Microsoft Unveils 64-Bit Office for Mac
Aligning with Apple OS X's native 64-bit software foundation, Microsoft rolled out an update that improves performance.Last year, Microsoft finally closed the sizable functionality gap between the Windows and Apple versions of is productivity software by releasing Office 2016 for Mac, ahead of its Windows counterpart, no less. Now, the software giant is crossing another chasm, this time from 32 to 64 bits. In an online support document this week, Microsoft announced it had begun rolling out an update that upgrades users' 32-bit Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote) to the new 64-bit versions using the Microsoft AutoUpdate (MAU) function. Alternately, users can manually download the 1.5GB update. The update is available for all licenses types, including Office 365 Consumer and enterprise Volume License installations. Going forward, Office 2016 for Mac will be a strictly 64-bit affair. "The Mac operating system has been 64-bit for several years," stated the company. "Unlike for Windows, there's no choice between running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of the Mac operating system. Similarly, we won't offer a choice between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Office 2016 for Mac." Transitioning to a 64-bit software environment improves performance and enables larger address spaces in memory and better performance. But those benefits come with a downside.
When Microsoft announced a preview of the 64-bit version of Office for Mac for members of the Office Insider program back in April, the company warned that some plug-ins may no longer work after the change and may need to be updated by their developers. Similar to the company's Windows Insider initiative, Office Insider offers Office 365 subscribers (Home, Personal and University) early access to upcoming features before they are officially released, in exchange for their feedback. Microsoft opened Office Insider up to Mac users in January, two months after the program premiered for Windows customers.