Understanding 32 bit (x86) versus 64 bit MS Office Installations

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The information below describes reasons to use 64 bit or 32 bit MS Office. This is informational. Our utilites require 32bit (x86) MS Access full version or the free Access runtime. This is required since QuickBooks is a 32 bit application and requires a 32 bit application to communicate with it.

There are two versions of Office available to install: 32-bit and 64-bit. Which version is right for you depends on how you plan to use Office.

The 64-bit version of Office has some limitations, but is the right choice when:

  • You work with extremely large data sets, like enterprise-scale Excel workbooks with complex calculations, many PivotTables, connections to external databases, PowerPivot, PowerMap, or PowerView. The 64-bit version of Office may perform better for you.
  • You work with extremely large pictures, videos, or animations in PowerPoint. The 64-bit version of Office may be better suited to handle these complex slide decks.
  • You work with extremely large Word documents. The 64-bit version of Office may be better suited to handle Word documents with large tables, graphics, or other objects.
  • You’re working with files over 2GB in Project, especially if the project has many subprojects.
  • You want to keep the 64-bit version of Office that you’re already using. The 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office programs aren’t compatible, so you can’t install both on the same computer.
  • You’re developing in-house Office solutions, like add-ins or document-level customizations.
  • Your organization requires Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP) be enforced for Office applications. DEP is a set of hardware and software technologies that some organizations use to enhance security.

If none of these situations apply to you, the 32-bit version of Office is probably the right choice.

Note: The 32-bit version of Office works well with both the 32-bit and the 64-bit versions of Windows. If you are installing the 64-bit version of Office, you need the 64-bit version of Windows. If you’re not installing on Windows, you don’t need to worry about 32-bit or 64-bit options. Which version of Office do I have?

Important before you Install

If you have a version of 32-bit or 64-bit Office in your computer and you want to install Office 365, Office 2016, Office 2013, or an Office stand-alone application like Visio, you have to install the corresponding 32-bit or 64-bit version of the other program. For example, if your computer has a 32-bit version of Office 2010 and you want to install Office 2013, you have to install the 32-bit version. You can't mix 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office. For details, see “Office (64-bit) couldn’t be installed” error when you install Office 2013 or Office 365.