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32-bit vs. 64-bit Microsoft Office
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   8 years ago

2021 Update: Make sure to watch my 64-Bit Access TechHelp video.


2021 Update: Finally broke down and got another laptop just so I could install 64-bit Office on it and start converting over my old 32-bit databases. More and more people are complaining that the old 32-bit code isn't working. So, it's on my short list of things to do starting this week. Why another laptop? Well, I've got 2 right now. One is my "server" that handles business stuff. The other is my workstation that I actually... uh... work on, including record videos. My Access database is loaded with older 32-bit code and I'm not about to take a whole day or two to undo almost 20 years of stuff at this point. So, 32-bit for my stuff. 64-bit for classes. Easier to fix ya'll first. :)


2020 Update: This article was originally written in 2013 when the default install of Office was still 32-bit. In 2018, Microsoft decided to make the default install for Office 2019 and Office 365 to be 64-bit, completely changing their previous stance on the matter. So, it's now 2020 and I'm going to be updating my databases to have a 64-bit option. I will still maintain backward compatibility for 32-bit in my lessons for the near future. I still stand by my original viewpoint: 32-bit is just fine for 99% of people and 64-bit is unnecessary, but the trend is now clear: Microsoft will be using 64-bit moving forward.


Lots of people have been emailing me asking whether or not they should install the 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Microsoft Office. Here's the general rule of thumb: Unless you absolutely need the increased capacity of the 64-bit version, then you should install the 32-bit version of Office.

The 32-bit version is the most compatible with everything else that is out there. The 64-bit version does not include compatibility with most of the ActiveX controls, 3rd-party add-ins, and ALL of the 32-bit databases that you'll find out there (including MINE).

Chances are, you probably don't need 64-bit Office anyway. The main reason for the 64-bit version is to allow file sizes over 2 GB. If your Excel spreadsheets are that big, they should be in Access! To make things worse, even 64-bit Access still has the 2 GB file size limit! If you have a single Access database file that's larger than 2 GB, you can split it up into multiple tables or upsize to SQL Server (which you probably should with that much data anyway).

Sure, 64-bit is the future... but it's a long way off. If you want to maintain any kind of compatibility with the rest of the world right now, stick with the 32-bit version. Large enterprises that are running a single solution may want to consider 64-bit, but the rest of us should just stick with 32-bit.

Even Microsoft agrees with me: "If users in your organization depend on existing extensions to Office, such as ActiveX controls, third-party add-ins, in-house solutions built on earlier versions of Office, or 32-bit versions of programs that interface directly with Office, we recommend that you install 32-bit Office 2013 (the default installation) on computers that are running both 32-bit and 64-bit supported Windows operating systems."

How to get MY sample databases to work on 64-bit Access:

Now, I personally don't have any 64-bit installations of Office here in my office (pun intended). So all of my databases that I post are 32-bit versions. You will NOT be able to use any of the ACCDE (encrypted) test databases, but if you purchase a seminar or template, when you get the FULL version (ACCDB file) you will be able to create a new blank ACCDB file on your 64-bit machine and then IMPORT all of the objects out of my 32-bit database (tables, queries, forms, etc.). Some of my databases use 32-bit specific controls, like COMDLG32.OCX, but the majority of them should work just fine after you import the objects into a 64-bit database file.

Here's another article about the topic.

Here's an article Microsoft posted in 2018 regarding updating your VBA code: 64-bit VBA Overview.

 

64-bit VBA LongPtr PtrSafe LongLong Upload Images   Link  
Selby Halfpenny 
16 months ago
Dear Richard, Could you please explain PtrSafe and LongPtr with 64 bit Access API Declarations. How is long different from longptr?.
Regards Selby
Richard Rost
16 months ago
Microsoft posted an excellent article on this: 64-bit VBA Overview
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Upload Images   Link  
Dani L 
4 years ago
Its was very helpfull
Thank you very much . Dani
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32 bit vs 64 bit Microsoft Office Upload Images   Link  
Arabi 
5 years ago
i have been having some problems with my 64-bit version because its the one on my machine now my question is that do you allow me also to install 32-bit version as the best solution ?.
secondly how do i open an ACCD file format that came in 32-bit version with 64-bit version ? Read More...
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Keywords: 32 bit 64 bit office longptr ptrsafe longlong 64bit 32bit 64-bit 32-bit  PermaLink