Excel 2010: Use the 32 or 64 bit edition? 32 Bit might be wiser…

MS Office 2010 logoThe new version of Office, Office 2010 (Office twenty-ten) will be available in both a 32 bit and a 64 bit version. All previous version of Office were 32 bit. Office 2010 will be released in the first half of 2010.

At this moment our advise is to install the 32 bit version of Office, even if you have a 64 bit OS. In this post I give you a few reasons why we think it is in most cases the best solution. Until there is proof of great benefits, the 32 bit version seems to be the best for compatibility and you don't seem to anything significant.

First, according to Microsoft: "64-bit Excel, simply put, is for building really really (really) big workbooks."

There a few things to keep in mind before you choose to install the 64 bit version of Office 2010:

  • Most add-ins don't support the 64 bit version of Excel 2010
  • At this moment ASAP Utilities does not work with the 64 bit version of Excel 2010, it only works with the 32 bit versions of Excel. In order to support the 64 bit version of Excel 2010 we have to create a special 64 bit version for it. However, the current tool we use from MS doesn't support that (MS Office Developer edition). Furthermore, at this moment Office is still a beta version from which MS hasn't released all the details yet, which makes the development of a 64 bit version uncertain. Besides we do need to use another program for the development of ASAP Utilities, which will probably be Visual Studio 2010, but that isn't released yet either. They way I see it at this moment is that it might perhaps be wise to see how many people will actually use the 64 bit version of Excel and then we can see if we can justify the extra time and money we need to put into the development of a special 64 bit version and maintaining both a standard 32 bit and a 64 bit version.
  • The only major advantage of the 64 bit version at this moment seems to be that it can handle Excel files larger than 2 GB (2 Gigabyte!).
  • No guarantee for speed. Unlike you might expect, the 64 bit version isn't twice as fast as the 32 bit version. Quote from the MS Excel blog: "I’ve heard some people comment that 64-bit Excel means that it’ll just run faster than 32-bit Excel. Well, that’s not true as a general rule. We have some tests that run a bit faster on 64-bit Excel, and other tests that run a bit slower on 64-bit Excel."

Interesting source to read:

MS Announcing the 64 bit version of Excel:

Office 2010 Beta – 32-bit or 64-bit – The Choice is Clear

MS Office 2010 website:

MS Office 2010 forums

MS: Understanding 64-Bit Office

Update on june 7, 2010:
Microsoft Technet: 64-bit editions of Office 2010 (Published: May 12, 2010)
The recommendations for which edition of Office 2010 to install are as follows:

  • 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.
  • If some users in your organization are Excel expert users who work with Excel spreadsheets that are larger than 2 gigabytes (GB), they can install the 64-bit edition of Office 2010. In addition, if you have in-house solution developers, we recommend that those developers have access to the 64-bit edition of Office 2010 so that they can test and update your in-house solutions on the 64-bit edition of Office 2010.


26 Responses to “Excel 2010: Use the 32 or 64 bit edition? 32 Bit might be wiser…”

  1. Hi Bastien,

    May the couple Live 1000 years !

    I have Office 2003 and Office 2007 installed on my home PC. I have downloaded the Beta version of Office 2010. Is it advisable to install the same on my PC. I don't have any other PC to try Office 2010. Are there any known issues which can damage my system ?


  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Dutton, Rice Communications. Rice Communications said: RT @insightr: Word of warning from Microsoft: Don't buy 64bit version of Office 2010 or your plugins likely won't work: http://bit.ly/59aSBR […]

  3. Hello Kanwaljit,

    I do think it is possible to install the Office 2010 beta version on a computer next to an existing Office version, but I haven't tested it myself. During the installation you can choose to keep your existing Office versions.
    When it comes to Excel I don't expect any issues by you probably want to be careful with Outlook. However I'd recommend using a program such as MS Virtual PC to test new software.

    Kind regards,

  4. Hello Kanwaljit,

    I have on my computer all three versions of office – 2003, 2007 and 2010 and they are working quite well.



  5. Hi Dan,

    Ditto with me. I do have all the versions on the same system. I was quite reluctant with 2007, but for reasons unknown to me, I have started using Excel 2010 on a regular basis. Doesn't appear to be strange, whereas it was not the case with Excel 2007. I am having some issues with Pivot Table compatibility besides some strange message like "The file is corrupt", whereas it was opening correctly. Do you experienced any such issues ?


  6. Can you please review ExcelDashboard.org with latest excel 2010 and check if it works through the ODBC connection?

  7. Hello NJ (Nilesh?),

    You can download the beta of Office 2010 and test it yourself.
    If it also works in Excel 2007 then it will probably work just fine in Excel 2010. However if you use macros you might need to make adjustments for the 64 bit version of Excel 2010. As far as I can see however you program only uses Excel as a format to read data from.

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  8. Hi Bastien,

    May the couple Live 1000 years !

    Might be of interest to you !


  9. and this one too….


  10. I am experimenting with large Excel files and the 64k limit on rows is a handicap. I am using Office 2010 (Beta) 32 bit with 32 bit Win 7. Will changing to 64 bit Excel with a 64 bit OS give me more space? I own 32 bit Office 2007 but it is not currently installed.

  11. Hello Jerry,

    No that doesn't change it, it has another cause (with an easier solution).
    Your workbook is probably in "compatibility mode", meaning the old Excel 97-2003 format.
    It is probably a workbook created there and then opened in the new Excel version.
    By default then you don't get the extra amount of rows. If you save it in the new Excel 2007/2010 (xlsx) format then you will get over 1 million rows.

    Kind regards,

  12. Hi!

    I installed the "click-to-run" version of Office 2010 Beta. ASAP install worked fine (except the Excel start out of the installer, but that's no obstacle).
    In Excel / File / Options / Add-ins ASAP is listed as a "COM-Add-In" – but under the "Inactive Add-Ins" section.
    When I activate it, I still don't see any ASAP tab.
    And after a restart of Excel it's in the "Inactive Add-Ins" section again.
    Any hints?
    Thanks a lot, and best regards

  13. Hello Heinz,

    Thank you for your feedback.
    My apologies for the delayed reply, next time, please send me an email when you have problems such as these.

    Unfortunately I cannot reproduce this behavior. I have no idea why Excel moves it to the "inactive add-ins" section every time and this problem hasn't reported before. Normally during the installation it should be placed as an active add-in. In fact, it should be listed twice as active add-in, once the library component (COM add-in) and once as a normal add-in.
    Are you using the latest beta version available from MS? I have tested it with the beta version of Excel 2010 (14.0.4006).

    Perhaps the following articles in the FAQ can help you:

    Please let me know if this solves your problem. If you have solved it another way then please share that information here too.

    If you need additional information, please let me know.

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  14. I had the same problem (Windows7/Office 2010 Beta). The solution for me was uninstalling ASAP Utilities and reinstalling it to partition E. Now it works perfectly. Of course you don't have to create a partition, you can try to reinstall ASAPUtilities (I believe) to anywhere outside of the Program FIles directory. Say, to C:/ASAP/

  15. Hello everyone,

    For your information, we recently discovered a bug in Excel 2010 that wasn't in the pre-release of Excel 2010.
    This could cause a startup-error in ASAP Utilities.
    We have created a workaround for this in the new version of ASAP Utilities so that it works with Excel 2010 in such a case too.
    More information and download:

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  16. […] For the few of you that use or want to use the 64 bit edition of Excel 2010, ASAP Utilities doesn't support that […]

  17. http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/ol2010/64bit.asp

  18. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/choose-the-32-bit-or-64-bit-version-of-microsoft-office-HA010369476.aspx#_Install_the_64-bit

  19. http://www.pptfaq.com/FAQ01047.htm

  20. This has left me in quite the pickle! My company just upgraded my computer with 64-bit Windows 7 and 64-bit Office 2010. Now I am stuck without ASAP Utilities!!! Any suggestions on where I go from here? I can't find any add-ins that are comprable to ASAP.

  21. Hello Christina,

    I'm sorry to hear this.

    Do you really need the 64-bit edition of Excel 2010? It isn't faster than the 32-bit edition and mainly recommended for people that use workbooks that are incredibly large (2 GB or larger).
    You license is valid for Office 2010, both the 32 and 64 bit edition. If you want to, you can (ask the IT department to) uninstall the 64-bit edition and then install the 32-bit edition and use ASAP Utilities again. Many people have already done that in order to keep using ASAP Utilities.

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  22. All this is reads like an excuse for not getting on with supporting 64-bit Excel.
    It reminds me of Adobe's 4 years of promising to produce a 64-bit Flash Player (which only recently arrived).

    Many of us do use very large complex spreadsheets.
    In addition, the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office, which i am using, has components which run much quicker than the 32-bit version.
    64-bit Outlook is a notable performer, and it alone is worth moving to 64-bit Office.

    All the other addins I use with Office 2010 are already 64-bit, so I am prepared to do without ASAP Utilities.

  23. Hello Kieran,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    It can indeed be seen as some sort of justified excuse to postpone the development of a special 64-bit version.
    But I'm glad to read you can do without ASAP Utilities and find alternatives for it in the 64-bit Excel version.

    Just remember, we're a small company and don't have Adobe's budget to spend on development.
    Furthermore at this moment there are only very few people that use the 64-bit version of Excel. So I don't think it is fair to spend a significant amount of our time and money to create a special separate version for those people alone. We rather choose to further develop the current version we have at this moment and which works with Excel 2000, 2002/XP, 2003, 2007 and 2010(32-bit) on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows. For your information, nearly all of the people that we have had contact with about the 64-bit version of Excel could also use the 32-bit version of Excel because they didn't need to work with 2 GB+ files.

    Can you tell me which components run much quicker in the 64-bit version of Excel 2010 compared to the 32-bit edition? It might be interesting to know for others to know.

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  24. I just installed Office 2010 x64 and I feel amazed that there isn't an ASAP utilities thats compatible with it. I am NOT going to install the 32 bit version. The 64 bit version IS faster, especially Outlook. I am not taking a step back and going backwards. The developers should move FORWARD and make a 64 bit version. I need ASAP utilities, and now I am screwed without it. Unbelievable.

  25. Hello Ryan,

    Thank you for your email. I'm sorry to read your disappointment.
    As written above it costs a lot of time and money to reprogram the entire program to create a special version of ASAP Utilities for the 64-bit edition of Excel 2010. Furthermore this 64-bit version is currently used by very few people. Most people that I have spoken too have successfully replaced their 64-bit Office 2010 installation by the 32-bit Office 2010 installation and didn't have any regrets.

    There are several workarounds to still use ASAP Utilities while still having the 64-bit Excel 2010 installed on your computer.
    As a workaround you can also install Excel 2003 or 2007 on your computer to use ASAP Utilities. When it comes to speed, Excel 2003 is still faster then Excel 2010 (I have both installed and compared 2003 to 64-bit 2010).
    Or you can use a Virtual PC to with Excel 2010 32-bit and use ASAP Utilities there.

    How did you compare the speed from the 32-bit version with the 64-bit version of Office 2010? Was it on the same computer with the same OS?
    As apposed to what you write the documentation says that the the only major benefit of the 64-bit edition of Office 2010 is support for large Excel files (>2GB).
    "Using the 64-bit version of Outlook does not have any direct benefits. The functionality within Outlook is the same and there is also no (noticeable) performance increase by using the 64-bit edition.
    Installing the 64-bit version only really makes sense when you also need the 64-bit version of Excel for large file support (>2GB) and/or several complex calculations."

    Finally I'd like to mention that I feel a bit offended by your tone and that you feel that you can demand this from me since you didn't even contribute to the development of ASAP Utilities (I can't find a license purchased by you).
    Don't you agree?

    Kind regards,
    Bastien Mensink

  26. Bastien,

    Ryans ignorant comment is sadly typical of people these days who feel they have the right to demand things for free.

    You have put a heck of a lot of work into asap and I for one am very greatful, then, on top of this, you give us LUCKY people a free version.

    People – show your gratitude, the coders behind asap deserve better respect.