Microsoft finally moves Mac Office apps to 64-bit

Previews 64-bit Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word to Insiders on the 'Fast' track

Microsoft has released an early 64-bit version of Office 2016 for the Mac, giving adventurous users a chance to finally make the move off 32-bit, as their Windows colleagues have long done.

"The Mac Office team has been working on the transition and we're currently preparing to release the Office apps in full 64-bit," the Office for Mac team announced in an undated post to a company blog.

At the same time, Microsoft issued updates to the Office 2016 applications -- Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word -- to users registered with the Insider program, a preview deal that, like the Windows 10 Insider plan, lets Office users grab early builds. All Office 2016 for Mac users, not only those who subscribe to Office 365, may participate in the Insider program.

For those who chose the "Insider Fast" release track, the 15.25 update transformed the applications from the standard 32-bit to 64-bit.

Office for Mac 64 bit 2

A glance at the updated Office applications through the macOS System Information pane confirms that they're 64-bit.

Although Apple has long urged developers to release 64-bit versions of applications, Microsoft has been a holdout. The Mac's operating system has supported only 64-bit Intel processors since 2011's OS X Lion, although both 32-bit and 64-bit applications may be run on all editions from Lion forward, including this year's macOS Sierra.

For most users, the biggest benefit is the ability to work with much larger files -- thanks to the significantly bigger swaths of memory that a 64-bit operating system can access. Excel users, for example, who work with extremely large spreadsheets have been stymied by the 32-bit Office for Mac limitations.

Registering a Mac with the Office Insider program requires a few changes in the Preferences panel of the Microsoft AutoUpdate application, the utility that detects updates, then downloads and installs them. Instructions for signing up as an Insider can be found on Microsoft's website.

Microsoft did not reveal a release date for the production-grade 64-bit Office applications.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AppleMicrosoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?