The latest version of Microsoft Office comes in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours. It’d be natural to assume that if you have a 64-bit computer running a 64-bit version of Windows then you should install the 64-bit version of Office 2010. Not so. You’re almost certainly better off using the 32-bit version.

That’s because Microsoft has included little in the 64-bit version that you won’t find in the 32-bit version, with two exceptions:

  1. If you create really, really, really large spreadsheets – we’re talking over two gigabytes in size – then 64-bit Office provides support for such behemoths.
  2. If you develop Office add-ins.

On the other hand, there’s a distinct disadvantage to using the 64-bit version because it doesn’t play nicely with many add-ins designed to enhance Office’s features.

Microsoft ships both versions on the installation discs so you can always uninstall the 32-bit version and install the 64-bit version at a later date should you find you need it.

Is my computer 32-bit or 64-bit?

It’s easy to tell which version of Windows you’re running, 32-bit or 64-bit:

  1. Click the Start button and then right-click Computer and choose Properties from the context menu. The System information window is displayed.
  2. Look in the System section where you’ll see your ‘system type’ listed as 32-bit or 64-bit.