look past words like “really” which might otherwise be flagged as an issue.

How to Detect Plagiarism on Grammarly for Mac

The lower-right hand corner of the Writing Assistant is where you’ll find both plagiarism options.

You can open up Grammarly’s plagiarism checker and have it run a report in 30 seconds or less, telling you, as a percentage, how much plagiarism is detected.

Grammarly Plagiarism Checker

In an ideal world, you should see 3% or less here. If it’s higher, like our example above (11%), you might want to dive deeper to figure out what happened.

Grammarly’s plagiarism detector is one of the most accurate I’ve tested (out of over 10+), so if it’s flagging 10%+, you better look into it.

The other option I like is the Human Proofreader one. You can probably tell by now that editing is not my strong suit. A few mistakes have probably already slipped through here.

So you can have a professional editor review your document in as little as a few hours!

Grammarly for Mac Human Proofreading Option

The cost is dependent on:

  1. How long your document is, and
  2. How fast you want it turned around

It does get pretty expensive if you want it checked in three hours or less. But if you can wait a day, and this is an important document, the 24-hour turnaround is well worth it.

You’re going to pay the same amount (or more) finding a professional editor. Not to mention, all the time you’d have to spend finding them and coordinating everything.

It’s hard to be the convenience of just ordering this service directly from your Mac desktop app and getting on with your day while they do the heavy lifting.

How to Uninstall Grammarly on macOS

I’m a big fan of the Grammarly for Mac app.

However, even I’ll admit:

I like web-based apps. I dunno why. I just do.

So if you ever wanted to uninstall the Grammarly macOS app, just pull it up in your Applications folder, and move it to the Trash can.

Uninstalling Grammarly for Mac

If you want a squeaky-clean device, there are a few other files you’ll need to locate.

So go to the “Go” option on your Apple computer and look for the “Go to Folder…” command:

Find Grammarly for Mac Library Files

Here, type in: ~/Library/    (Or just copy and paste that.)

Finding the Mac Library Folder

Specifically, you’re looking for the application support, cached data, and saved application states under your Grammarly folders:

Deleting the Grammarly for Mac Library Folders

Do that and you’re done!

No complex or messy process you have to fight against.

Conclusion

The Grammarly for Mac app is like the best of both worlds.

You get the same power, accuracy, and features of the web-based version of Grammarly.

Except, you’re combining it with the easy, convenience, and intuitiveness that you’ve come to expect from dedicated Mac apps.

If you write a lot, or edit a lot, you’ll quickly see that Grammarly is definitely worth it.

The costs pale in comparison to what you’re getting.

And with the Grammarly for Mac app, you never have to leave the comforts of your dock.