Calculating charts used to be the most difficult and painstaking part of doing astrology. But modern astrologers have been blessed with computers. What a relief! Your computer makes the job of running charts so much easier. But how do you choose the right astrology software for your needs? I’ll lay out what I think are the best options available. I encourage you to leave your feedback, comments, and questions at the end of the post.
Web- and app-based astrology software
Astro.com (free, web-based)
Whoever said nothing in life is free never visited Astrodienst (say it: astro-DEENST) at astro.com. This is a great place for an astrology student, hobbyist, or enthusiast to calculate charts online, for free. They are based in Switzerland, so you know the charts are accurate. Astro.com has a ton of useful options, some great free reports, and valuable subscription services. I really like their “Personal Daily Horoscope” service. They also host Astrodatabank, an extensive collection of charts for research and education, and Astrowiki, a wonderful resource for astrology students.
AstroApp ($$, web-based)
AstroApp is a subscription-based program that lives securely “in the cloud.” The free trial is limited, but it shows you what the app does– which is a lot! Click around, like I did, and you might also be excited by the promise of those greyed-out options.
I signed up for a month so I could review the pro-level subscription for this post. The charts and transit lists are great. It almost does everything I need it to. Printing functionality still runs a little buggy.
Assuming this project is still in the early stages, I really think the hearts and minds behind AstroApp have created something promising! The full featured pro-level subscription is well-priced at less than $100/year. Still too much? A monthly subscription option is available for the commitment-phobic!
Astro Gold ($$, iOS, Android, Mac OS)
Astro Gold is a suite of Android and iOS apps. Astro Gold makes it easy to get charts, bi-wheels, and a basic transit hit list. It’s not quite robust enough for my work with clients, but Astro Gold is fast and easy to use. It’s my go-to when I check the “chart of the day” on my iPad in the mornings, and it’s handy for calculating charts on the run. Astro Gold is relatively new, so there are still some kinks in the program. Customer service is friendly and quick to respond to bug reports. At $25 for Android, $40 for your iPhone/iPad, this is a great addition to your mobile toolbox. $150 gets you a full-featured copy for your Mac.
Professional astrology software
Solar Fire ($$$, Windows)
Solar Fire is the only software I use for my professional work, and the only reason I still have a computer with a Windows operating system. Solar Fire is the deluxe toolkit. It has everything and the kitchen sink when it comes to astrological tricks and techniques!! It’s also fully customizable– configure the settings to get just the chart you want.
There is a learning curve with the Solar Fire interface. It’s not the most intuitive, so if you struggle to work your computer, this may not be the right package for you. Check out the wonderful online tutorials to see if it looks like something you can comfortably handle. Once you have the “lay of the land” and know your way around the software, it is pretty fast and easy to get what you want out of it. Solar Fire’s $360 price tag may put it out of reach for astrologers who are on a limited budget.
Io Series ($$$, Mac OS)
Io Edition is the basics. It’s the powerhouse you need to run charts, transits, and progressions, the meat of forecasting. The interface is pretty easy. You can calculate natal charts, composite, and progressed. You can easily run and print transit or progressed hit lists. At a $200 starting price point, if you go with any of the tempting add-ons (I recommend the “Star Fonts”), it ends up being comparable, price-wise, to Solar Fire.
Io Sprite is a really useful add-on for this series, and it’s worth having as a stand-alone. It is the best program I know for “finding” aspects. For example, if I want to know exactly when a planet turns retrograde, enters a new sign, or completes a transit, I can run a search in Io Sprite and get the info I need.
More astrology software for Windows
I find Windows to be a big pain in my butt. But, if you get along with Windows better than I do, you’re in luck! Because there are scads of astrology software programs available for the Windows platform, and many of them are free! I couldn’t even begin to review them all.
Luckily, someone else has done the hard work for us. If you dare go down the rabbit hole, check out Hank Friedman’s extensive astrology software reviews.
What do you think? Did I miss a good one? Let me know in the comments.