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I have a copy of Office Professional Plus 2013 (not the preview, the real thing) - it comes in 32 and 64 bit varieties. Which one should I install? What are the pluses and minuses?

Currently I have Office 2010 (looks like a 32-bit version as evidenced by WinWord.exe *32 entry in Task Manager) on a Windows 7 x64, 8GB RAM, Dual Core machine. And it works fine.

What should I install?

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The only negative would be that a great majority of the office application plugin are 32-bit which means, they do not support a 64-bit office application, that is pretty much the only disadvantage. –  Ramhound Oct 25 '12 at 20:36
    
As of maybe one or two years ago, some of my coworkers had to revert to 32-bit Office because the plug-ins they used, including Salesforce.com, were still 32-bit and wouldn't work with the 64-bit version of Office. To put it another way, most people wouldn't see any practical benefit in running 64-bit office. –  rob Nov 1 '12 at 23:33
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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Obviously the 64 bit if you want to make full use of the hardware capability of your system, but here are a few points to consider:

What is in the 32-bit version of Office but is not included in the 64-bit version of Office?

ActiveX controls library, ComCtl This library contains ActiveX controls that are used to build solutions. It is most commonly used in the following Microsoft Office programs: Access, Excel, and Word. SharePoint List control The list view in SharePoint Technology is not available to people using the 64-bit version of Office.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/choose-the-32-bit-or-64-bit-version-of-office-HA010369476.aspx#_Toc254341418

This guy argues for 32 bit Office since the vast majority of users won't gain anything from 64 bit:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/240684/microsoft_office_32_or_64_bit_.html

The same things should apply for Office 2013 too.

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My only suggestion for you to consider is whether or not you need any plug-ins or 3rd party support. I run the 64-bit version and have had some problems getting updates to certain add-ons in a 64-bit flavor. Because of the way they implemented the add-on interface, 32-bit add-ons I do not believe will work with the 64-bit version of Outlook. (The underlying OS can be 32 or 64 bit)

64-bit Outlook has been around long enough and you should be able to get 64-bit add-ons if the software is up to date.

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Up through version 2010 I would only ever consider using the 32 bit version of Office. It's also my understanding that Microsoft has been recommending that you install the 32bit version, although this probably wasn't their initial recommendation when 64bit versions of MS Office were first released.

I have heard a lot of horror stories about compatibility issues with the 64 bit version of Office. Most of the compatibility issues have to do with Addins and ActiveX controls that were not (and maybe cannot) be programmed for 64bit versions of Office. I'm not sure if this is any different with 2013 but I can't see why it would be.

If you want to be safe I recommend sticking with the 32bit version of MS Office. If you don't mind the fact that some Addins may not work then you will likely be OK with the 64bit version of Office.

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My recommendation is that if you were successful in running Office 2010 in 64-bit, you can go with Office 2013 on 64-bit. But you have to make that choice when you install since, as noted above, Microsoft defaults to 32-bt.

If you are not sure what bitness you are running now in Office 2010, the best way to tell is (in Excel say): File; Help, see About on right side pane appended to the Version (14...) number.

Unfortunately, Office 2013 has moved the About yet again, this time to: File; Account, and it does NOT show the bitness for Version 15 there, but you can click on the About Excel icon - then it will appear at the top of the message box.

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