Microsoft has taken the first step to introduce a 64-bit version of Office 2016 for OS X (macOS) users, according to a brief announcement on the Microsoft Answers Community. The company has already rolled out the change, but at the moment it is only available to those on the Office Insider Program.
The news was dropped by Schwieb on the Microsoft Answers Community, announcing that the Insider Fast Channel now supports a 64-bit version of Office 2016 for Mac.
Here’s the full announcement from the Answers Community:
“We have released the first drop of a fully 64-bit version of Office 2016 for Mac to the Insider Fast channel! The update number is 15.25 (160630). I do encourage Insider Fast users to install this update and give it a test. We want to know about any problems you encounter as soon as possible, so that we can make sure we address them before the official release.
This is a huge update for Office and something that we have been working towards for a very long time. I’m thrilled to finally have it available for testing!
The Insider Fast channel is intended for early adopters and those wanting the earliest view into upcoming releases, and the 64-bit version will progress to the Insider Slow channels and to widespread publication over time. I can’t speak to a specific date for that wide release for you yet, so please send us your feedback as soon as you can.
To learn more about the move from 32-bit to 64-bit Office, including information about add-ins, see Mac Office and the Transition to 64-bit. For details about the Insider Fast program, including options for getting in touch or reporting bugs, see Announcing Office Insider Fast for Mac Insiders.”
Some users may actually be surprised by this, especially those who maybe believed they has been running a 64-bit Office on Mac OS X all the while. Even if the machine is the latest of Apple’s production lines, Microsoft has only ever made a 32-bit version of Office 2016 available to the platform.
As this release is only available to specific users, you will need to be a part of the Office Insiders Fast Channel to take advantage of this update. Of course, this may be a rough around the edges release, so expect some bugs and quirks along the way. There is no word on when 64-bit Office 2016 for Mac will arrive to end users, but at least we know Microsoft is working on it.