Office has been available in both 32-bit and 64-bit for several years and beginning at last Ignite, we updated our recommendation and now default setting to 64-bit. We are excited about the 64-bit default update, because it allows customers take advantage of the resources of current hardware and a 64-bit operating system for increasingly common heavy workloads in Office. We have also seen the rest of the industry catch up in support of 64-bit Office add-ins.
This post gives a little bit more background on the change and opens a place to further the conversation with the community on the 64-bit version of Office ProPlus and 2019. Office 365 ProPlus and Office 2019 continue to offer both 64-bit and 32-bit versions, the only change is that 64-bit is now the default installed version. Using 64-bit Office offers multiple advantages over the 32-bit version, including:
As more and more modern desktops now run in 64-bit, the benefits of 64-bit Office continue to increase
We have optimized the latest version of Office to take advantage of the specs and configurations of these modern desktops
64-bit Office apps perform better with very large files, videos and tables across Office in Excel, PowerPoint and Project
Custom applications and Microsoft Access can also take advantage of long numbers and data formats
The majority of feedback has been positive, with many of our customers sharing with us that their users are working with increasingly large, complex files and datasets on their desktops. 64-bit Office gives them access to the additional memory needed to meet their performance requirements, and with both modern hardware and modern customer scenarios, the number of users that will benefit from 64-bit Office is continuously increasing. The growth of big data leads to larger and more complex data sets used by users in Excel workbooks, and 4K+ displays on desktops along with the corresponding higher-resolution visuals in PowerPoint presentations are becoming more and more common.
How does installing 64-bit Office handle application compatibility
Application compatibility is the top concern we hear from customers when talking about installing 64-bit versions of Office. It’s important to note that 64-bit support has been around since Office 2010. Over the last several years, we have made several new investments to reduce application compatibility concerns for upgrading to Office ProPlus. The Readiness Toolkit for Office add-ins and VBA can help you identify compatibility issues with your Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros and add-ins that your organization has with Office. The same toolkit can be used to identify any potential issues with 64-bit add-ins, prior to installing it.
The majority of solutions that have been tested with the Readiness toolkit have shown that the number of add-ins and macros that have compatibility issues are very low. Watch our full session on application compatibility, the Readiness Toolkit, and 64-bit readiness from Ignite 2018.
In addition to the Readiness Toolkit, we have also created the Desktop App Assure program as a new service from Microsoft FastTrack. This program is designed to address issues with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus app compatibility. The program and its assurance show our commitment to supporting your organization as they move to Office ProPlus and 64-bit versions of Office.
32-bit Office deployments continue to be available
Just because 64-bit is now the default for installation, it doesn't mean you are restricted from installing 32-bit Office on desktops. You can always uninstall 64-bit Office and reinstall 32-bit on desktop or change the setting prior to install. This install setting change only applies to self-service installations, IT admins using controlled deployment tools will use the specified bit settings defined by the admin. The default in the admin tools now also align with 64-bit deployments of Office as default.