Users of Microsoft Office on Mac have been reporting slow load times for a while now, and much of that was down to the 32-bit limit. This will no longer be an issue thanks to a security update Microsoft rolled out yesterday.
The compatibility comes to Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. According to Microsoft, this results in an increase in performance and stability, enabling “new innovative features.”
All license types should receive an update, including Retail, Office 365 Consumer, Office 365 Commercial, and Volume License installations. However, those who do not use Microsoft Auto Update will have to download the latest package here.
64-bit Only Build
You may know this already, but applications on Mac can only run as 32-bit or 64-bit, and there is no room for choice. As such, Microsoft Office 32-bit will not be supported going forward. This could mean that some third party applications will break, so be cautious before updating.
If worst comes to worst you can revert to 32-bit using the following instructions:
- “Exit all open Office 2016 applications.
- Start Safari, and then browse to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=823192 to start the download of the 32-bit installer
- Double-click the downloaded package, and then follow the instructions.”
The MAU update won't start rolling out until September, so you still have some time to ensure that everything is in order before you migrate. You can read more about MAU here.
VLSC editions of Office 2016 won't change until November 2016. However, all updater packages following this month will be based on 64-bit builds, so users who update manually or via AutoUpdate will be transitioned.
Check if You're Running 32 or 64 bit
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if updates have applied correctly, or if the performance increase is just placebo. Thankfully, you can verify yourself in activity monitor.
To do this, you can find your Office processes in Activity Monitor and check the “Kind” column. You can also check in terminal by typing “-N <path of binary>” and looking for the following output:
Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64: You have a 64-bit binary
Mach-O executable i386: You're still on 32-bit
Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64
Mach-O executable i386: FAT Binary (compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit processes)
Let us know what kind of performance increases you see in the new version, and be sure to check out Microsoft's full patch notes.