Install Multiple Versions of Microsoft Office on One Computer

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Because of the myriad of problems that crop up when trying to run multiple versions of Microsoft Office (think: file associations, Equation Editor, shortcut bars, among other problems), it's best to stick to having one version of Office on your computer. In fact, using the latest version will likely save you from the most headaches.

Something to keep in mind, too: Older versions of Office might not be able to open files created with newer versions of Office.

If you insist on running more than one version of Office, here are some steps you can take to minimize problems you'll run into.

Double Check That All Office Versions Are the Same Bit Count

You cannot install both 32-bit and 64-bit downloads of Microsoft Office, whatever the suite versions (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, or Microsoft 365). 

Keep in mind that the 32-bit version of Office can run on either the 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows. 

Also, Microsoft Office may install as 32-bit by default, unless you already have a 64-bit version of Office on your computer, so Microsoft is a great resource for how to opt for the 64-bit version instead, or how to decide which is best for you in general.

Install Early Versions of Office Before Later Ones

If you are trying to install Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010 on the same machine, you should begin with Office 2007, for example.

The reason for this is that each installation involves a bunch of moving parts. Each has a specific way its shared programs, registry keys, file extensions, and other specifics are handled.

The same holds for Office programs that are purchased separately or that require unique installation. For example, you might purchase Microsoft Project or Microsoft Visio separately. Earlier versions should still be installed before later versions, across the board.

Tip: You Cannot Do This With Microsoft Outlook

If you try to install a second version of Outlook, the Setup program will only do so in lieu of other versions you may already have installed.

You will be prompted to either select Keep These Programs or Remove Previous Versions

Other programs in the Microsoft Office suite may give you problems as well. Some users report issues when installing multiple versions of Microsoft Access, for example.

If you do run into a situation where some programs install correctly and others don't, consider uninstalling one of the multiple versions of that program if possible. Depending on how your suite is packaged, you may or may not be able to do this on your own. In those cases, you can either go back to using just one version of Office or reach out to Microsoft for additional perspective.

Tip: Inserted OLE Objects Will Likely Default to the Earliest Version

In Microsoft Office, OLE Objects (Object Linking and Embedding) are document elements from programs other than the one you are working in. For example, you may insert an Excel spreadsheet in a Word document.

If you Insert - OLE Objects into a document, those objects will be formatted according to the most recent version of Office installed on your computer, regardless of which version you are working in.

This means problems may ensue if you are sharing files with others who have different versions of Office than yours, for example.

Contact Microsoft Support If Necessary

Again, if you decide you want to go into a multi-version install, expect hiccups. Make sure you backup your files, but also be prepared with backup keys or installation codes. If you have any questions about these or to get additional help, please check out Microsoft's Support site.

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