This post should help you choose between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office. There are two versions of Office available to install 32-bit and 64-bit. Based on your requirement, you have a option to install 32 bit or 64 bit version of office. When you install Microsoft office on your computer the 32-bit version of Office is installed by default. Even on 64-bit Windows operating systems when you run the office install, 32-bit office is installed. Microsoft recommends 32-bit version of Office for most users, because it’s more compatible with most other applications. In this post we will try to understand the difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office. We will also understand when to use 64 bit office and limitations of 64-bit version office.
When to use 64-bit office and Limitations of the 64-bit version of Office
|When Should you use 64-bit version of office||Limitations of 64-bit version of office|
|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.||Solutions using ActiveX controls library, ComCtl controls won’t work. There are many ways for developers to work around this, and provide you with a 64 bit solution.|
|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.||32-bit third-party ActiveX controls and add-ins won’t work. The vendor would need to create 64-bit versions of these controls.|
|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.||Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) that contain Declare statements won’t work in the 64-bit version of Office without being updated.|
|You’re working with files over 2GB in Project, especially if the project has many subprojects.||Compiled Access databases, like .MDE and .ACCDE files, won’t work unless they’re specifically written for the 64-bit version of Office.|
|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.||In SharePoint 2010 or earlier, the datasheet view won’t be available because this view uses an ActiveX control.|
|You’re developing in-house Office solutions, like add-ins or document-level customizations.|
Note – When you run an office setup that has both the 32-bit and the 64-bit version on it, you’ll be installing the 32-bit version of Office by default. When you press the Customize button in Setup, you’ll see the Platform tab if your system can support a 64-bit installation of Office.
Choose between the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office
As mentioned before, Microsoft recommends the 32-bit version of Office for most users, because it’s more compatible with most other applications, especially third-party add-ins. For an add-in to work with the 64-bit version of Office, it needs to be recompiled by the developer specifically for the 64-bit version of Office. In some cases the developer also needs to make some specific changes for 64-bit support or needs to wait for specific libraries, that the add-in relies on, to be recompiled for 64-bit.
Can i run 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office on the same computer – No this is not possible. Office doesn’t support running side-by-side installations of 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Office. For example, you can’t install Office 2010 32-bit side-by-side with Office 2013 64-bit. This applies to both Windows Installer (MSI) and Click-to-Run installations of Office 2013. If you try to do this, you’ll receive an error message and be prevented from continuing.