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Should I get 32- or 64-bit Office 2010?

When you install Office 2010, you have the option of choosing either 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Which should you choose?

The simplest answer: If you don't know WHY you need 64-bit Office, then you DON'T need it. Install the 32-bit version instead.

I have a 64-bit version of Windows. Do I need to install 64-bit Office to match?

No. You can install either 32- or 64-bit Office.

32-bit Office may perform better on 64-bit Windows 7 than on 32-bit Windows 7. Windows 32-bit can use no more than 4 GB of memory. If you have more than that, 64-bit Windows can use it and make it available to Office and your other apps - whether they're 32-bit or 64-bit.

If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, the decision's already made for you. You can't install 64-bit Office in 32-bit Windows.

Isn't the 64-bit version of Office better/higher/further/faster/more [whatever] than the 32-bit version?

Yes and no.

If you work with Excel spreadsheets of over 2 gigabytes or huge Project files, you may want to choose 64-bit Office. However, you may lose the ability to use the add-ins and Active-X controls in all of your Office apps.

64-bit PowerPoint has no advantages over the 32-bit version.

Why should I believe you? What does Microsoft say about it?

Glad you asked!

Read Microsoft's own information and advice about 64-bit Office 2010 here.

That page also explains how to install 64-bit Office and lists a number of other applications that may "block" your ability to install it.

There's more about 64-bit Office on this Technet blog page, but here's the relevant bit:

"If users in your organization depend on existing extensions to Office, such as ActiveX controls, third-party add-ins, in-house solutions built on previous versions of Office, or 32-bit versions of programs that interface directly with Office, we recommend that you install 32-bit Office 2010 (the default installation) on computers that are running both 32-bit and 64-bit supported Windows operating systems."

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Should I get 32- or 64-bit Office 2010?
Last update 24 December, 2012